A Birthday Gift for a Parent

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A Birthday Gift for a Parent or a Random Act of Kindness

I have a coworker who is only my office next door neighbour once or twice per week, which is really unfortunate because we have a great time talking every time she’s here at my site.  We had this particular discussion on Pink Shirt Day, when she was wearing a specific anti-bullying pink shirt and I had miraculously selected a pink shirt for my outfit that day, only to discover twenty minutes later on twitter that it was Pink Shirt Day (go me!).  That is a complete aside, I just wanted to talk about how awesome it was that I did something perfectly by accident.

Anyway, my coworkers birthday was coming up and she told me that every year one of her best friends takes her out for dinner.  That, in itself, is an awesome birthday gift for a parent.  It’s a chance to get dressed up, leave the kids at home with your significant other or a babysitter, and enjoy hanging out with other adults.  This is more notable when the kiddos are little and can’t fend for themselves.  Two weeks ago, our conversation was about how both of her kids got sick and then one got an ear infection, all while her spouse was away at school for a few weeks.  Apparently there’s nothing like a four year old screaming “I want Daddy” all night, while giving you your own case of the flu.  Needless to say, she was pretty exhausted.

I bet you were wondering why there was a swimming pool in the picture, so here’s the deal: Instead of the two ladies going out for dinner, her friend said, “I’ve got a better idea for a birthday gift for a parent!” and asked if she could make dinner and bring it to her house.  My coworker thought this was an awesome idea, good food she didn’t have to make herself, more hands for dealing with the kids, no need to find a babysitter, and clean dishes at the end of it all.  Then, her friend sweetened the deal.  She offered to come and hang out during swimming lessons, and watch kiddo number two at the end when kiddo number one needed to be washed and changed.

We tend to get caught up in our after work busyness, when sharing in some of those tasks can make for a great, very much appreciated gift, and is a way to spend some quality time with our friends.  I mean, I am already making dinner for my spouse and myself, it’s not that hard to do it for an extra adult and some kiddos at the same time.  Usually we only think to give food as a gift when someone is grieving or celebrating, but I’d be pretty darn stoked if someone showed up at my house with dinner for no reason at all.  That’s what makes it a great random act of kindness idea, too.

What can you think of as an action that would make a good birthday gift for a parent, or a random act of kindness?

[Photo – Creative Commons Attribution – Erl Johnston]

10 thoughts on “A Birthday Gift for a Parent”

  1. Really enjoyed this post, was not what I expected! When I read the title I immediately thought of how I got my mom a gift card to a coffee shop for her birthday. Granted we also went out to eat, but I thought this would list "non lame" gifts for your Mom or Dad. Not that kind of post, though : )

    We sometimes babysit our friend's kids or bring them to their soccer games if both parents are busy. We should really offer to do this more often, as I'm sure they like to have nights off.
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    1. Anne - Unique Gifter

      Thanks, I'm glad you liked it! I did struggle a bit with how to name it. I'm sure your friends love it when you help them out like that.

    1. Anne - Unique Gifter

      I'm with you… no kids needed, you can make my week by showing up with food!
      Ben and Jerry's delivery service is a very important friend responsibility ;-) Good for you!

  2. Holly@ClubThrifty

    My parents are so hard to buy for that it's crazy! My brother and mother are going to Santa Fe this weekend and I booked and paid for their first night's hotel stay. They were just going to show up and look for a hotel but I wanted them to have a place to stay the first night and not have to worry about it. Crazy kids =)

  3. I offered to babysit for my friends. None of them have taken me up on it yet. I'm hoping that is more a case of the timing not being right / they don't want to impose vs. I seem incapable of taking care for a kid for a few hours. But it could very well be the latter…
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    1. Anne - Unique Gifter

      Hahaha, well, let's hope that it's the first one. I suspect that not wanting to impose is a real thing for people, even though you are offering. Good for you for offering! One day someone will take you up on it, one day!

  4. My Mom is easy, but my Dad is hard to buy for. I try to find something little every time I go visit them – nothing big, but just a small gesture.

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