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anonynon's avatar

Gift idea for Mom - thoughtful, or completely rude?

Asked by anonynon (103 points ) September 6th, 2009

I am very close with my Mother in Law. She has taken up walking as a serious hobby (she goes walking a few times a week with friends), so I thought a really nifty pedometer could be a cool, practical gift.

However, the reason she goes walking is because it is a fun new way for her to get exercise and lose weight (which, in my opinion, she doesn’t need to – she looks great). Would it be rude to give her a gift that is related to her weight loss process?

Would a gift like that say “Hey mother-in-law, here’s a cool thing that could make your new hobby more fun!” Or is it likely that she would misread it as “Hey fatty, here’s something that will help you in your de-fattening process.”

I feel like exercise-related gifts are tricky. Yes or no to this idea?

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21 Answers

kevbo's avatar

I would base it more on whether she’s the type that augments her experiences with gadgets or accessories. For me, it would be clutter and something annoying that would take away from other aspects of my walk. Other people get positive reinforcement from measuring and tracking their progress.

Frankie's avatar

I don’t think she would take it the wrong way, considering that pedometers don’t actually help you lose weight…they just check how many steps you take. So it wouldn’t really be a comment on her weight. It would just show that you’re supportive of her trying to lead a healthier lifestyle, which I’m sure she would appreciate. If she’s really into walking she’d probably love it, it’s surprising she doesn’t have one already.

If you’re still iffy about it, maybe get her a gift card to a sports store like Finish Line or Adidas or something, and say that she can use it to buy a new pair of walking shoes or new workout clothes. Since colder weather is coming she’ll probably need to buy warmer walking gear.

Jeruba's avatar

Exercise-related gifts are tricky. You are wise to think about it.

If you are very close to her and yet you are not sure how she would take this, I think you’d better go with your instinct rather than taking advice from strangers. We don’t know her and you do. If you are not certain it would be well received, don’t do it.

You might find your way to it cautiously: “Have you ever thought about tracking how much you actually walk? I bet it’s more than you think.” Her reaction might then sound like a green light. It’s better to risk diminishing the surprise a little for the sake of a warmer welcome.

The_Compassionate_Heretic's avatar

For the in-laws, I’d shy away from exercise-related gifts unless that’s particularly what they asked for.

StephK's avatar

I would like underscore what Jeruba said: If you’re not certain it would be well recived, don’t do it.

Dog's avatar

If you are asking this question I think your inner voice is telling you not to do it.

Frankie's avatar

You could also ask your spouse if he/she thinks your mother-in-law would appreciate the gift or take it the wrong way.

Facade's avatar

I think that gift would be fine. Since she’s already walking, it’s not like you’re saying “hey! maybe this will make you want to get up and walk!” I think she’d like it.

jebaugh's avatar

If she has chosen to exercise, regardless of the reason, a gift that facilitates that should be appreciated. Nothing about a pedometer is intrinsically insinuating. Get her the pedometer – the really nice one with the heart rate monitor and pulse – and she’ll appreciate it.

gailcalled's avatar

Personally, I exercise and would find a pedometer another useless gadget. I clock the mileage with my car, and then time my walks with a watch. I can also check my pulse the old-fashioned way. So, I vote no.

You could also ask her.

Darwin's avatar

It might be taken in better humor than a gift of chocolate.

PandoraBoxx's avatar

Walking programs are good for overall fitness. A pedometer is nice, especially if it can be used in conjunction with an online site that logs your steps for you. Likewise, a gift certificate that can be used for walking related gear would be really nice.

tiffyandthewall's avatar

if you think she would use it, i think it’s thoughtful. if you’re close with her, i don’t think she’d take it as offensive, especially if she knows that you don’t think she needs to lose weight. i think it’s a nice gesture, since it shows that you’re taking into consideration something she spends a lot of time doing.

switchboard's avatar

Its a tricky question and a harder answer. Try to stay away from it if you can. She might take it offencivly or just rude. Unless she asked for it, think of something else really cool.

hearkat's avatar

If you get one that has a heart-rate monitor, as well, it will be geared more toward her well-being than weight loss. Another option is a gift certificate for the Sporting Goods store… she might prefer a new pair of walking shoes.

PandoraBoxx's avatar

She may call it “weight loss,” but if you call it “fitness program,” there can be no misunderstanding that you think she looks lovely as she is, but find it admirable that she’s intent on improving her overall health so you can continue to enjoy her company for a long time to come.

YARNLADY's avatar

Here’s how Hubby handled it with me. “I saw an ad about a step counting devise for walking, I was thinking about getting one”. I said “Wow, I would love to have one.” So it was my next gift.

dee1313's avatar

Get her a gift card for a nice shoe store. If she’s walking that much, she might like to have good quality shoes to walk in. You could also offer to take her to have her arch measured and whatnot. (I don’t know all the specifics for that stuff… I’m used to buying a $20—$30 pair of shoes once a year.)

JLeslie's avatar

I would like the gift, but I am never sure how my mother in-law will take something, I just can’t guess with her. I ask my husband and then try to stick with something I think will be safe, although I do give her practical gifts a lot. Like a special mat for her kitchen because her feet and back were hurting because she now has hard floors throughout the house. I bought her an electric can opener since she has arthritis, and others.

I think if you are asking this question don’t buy it.

AshlynM's avatar

I’d stay away from any health related, weight loss, or exercise gift. In law or not, and no matter how close you are to that person, you still don’t have any idea how they would interpret such a gift.

I agree about the gift certificate to a shoe store. That way she can buy what she wants. Or maybe a nice walking jacket in case the weather is chilly.

gailcalled's avatar

@AshlynM: Nice answer, but note that the question was asked two and a half years ago.

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