How to Holiday

10 Surefire Gifts to Please Your Very Particular Mother-in-Law

Presents she absolutely cannot subtly raise an eyebrow over.

Overall she’s pretty great, but sometimes your mother-in-law can be a little... let’s say "fussy." Meaning, as you’re aware, that she has very clear-cut ideas about certain things. Another way to frame it: She knows what she likes and is sticking with it.

This means, of course, that she’s not the person you want give a present of cat slippers to (“too cutesy”), or a potato-powered clock (“weird”), or an I LOVE MY DOG novelty toaster (“landfill fodder”). Instead, you want gifts that balance practicality and luxury.

Ahead, 10 holiday presents that she absolutely cannot subtly raise an eyebrow over.

Chanel No. 5 Eau Première



We'd put fairly good odds on your mother-in-law claiming Chanel No. 5 as her signature scent — after all, it's arguably been the world's most classic fragrance for nearly a hundred years. But if you know she has another favored perfume (say, Shalimar, or maybe 24 Faubourg) then swap it in and consider your shopping done.


Diptyque Phoenix Scented Candle

We have never met a single person who doesn’t find Diptique candles the most delightful of scented candles — and we're confident that your mother-in-law won’t the exception. This limited-edition take is even more gorgeous then the French brand's other signature candles.


Sugarfina Holiday Bento Box

This trio of sweets by Sugarfina is as tasty as it is pretty — and is so much more interesting than standbys like truffles and cookies.


Ready for Anything Pouch

The perfect balance of practical and elegant, this aptly named Ready for Anything pouch keeps her phone, pen, cards and other odds and ends tidily in place—tapping that part in her brain that loves nothing more than organization.


Madewell Leather Transport Tote

Clean lines… No hardware that’s not quite right… This understated tote, which comes in an array of neutrals, will let her carry everything with elegance.


Everlane Cashmere Rib Scarf

It doesn’t really matter whether the item is a scarf like this, mittens, or a hat, if it's rendered in cozy cashmere, she will love it.


Luxye Gold Pen Set

This set of six matching golden pens will rest in a pen cup on her desk without looking remotely junky.


Graphic Image Monogrammed Passport Case

Even a little holiday trip to visit the family is always done with style, and this bright little case will keep her passport dressed to impress on farther flung travels.


Bobbi Brown Travel Brush Set

She always has the perfect implements for everything, and this set will let her apply her makeup with the best professional brushes attainable anywhere.


Halogen Cashmere Gloves

In a perfect alignment of form and function, these super-soft yet grippy gloves let her stay cozy while driving.

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