For me, it's that time of year again: Buying season. The time of year where I try to balance pleasing everyone with cost effectiveness, and usually, I think I do a good job with most of my relatives. But I always get stuck when it comes to my in-laws. Specifically, my MIL and two SILs.
My MIL is a well-meaning lady. She makes an effort to make me comfortable, but we come from very different family situations. I find it hard to relate to her, but not impossible. Suffice it to say, my MIL's immediate family is her entire world, and she doesn't maintain personal relationships outside her children and husband as best I can tell. She is the CEO of her home, and hasn't been a part of the traditional professional world for over 20 years. My MIL does not like to go out, but she does like to go out to eat sometimes. However, when going out to eat, she likes the finer things, the four star restaurants. Her wardrobe consists of yoga pants, and she has no interest in being trendy. MIL doesn't like gyms or workout classes.
DH's family is well-off so if my MIL wants something, she buys it. This makes her very hard to shop for. I have bought her platters that have never been used, cookbooks that she openly criticizes as "unhelpful," bath stuff still perched on the edge of her tub and plenty of untouched kitchen accessories. Once, I tried to do an edible arrangements delivery for her and she went out of town without telling DH and I. When she finally got it, it had basically gone bad. What can you get for the woman who has everything, but has so few interests? I'm not criticizing her lifestyle. All in all we get along, and that's more than I can say for many in-law situations. It seems wrong to go with a gift card: She has money, and if she liked to shop she would.
Now for SILs. Well, I can understand my MIL to some degree, but I have nothing in common with my SILs. We're in such different situations. While they grew up with fine things, they have no interest in things that my friend and me liked when we were their age. Not make-up, not clothes, not purses. Absolutely no jewelry. Like their mother, they wear yoga pants and have no interest in being trendy or dressing well, which is fine. they have more important things to worry about. They also have some serious health concerns which limit their lifestyle, both food-wise and activity wise.
Both SILs spend a lot of time at various doctor's offices, if that helps. In the past I got them Vera Bradley bags and such, but they did not like it. I also got one SIL a cookbook that she did not care for. I bought them both clothes in the past only to find my gifts, tags still on, in a pile of clothes I offered to take to goodwill for donation. Their mother usually gets them their entire Christmas list, so I can't just get a copy and go from there. And to make things worse, DH isn't very close to them. So, help, yes. I have no idea what to get them. I'm stuck.
Suggestions are very, very welcome. I feel like that weird girl who married into the family, and I would like to show DHs family that, in some small way, I was thinking about them when I bought Christmas presents this year and that I get them somewhat. Again, help.