It’s nerve-wracking enough to meet your significant other’s parents, but figuring out what to bring when meeting his parents can put you on the brink of a panic attack.
Rest assured, the gesture is what matters.
Today, this considerate tradition allows you to get creative with the gift you bring.
Whether you’re meeting future in-laws or coming in as a surprise guest, you can improve your chances of making a great first impression by bringing a unique and thoughtful gift.
Should You Bring a Gift When Meeting Your New Partner’s Parents?
It’s Etiquette 101 – don’t come empty-handed when meeting your girl or guy’s folks for the first time.
You don’t have to go to Tiffany’s or spend the day making a family recipe that travels well.
Even if your partner says gifts for meeting the parents are outdated and unnecessary, your mom taught you better, right?
Very few social events don’t require some kind of nice token, and a hostess gift is a must for any occasion where you are a guest. While there are no negatives, this gesture brings plenty of benefits:
- Conversation Starter: It gives you something to talk about right from the beginning.
- Nerves: Believe it or not, the parents are just as nervous as you are– maybe more. A gift calms nerves on both sides.
- Manners: Gifts for your SO’s parents show you appreciate basic manners and respect for elders.
What to Consider When Choosing a Gift for Parents
It’s hard enough to find the right thing to wear when first meeting the parents. Fortunately, choosing a gift doesn’t have to be complicated.
You want to select a gift that helps create a positive image of you and your relationship with their son or daughter. You don’t want to get off on the wrong foot with a gift that mom or dad could see as presumptuous or impractical.
Things to know before buying a “meeting her (or his) parents for the first time gift:”
- Cultural Customs: A fruit basket sounds like a safe gift for meeting the parents, right? You wouldn’t want to include a pear in a gift basket for Chinese parents. The word “pear” in Chinese means to “say goodbye.” Bringing a pear could suggest, “Hello! It’s nice to meet you. I’m breaking up with your son,” before you even say a word. Taking time to research suggests you respect the cultural tradition of the whole family.
- Health Concerns: A jar of local honey is a nice gift, too, especially with its antioxidant benefits. However, if a parent has diabetes, it could signify your significant other hasn’t told you much about his parents. Ask your partner about any health issues or dietary restrictions their parents have. Note any allergies as well.
- Neutral Emotions: You want your gift to be friendly and appropriate rather than offensive. Avoid intimate items like socks, underwear, or cocktail napkins with suggestive humor. You also don’t want to go overboard with a wildly expensive gift. It’s better to make a neutral impression than a bad one.
- Wine or Why Not?: A nice bottle of wine is an easy go-to gift – most of the time. Confirm with your partner that their parents drink alcohol. For some parents, it might be a substance abuse issue. Others might simply have religious or health beliefs that don’t include alcohol.
15 Thoughtful Meeting the Parents Gifts That Are Sure to Impress
It’s overwhelming to come up with good gift ideas for people you don’t know – who happen to be people you really want to impress. Don’t worry – we have you covered with some unique ideas that are sure to win them over.
This insulated wine tote comes in a variety of colors and patterns. They can use it for wine or sparking water for road trips, weekend getaways, or family outings. You’ll get bonus points if you fill it with locally made beverages.
Why They Will Love This Gift: It’s practical and will be put to good use. They’ll think about you every time you use it, and your name will be worked into conversations when others say, “I love your wine tote! Where did you get that?”
A box of biscotti is a low-maintenance sweet treat to supplement a buffet or dessert tray. This is also a perfect gift for a brunch date. With eight different toppings, there’s sure to be something for everyone in the family to taste test.
Why They Will Love This Gift: The biscotti can easily be transferred to a serving tray or storage and gives you more “get to know you” time than having to slice or plate a baked good.
Make the first meeting a little more cozy with this simple, elegant box with a blanket, mug, and custom-selected snack.
This isn’t one of those $8 blankets you buy in bulk on Black Friday. It’s decent-sized, too, with almost five feet of fabric on all sides.
Why They Will Love This Gift: It’s personal and thoughtful but not too intimate. Also, who doesn’t want another blanket?
These stunning coasters are almost works of art and will give a pop of color to any room in the house. They are easy to wipe clean and sit on an elegant coaster stand.
Why They Will Love This Gift: Coasters keep water stains off the furniture, and you never seem to have one when you need one.
