10 Last Minute Gifts That My Mom and Mother-in-Law Actually Liked

These are real last minute gifts that I’ve purchased for my mom and mother-in-law (both over age 60) over the years. They are the toughest family members to shop for, so I give it a lot of thought, even though most of the time I’m doing last minute gift shopping. My mom is a much tougher gift recipient than my mother-in-law, and they both have their unique quirks. Feel free to steal these ideas if they can make your life any easier.

Electric Blanket

electric blanket

I was reluctant to give this last minute gift to my mom but my mother-in-law happens to have an electric blanket that she loves and has used reliably for 20 years. I ordered one online with next day shipping. To my surprise, my mom actually loved it and uses it a lot in the winter when she feels cold in bed. Older people tend to feel colder in the winter. It heats up quickly when you hold down the button and there’s an auto shut off feature, so it’s safe and easy to use.

Broadway Show Tickets

wicked-playbillI found out a popular Broadway show was touring in my city and bought last minute tickets for a group of family members including my mother-in-law. She didn’t know what to expect when she opened up the gift as she had never been to a musical before, but she ended up enjoying it and feeling like it was a unique experience. If another popular show comes to town, I would try to get tickets for her again.

Dessert Wine or Wine Gift Set

I didn’t want to gift my mother-in-law a regular bottle of wine, so I went with a Canadian ice wine at the last minute because it seemed more unique and special. We’ve also brought her Rieslings and Muscat-based wines in the past as she seems to be a fan of dessert wines. It’s not a completely unique gift idea, but it’s nice to bring in addition to dessert when we go over for Thanksgiving or Christmas dinners, and you can always pick up a bottle at the last minute. If your mom or mother-in-law is a wine lover, you could consider giving her a nice gift set too.

 Full Cleaning and Detail for the Car

car on roadMy mother-in-law really appreciated this last minute gift, mainly because she didn’t need to schedule a time to bring the car to the detail shop herself. We asked her if we could take the car for 5 hours on a Saturday, picked it up at her house, and brought it back clean, shiny, and thoroughly vacuumed later that day. We ordered the full detail service where they wash and wax the car, wipe down the interiors, and vacuum the seats and floors. It was like a new car when we picked it up.

Coffee Bean Grinder


My mom drinks coffee daily and has only recently become a fan of freshly ground coffee that was roasted within the last 2 weeks. When she initially opened the package, however, she flat out said that she didn’t need the gift. It was too expensive, and she definitely had no counter space for it. My dad persuaded her to try it as he was more curious about the idea than she was, and they now use it all the time. Another good last minute gift idea would have been a new coffee maker that grinds and brews. You can order them online with next day shipping.

Photo Calendar


I thought this would just be an “oh that’s nice” gift but both my mom and mother-in-law really loved their respective calendars. They were so impressed with how large and clearly printed the photos were. It was almost like having 12 enlarged, framed photos, which they found to be unique. Neither wanted to write anything on the calendar because they wanted to save it and preserve it. You can’t wait until the very last minute for this one, but there are rush shipping options.

 Instant Kettle


My mother-in-law was still using a tea kettle to boil water, so we got her an electric kettle with precise temperature settings that you can select, and she loved the gift. It wasn’t unique to her because she knew they existed, but she had never gotten around to buying one for herself. She drinks a lot of hot beverages throughout the year, so she loves that you can set the exact temperature and that it heats up the water so quickly. We picked it up at the last minute at Target.

Fleece Jacket


My mom doesn’t really like the idea of receiving any kind of clothing as a a gift, especially anything expensive, but my mother-in-law likes receiving comfortable athletic clothing like REI sweaters, North Face jackets, and Patagonia vests. I’ve gifted her a nice fleece jacket and a hoodie that I found on sale at the last minute at a sporting goods outlet. The problem is that you can’t give her a new jacket every year, so you have to change it up a bit or else it gets repetitive.

Luxury Bedsheets


My mom liked this gift but she didn’t love it. She is particular about down comforters, duvet covers, memory foam pillows, and bedding materials. She goes to Bed Bath and Beyond and walks up and down the bed sheet aisles checking out all the unique materials and scoping out sale items. But my mother-in-law isn’t picky about bedding so this idea really fell flat with her. She couldn’t care less if her bed sheets were Egyptian Cotton or 750 thread count Pima Sateen. But why shouldn’t your home bedding be as luxurious as in a hotel?

Gift Certificate for Home Cleaning

the-ritz-carlton-waffle-slippers-rtz-458-wl-wh-os_xlrgI initially thought this would be a really useful and easy last minute gift that I found on Groupon. I thought it would help out my mother-in-law by relieving her of the burden of cleaning, but she didn’t want it because she doesn’t trust strangers in her house. She has never used a cleaning service for anything in her life. I still really like this idea and would personally love to receive a last minute gift like this, but it was not a good choice for her.