Gransnet forums

Ask a gran

What shall I buy my sister in law for her birthday?

(33 Posts)
kittylester Sun 07-Aug-16 18:42:16

My sister in law will be 75 in September and, although we are quite different, she is the nearest thing I have to a sister.

She is not really into clothes, make-up, perfume or ornament type things. She loves her dog, birdwatching and going for walks

Her husband (DH'S brother) is becoming more and more disabled (and cantankerous!!) with arthritis and is shortly to have an operation which might leave him in a wheelchair. She has given up all her volunteering to look after him so sees few people now. She says her world has shrunk to their house and dog walking.

I ring her often and am trying to make her do something for herself but she can't see the wood for the trees. Her children are hopeless.

She would be embarrassed if I spent a lot on her but i would like to spoil her a bit.

Please help!

tanith Sun 07-Aug-16 18:58:15

Could you not organise a 'posh' lunch or High Tea for the two of you so she also gets a nice break at the same time.
I was bought a voucher for Afternoon Tea at Claridges for Christmas , still haven't organised it but I'm so looking forward to it.

tanith Sun 07-Aug-16 18:59:12

Sorry that should be Tea at The Ritz... grin

phoenix Sun 07-Aug-16 19:07:47

I feel I'm always suggesting this, but magazine subscription? RSPB membership, binoculars for the bird watching, voucher for garden centre or similar, to be used for peanuts or wild bird food?

kittylester Sun 07-Aug-16 19:35:38

Thank you! I'd live to take her out for tea but I doubt she'd leave her dh. Rhey live in a small village in North Yorkshire.

Bird feeding is definitely a good thought phoenix and magazine subscription is too. They belong to RSPB.

Teetime Sun 07-Aug-16 20:09:13

Does she like foody gifts you could get her a subscription that delivers something monthly like chocolate or gin.

Penstemmon Sun 07-Aug-16 20:42:03

Depends on how much you want to spend.. I organised a bouquet of flowers to be delivered , each month for year, for my SiLs 80th birthday. Of course it spread the cost as they took the money from my card each month. SiL could call the florist if she was away and delay delivery!

We have done the same idea but with a cheese selection for another friend's 70th.

Jalima Sun 07-Aug-16 20:48:36

If she has a garden that she enjoys then some nice Heritage pots which you could plant up for her so that she has something to enjoy now she can't go out much?

GrandmaKT Sun 07-Aug-16 22:23:39

Does she have a Kindle (or similar)? They can be a window on the World when you can't get out much.

grannyqueenie Sun 07-Aug-16 22:43:02

If she's a reader then National Geographic Magazine subscription is very reasonable way of seeing the world from your armchair. You might have enough change to spend on another gift too!

Coolgran65 Sun 07-Aug-16 23:00:03

Could your dh sit with his db while you took your sil out for a treat. Lunch or afternoon tea. Perhaps a trip to the hairdresser for both of you beforehand.

ninathenana Mon 08-Aug-16 08:43:08

What coolgran said

oznan Mon 08-Aug-16 10:32:40

Some lovely suggestions from everyone.If the children can't or won't stay with their father,would it possible to arrange a little trip that includes him?Maybe to the seaside or a country park.You could hire a wheelchair or mobility scooter for the day if necessary and treat them both to lunch/afternoon tea.If this would be possible,I think it would do your sister-in-law and her husband a great deal of good to have a change of scene before his operation.

Liz46 Mon 08-Aug-16 10:37:04

My daughter bought me a bird of prey experience and I loved it. I handled different types of owl and a hawk.

Stansgran Mon 08-Aug-16 11:17:05

What Pentstemmon says is a lovely idea. I did this for my MIL and dd1 has just done it for me. The company is called something like blooms n'wild or blooms are us and they deliver through the letter box so you don't have to be in . Then you just have to arrange them but not difficult to do as I'm cack handed with flowers.

Lewlew Mon 08-Aug-16 11:45:53

How about a spa day... a swim, massage, pampering, nice lunch, etc, might be a good de-stressor for her? 75 is a milestone, I'd think pushing the boat out would be appreciated.