Cut through the “first meeting” nerves with a custom cutting board, perfect for a home bar, indoor kitchen, or outside table. The personalization adds a unique touch and shows you didn’t just grab something off a shelf at Home Goods.
Why They Will Love This Gift: Family is important, especially when you may be part of it someday. It also makes a great display piece during holiday gatherings.
These flour sack towels come in a wide selection of prints which you can custom choose to make an excellent gift for meeting the parents. You can also include this wrapped around a homemade pie, and there’s no pressure for the parent to wash and return it to you.
Why They Will Love This Gift: It’s practical but not boring. The patterns also make great talking points if you run out of conversation starters while helping in the kitchen.
Flattery might get you somewhere, but Charcuterie will make you stand out. These stone plates break the mold from the traditional wooden board and come with chalk to customize the dishes.
Why They Will Love This Gift: You have great odds that this clever gift is something they don’t already have.
Succulents symbolize everlasting love, so this is more than meeting their parents for the first time gift.
It’s also a message that your beloved is an essential part of your life. The golden base against the neutral succulent tone adds glamour to an eco-friendly plant.
Why They Will Love This Gift: Who doesn’t love beautiful, easy-to-care-for plants? And every time your sweetie’s parents see the planter, they will remember what a perfect partner you are for their son or daughter.
These paper napkins adorned with animals make a great asset to an outdoor event or family barbecue.
You might even get the dad to talk about the qualities of each bird displayed. These are also part of a collection, so you can expand the set each time you see the parents, removing the stress of figuring out another gift.
Why They Will Love This Gift: Cute cocktail napkins are something all hostesses need but often forget to buy. This set is sure to evoke lots of positive comments.
10. Blessing Bowl
Blessing Bowls are an ancient tradition that still has a special place in anyone’s home. This bowl comes with a non-denominational quote, “Please bless the food that’s before us, the friends that surround us, and the love that’s between us.” Mom and dad can use this bowl for food or to hold written messages of thanks and gratitude.
Why They Will Love This Gift: It’s a great chance to learn about the cultural tradition of a blessing bowl and likely something the parents will keep for years to come.
A family game is an excellent way for you all to get to know easy other. But sometimes these games can make you self-conscious.
You don’t want to be too nervous even to remember your own last name, much less a challenging Trivial Pursuit question. This game is designed around topics you should know but probably don’t.
Why They Will Love This Gift: It gives you something fun to do. Games help loosen everyone up while genuinely getting to know each other.
These distinguished salt and pepper shakers are a safe, neutral gift, especially if your partner keeps saying, “I don’t know what they like!”
Another option is to fill the shakers with locally-crafted Himalayan salts or a unique salt flavor from a locally owned business. Pair it with a pepper grinder and a bag of peppercorns if you feel it’s too basic.
Why They Will Love This Gift: Elegant salt and pepper shakers are always something a couple can use, especially if they are entertaining frequently.
If there’s ever a reason to sit in silence when meeting new people, it’s to listen to the beautiful sound of wind chimes.
This beautiful design doubles as a night lantern as it’s solar-powered during the day. Make sure you insert the AA battery before you gift it so it’s ready to be hung.
Why They Will Love This Gift: Wind chimes signify good luck and exude positive energy. Ask to help hang the wind chimes, and you’ll score one-on-one time with a parent. Be sure to talk about the lawn or garden as you get an impromptu yard tour.
The power of the sun fuels this unique outdoor gift. It’s delicate enough to be classy but small enough to fit in any yard or patio.
Add a book with pictures of local birds and an inexpensive pair of binoculars, and you’ve made quite a statement.
Why They Will Love This Gift: It provides simple entertainment that many parents love. It can also help you win points with younger siblings or grandkids when you show them how to fill the feeder.
Gadgets are a great gift for any kitchen, and this ice cream maker doesn’t feel too functional. For extra flair, provide hand-written recipes on decorative note cards. Bring toppings or syrups too.
Why They Will Love This Gift: Show the parents how this gadget works and, while you’re there, impress mom even more by offering to help make the ice cream.
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It might sound trite, but it really is the thought that counts when determining what to bring when meeting his parents. Don’t overindulge with expensive gifts you can’t afford just to impress them.
Be sure to find a nice gift bag or elegant bow to present the gift and a card that expresses how glad you are to meet them finally.