Last-Minute Gifts That Won't Disappoint Your Boomer Parents, for Once

We're getting down to the wire, folks. But it's not too late to get these 15 ideas—from basic to pretty out-there—under your parents' tree.
December 11, 2020, 8:00pm
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Composite by VICE staff

It’s December 11. Christmas is two weeks away, which sounds far, but as we all know, the space-time continuum bends in December and it’s actually running at double speed compared to the rest of the year. Hanukkah is now, so if your parents are Jewish and you haven’t gotten them anything yet, you’re probably screwed unless you pay for the fast and expensive shipping (still an option). Kwanzaa doesn’t start until December 26, but you should still get moving if you haven’t even started brainstorming what to get your mom and pop. Today is the day to pull the trigger and get the whole ‘gifts for your parents’ thing out of the way so you can actually enjoy the next couple of weeks without waking up sweaty in the middle of the night.

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Here are 15 ideas. Pick a couple, send them, and thank us later.

National Geographic x Parks Project Legacy tote

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This is streetwear for parents. We’d like to thank National Geographic for actually teaching our childhood selves stuff about people in other countries and regions of the world, and also for having some pretty great reality television programming in the 21st century. This tote is a collaboration with Parks Project, which helps to fund projects to maintain America’s National Parks.

$55, at Parks Project.

Tile Mates

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Maybe you have a parent who isn’t constantly losing their keys and phone and tablet and TV remote and if that’s the case, we’re happy for you. For the rest of us, there is a genuinely helpful technological solution called Tile which makes these little tracker thingies. Your most absent-minded Boomer parent can put them on their most frequently lost items and then can use an app to find them any time and every time they have a meltdown that they’re gone forever.

$47.99 for 2, at Tile.

STAUD x Noshinku hand sanitizer and case

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Speaking of parents who frequently forget stuff, we are still firmly in months-away-from-all-being-vaccinated territory, and Boomer parents need to remain far away from their bridge tournaments and continue to wash their damn hands. This Noshinku hand sanitizer smells amazing and won’t chap your hands, and comes in a fancy little croc case that you can clip wherever. Yeah, we kind of want it for ourselves, too.

$50, at Staud.

Light Phone II distraction-free cell phone

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Our parents used to spend so much time worrying about our internet-surfing habits. Now, you look over their shoulder and find them reading QAnon conspiracies on Real Patriot News dot net or Aunt Janice’s Facebook rant about how Biden is a bloodthirsty communist. Maybe they’re the one who needs a news detox, and this Light phone prevents doomscrolling of any kind by streamlining its features to the simplest and most essential: calling, texting, and alarms, with hotspot capabilities in case they really need to show you something nice, like a YouTube video of a goat befriending a baby hedgehog.

$299.98 (on sale), on Huckberry.

Mello CBD sea salted caramels

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Parents want to kick back and get a little hazy from time to time, too, but contemporary weed is way too crazy for them. They’re used to dried-out grass in a shoebox that is like 1/20th as powerful as a pre-roll you get at a dispensary today. That’s why CBD is the perfect parent-friendly gift; they’ll feel chill and feel cool for gettin’ hip with the times, and you won’t have to talk them down like when Maureen Dowd ate that weed chocolate and freaked out. Mellow’s sea salted caramels have 15mg of CBD each, the perfect amount for catching a good vibe while still remaining totally functional.

$50 for 20 caramels, at Mello.

Summersalt cashmere-blend jogger pants

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Your mom was nice enough to give birth to you, tolerate all of your tantrums, and love you when your teeth were falling out and you looked like a Jack-O-Lantern. She deserves a prize, and that prize is cashmere pants, the coziest of loungewear. Usually cashmere is oppressively expensive, but you can get these cashmere-blend pants from Summersalt for under a hundo.

$95, at Summersalt.

Misen chef's knife

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Parents: great cooks, absolutely terrible at updating their kitchen tools. Your dad is probably using a steak knife he got as a wedding gift in 1985 and your mom is sipping Folger’s out of a rusty coffeepot. Our parents’ generation may have gotten some perks like “home ownership,” but they are way behind when it comes to the advancements in kitchen wares. The Misen chef’s knife stays sharp for months and months on end, and has a nice weight to it that makes it easy to control and delightful to use.

$65, at Misen.

Jasper Hills cheese set

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The best gift is a gift that your parent will have to share with you. If you are hanging with your parents for the holidays (please do so only with the appropriate pandemic safety precautions), and you happen to give them this box of very delicious cheese from Jasper Hill Farms, the likelihood is very high that you will get to enjoy some, too.

$75, at Food52.

Kavalan Distillery Select Single Malt Whisky

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If you have a Whisky Dad, he probably jabbers on and on about Scotch. But this year, you should one-up and tell him that Taiwanese whisky is now considered the Really Good Stuff, and that this single malt from Kavalan won a ton of prestigious awards. Then you should suggest that you both do a taste test with all the best whiskies in his collection.

$57.99, on sale at Wine.com.

Hedley & Bennett’s Essential Apron

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Even the most old-school dad has been known to throw on an apron when it’s grillin’ time. But your mom or auntie or grandma or brother might be into this apron, too, which is considered the essential pick from Hedley & Bennett. Baking, barbecuing, whatever—no one likes ruining their drip when cooking, no matter their age.

$68, at Hedley & Bennett.

TEKLA hooded cotton terry bathrobe

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Old people just want to be comfortable, and we used to judge them for always laying around in ill-fitting cotton jersey and Crocs… until this year happened, and we all got trapped in our homes for months on end and realized that being comfy is really underrated. Jeans? Never heard of them. This bathrobe from Tekla is thick and cushy, has a hoodie, and gives off a cool 70s vibe. Ah yes, the 70s: Your parents were probably around for those.

$167, at Matches Fashion.

A halfway decent point and shoot digital camera

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OK, so this is more of a category than a specific gift. But you can only shake your head at so many poorly framed, grainy, charmingly bad selfies from your parents before you feel the urge to help them find a better way of documenting their lives. Panasonic makes some of the best point-and-shoot digital cameras out there that you can snag for under $400. The ticket is the Leica lens, which produces dreamy, crisp images even in low light. There are a few similar models, all of which are very highly rated, but check descriptions if you’re looking for specific features like WiFi or zoom capability.

Panasonic LUMIX ZS100, $397.99 at Amazon.

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Panasonic Lumix DCZS80, $397.99 at B&H Photo.

Roku streaming stick

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Maybe your parent refuses to get a smart TV, because they say their 6-inch-thick “flatscreen” from 2004 still works great, or because they think smart TVs would listen to all their conversations and send them to the government. For whatever reason, you’re gonna see a lot of Boomers who are slow to upgrade even though, as we all know, streaming is the way forward. Thankfully, a Roku streaming stick pops right into any TV with an HDMI port and makes it smart, for under 50 bucks. Problem solved. Then you can talk them into getting HBO Max and sharing their password with you… even better.

$42.99, at Amazon.

Doggy Health Run Pet Owner Exercise Treadmill

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Alright, we’ve played it safe with a lot of this gift guide. Of course your parents want bathrobes and nice cameras, but if you’ve scrolled down this far, you’re still feeling unsure. For high rollers only, we simply must recommend this combination exercise bike and dog treadmill. Yes, your parent can exercise with their beloved pet from the safety of their own ‘guest room’ or garage. It’s madness. It’s genius. It’s not cheap.

$1,943, at Japan Trend Shop.

A ‘World’s Best Dad’ mug

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You simply can’t go wrong.

$15.80, at Zazzle.


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