Marking an 80th birthday: What to give?

Of the many occasions when we present gifts birthdays are among the most significant. "I'm glad you were born", we get to say, "and I wish you many, many more celebrations of your life." It's not about achievement (graduation) or a religious observance (Christmas, Hanukkah). No made-up occasion day (Mother's, Valentine's) can match the one that honours you.

And the "0" birthdays call for a little extra attention.

My MIL turns 80 this June and I'm thinking hard about what to give her. She and FIL (Monique & Maurice, known as "Mo and Mo") live simply, and she's not acquisitive or interested in fashion trends. A textile artist, she has instinctive good taste and sense of design, loves fine things, and receives them graciously.

I refuse to go the gift card route, which is what her three children did for FIL's 70th, to my disappointment- but he was happy.

I want to delight her.
Some ideas so far:

1. A swath of cashmere?

Luxury Basketw
eave Pure Cashmere Throw Blanket (from is one idea; it's about $125 (in US dollars), and comes in luscious colours. But is it personal enough? (We gave them cashmere cardigans for Christmas so I've used that idea.)

2. Stylish luggage?

y spend several months in Florida in winter and travel through Quebec each summer. Vera Bradley rolling luggage in "Java", a 26-inch rolling duffel is $250 from Village Luggage and Gifts.

3. Earrings?

She's allergic to silver and dresses very "Land's End" in sweaters and wash-and-wear pants. But she wears earrings, so maybe something like these buttons from Netaya: 14K Yellow Gold Garnet & Diamond Button Earrings, $115 on sale. I would not choose this pair; I think the diamonds are too small, at .2ct total weight. But I could take this design to my jeweler and see what he can make.

4. A getaway for two?

Mo & Mo love to travel. I am thinking, if all the children would contribute to a joint gift, of a stay, for example, at Le Chateau Montebello, a gracious red-cedar lodge a short drive away in Quebec. Le Duc would handle the negotiations with his sibs. I think this would really thrill her.

Any ideas are welcome, but I should add she would not like a spa, and has difficulty walking distances, so no hiking.


Frugal Scholar said…
The trip or the cashmere throw. Or both.
Susan B said…
All of those are lovely gift ideas, but I'm with Frugal. I think the getaway is the best idea, and the cashmere throw a close second.
Anonymous said…
Your ideas are all lovely, but I know my own mother at 80 is giving away her jewelry and says she has enough "stuff". My vote is for the getaway. Your blog is a pleasure to read!
materfamilias said…
Oh, I vote for Montebello, having once had a lovely weekend there and never yet managed to get back. And also because the 80-year olds I know seem to be keener on experiences than acquisitions, (although I think they could be convinced to wrap themselves in a lovely piece of cashmere).
lagatta à montréal said…
The trip, though I'd prefer Québec to Montebello if it were for me and companion.
Anonymous said…
Personally I think you can never have enough earrings but my mother, like anonymous's is giving stuff away now (she's 77) and asks for things she can use up. I vote for the trip too, it sounds lovely.
i know my 80 year old aunt says she's reached the point where she'd rather have more "experiences" while she can, than things she doesn't need. she is also at the "giving away" stage. i think the trip and/or the luggage is a marvelous idea.
Duchesse said…
Everyone: The trip is endorsed by so many, this gives me renewed confidence for approaching BIL and SIL.

lagatta: they are more Montebello types than say, La Pinsonnière or Manoir Hovey, and have friends who live nearby.
NancyDaQ said…
I think the getaway would be a lovely gift, follwed by the luggage. I'd be for the cashmere throw, but since you recently gave cashmere cardigans, I wouldn't give cashmere again so soon afterwards.
sallymandy said…
I vote for the trip. Might I be presumptious and think that at age 80, experiences are more valued than items? I don't know. Good luck!

(oh, now I see that others had the same thought.)
lady jicky said…
I vote the trip too!
I vote the trip - I've just gone through the same quest for my mother who turns 70 this week. She has enough 'stuff' and wants no more. If MIL likes travel - then a trip or trip related gift is the best idea.
Duchesse said…
Nancy, sallymandy, lady jicky; With all your votes added, my BIL and SIL can hardly say no! Big thanks!
Anonymous said…
Oh I so love Zara's Calder Curl earrings, Duchesse! Go look at them! They have that whimsy I love, but they are classic and simple too!
Anonymous said…
Sorry, I have a bad habit of posting a comment on the wrong post!

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