My sis in law is my best friend! grin

HootyMcOwlface Mon 08-Aug-16 11:53:05

Yes, can't your husband sit with her husband for the day and you go out with her for a spa day or a posh afternoon tea, or visit to a stately home/garden?

Craftycat Mon 08-Aug-16 12:28:43

I bought myself a birthday present this year- It is a rather nice RSPB bird 'table' with several different trays so you can put out food & water for different varieties of bird. Bit like an Obelisk.
If she loves birds this is a 365 day a year present for her.
The birds love it & it is very easy to assemble.
Her husband may enjoy it too.
(BTW - DH did buy me presents too although I told him I was very happy with my own choice !)

Disgruntled Mon 08-Aug-16 13:23:32

Difficult when you live so far away, you can't nip round and take her out for a treat somewhere. I love the idea of regular flowers. Or a subscription to Netflix?

VIOLETTE Mon 08-Aug-16 13:40:20

Loads of wonderful suggestions ! The magazine subscriptions would be lovely for her, and I like the idea of the 'obelisk' bird table ! My OH has a bird table and he loves it ...and so do the birds ...there is a bird bath as well which the birds love. Every year the RSPB does a garden watch during which day you make a note of all the birds you see in your garden (details RSPB website) ..... (I am assuming your sil has a computer ?) if she does not have one, and your budget would stretch to a small one, easy to use for a beginner, or a second hand one (I bought one, excellent value ...nothing wrong with it (it was bought for my husband , aged 83, to 'learn' on ....he gave up as it required patience (!) ...but it is still going strong ! It was a Toshiba Satellite and only cost 150 euros !) .....a lot of computer shops have reconditioned models when someone has upgraded. Also Amazon Warehouse website (the cheaper site for things !) sometimes have 'flash sales' of computers, tablets, etc (don't make the mistake I did, when I read an article in the paper advising not taking tablets into the bedroom, so you could sleep better .... I kid you not, I wondered why on earth I should not take my Gaviscon tablets into the bedroom .......dah ! (it must have been an age moment !).....anyway, I am sure you will think of something from these lovely suggestions people have made ! Good luck, and I am sure she will enjoy whatever you get !

Icyalittle Mon 08-Aug-16 14:05:23

On the birdwatching theme, how about a colour bird nest camera like this ? I was given one last year and it is fantastic in the breeding season. I can watch it on my ordinary TV or a small bedroom one. It might even keep her DH interested!

Icyalittle Mon 08-Aug-16 14:06:25

I forgot to say, they can be any price from about £30 upwards, in garden centres, hardware stores or the Internet.

seemercloud Mon 08-Aug-16 14:26:05

How about contacting the children to see if they have any ideas, suggesting you were wondering if she'd like to go out for a meal. Depending on the response, a voucher for a meal near home for 4 might spur them into offering to make up the numbers if you've 'sewn the seed'

eGJ Mon 08-Aug-16 14:40:04

What about a!Wentworth puzzle with HAPPY BIRTHDAY whimsies. You can personalise this with your own photo!
There are birdwatchers ones too!,

I have always found these a most appreciated gift for lots of occasions

kittylester Mon 08-Aug-16 15:30:14

Thank you all for your fantastic suggestions. I think something to do with flowers is the best bet.

I think I may have misled you with regard to BiL's disability.blush

He isn't house bound but, because he is so bloody minded, my sister in law almost is except when they go out together. He is really stubborn and insists that he isn't disabled enough to apply for AA angry so that they she could have some help in the house and garden nor will he apply for a Blue Badge.

I realise that he is in a lot of pain but my poor sister in law has no life of her own apart from walking HIS dog which is on it's last legs.

He is to be admired for keeping going despite everything (he drove to the South of France in the summer but ended up in hospital when his knee became swollen AGAIN)

I just want to cheer her up as I feel she will 'disappear' if we are not careful. I think I might suggest that she comes to stay for a few days before BiL has his op - but she would have to bring the pesky dog.