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What to buy your parents for Christmas

Every year, I have the same conversation with my Mum.

“What sort of thing would you like for Christmas this year?” 

“Oh…I don’t need anything.” 

“Yes, I know that, but I’d like to buy you something.” 

“Honestly, I don’t need anything. How about some of that nice bath stuff from M&S?” 

This conversation is the single most frustrating conversation I have with my Mum, with the notable exception of any conversation that starts with the words, “I’m using my laptop and wondered if you could help…” 

The thing is I don’t want us to be one of those families where we only buy presents for the children. Fair enough if it works for you, but in my family, we think everyone deserves a gift. Why not show someone you appreciate them and want to make them happy? Also, I love getting presents. Ahem.

Anyway, I can’t be the only person tearing my hair out with frustration at wanting to get my parents a gift they’ll love, and being utterly, utterly stuck for ideas. So I thought I’d share my genius solution this year.

Back in November it was my Mum’s birthday and I was at a loss as to what to buy, when it occurred to me that the thing my Mum (and Dad) love more than anything these days is their grandchildren. Their shelves are stacked with baby photos, school photos, nativity play photos… but what they don’t have are any really great photos of the children as they are right now, and certainly none of them with the children.

So I hit upon the idea of booking a professional photographer to do a photo session with my parents and their grandchildren. To capture how they are now, and how much they enjoy spending time together. So many of us have professional photos when our children are born, but then don’t bother doing it again until we are at a wedding. And personally, I’d much rather have pictures that capture us doing the things we do in the places we love rather than something in a studio.

Luckily, I happen to know an amazing professional photographer who doesn’t live too far from us.

Tom agreed to come over to Lancashire for a morning, and we all headed off to a local park for a photo session.


My folks loved it. Tom was brilliant with the kids, and took some of the best pictures of my camera-shy nephew I’ve ever seen, as well as some gorgeous (yes, I’m biased, but it’s still true) photos of Flea and my niece. We were all done and dusted in a couple of hours and a few days later we had a virtual gallery of around 100 images that we could choose from. I’ve ordered a couple of prints for my parents to display on their wall, and then ordered a photo book from Blurb containing the rest of the pictures, along with some hand-written notes and pictures from the children.

A professional photo shoot didn’t cost as much as I thought – it was a little less than the day spa I bought my Mum a couple of years back, although the cost of the prints and books needs to be taken into account.



So a huge thanks to Tom at Tom Arber Photography, for helping me to sort Christmas!



Sally is a full-time blogger and founder of the Tots100, Trips100, Foodies100 and HIBS100 communities, along with the MAD Blog Awards. She spends a bit too much time on the Internet. She's also a very happy Mum to Flea, the world's coolest ten year old.

About The Author


Sally is a full-time blogger and founder of the Tots100, Trips100, Foodies100 and HIBS100 communities, along with the MAD Blog Awards. She spends a bit too much time on the Internet. She's also a very happy Mum to Flea, the world's coolest ten year old.


    • Sally

      Tom did a great job, didn’t he?

    • Sally

      You should! My folks loved the photo shoot.

  1. Actually Mummy...

    We have family photos but I’d never thought of a photo shoot with my Mum. She would love that. And her dogs…

    The worst conversation I have with my mother at Christmas starts like this: “Don’t worry about coming to get me for Christmas if the roads are bad. I’ll be alright, I’ve bought an individual Christmas pudding…”
    Actually Mummy… recently posted..Hilarious childrens’ book: The Weasel Puffin Unicorn Baboon Pig Lobster Race! (review)My Profile

    • Sally

      hahahaha! Kudos to your Mum.

  2. Isobel

    Great minds think alike – we did that last year for my parent’s Golden Wedding Anniversary. They thought it was a great idea, and bar the photo shoot which was a tad trying (deaf grandad, active children………) it has gone down a treat!

  3. Ruth (geekmummy)

    What gorgeous pictures!

    My Mum has been dropping not-so-subtle hints for at least two years that she’d like a nice family photo for Chrismas or birthday, and we haven’t managed it yet. The trouble with being married to a professional photographer is that he’s very picky about who he will allow to take photos of himself, and he never gets around to taking the pictures himself either. But I just mentioned Tom to him after reading this post and he said “Tom, oh yeah, I like his style”, so I might be talking to him nearer birthday time 🙂
    Ruth (geekmummy) recently posted..App Review: Sago Mini Forest Flyer (iOS)My Profile

    • Sally

      *readies commission request form*

  4. Teresa

    Love your blog and your gift to your parents. I am a grandmother (nana) to 4 children and I do a blog called I am going to follow you and would love for you to come visit my blog. Today’s post is one all parents and grandparents can relate to. It’s a commercial about parenting that I love. Blessings to you and for being such a thoughtful daughter to your parents.

    Merry Christmas,
    Teresa recently posted..You Don’t Know What It’s LikeMy Profile


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