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Style & Living How to Holiday

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

We've rounded up 10 surefire holiday presents your mother-in-law absolutely cannot raise an eyebrow over.

By Katherine Kluznik
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Overall she’s pretty great, but sometimes your mother-in-law can be a little... uh, let’s say "fussy." Meaning, as you’re aware, that she has very clear-cut ideas about certain things. And she's sure to make those certain things known, especially when they don't quite meet her, ahem, standards. Another way to frame it: She knows what she likes and is sticking with it.

This means that she’s not the person who you'd give a present of cat slippers to (“overly 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. We know that finding a gift that checks every box (and won't empty your wallet!) isn't easy, so we've done the work for you and rounded up some suggestions that are sure to please. Ahead, you'll find 10 holiday presents that your mother-in-law 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.


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


This trio of sweets by Sugarfina is as tasty as it is pretty — and it is so much more interesting than other holiday food 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

This understated tote, which comes in an array of neutrals, will let her carry everything with elegance. 

Everlane Cashmere Scarf

It doesn’t really matter whether the item is a scarf like this, or if it comes in the form of 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. Instead, they'll give her desk a luxe feel.

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 wherever she goes.

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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