You may be seeing your parents in person for the first time in more than a year. Or not—Covid-19 is still a threat, and international travel is still limited around the world. However, you can let them know you’re thinking of them by giving a gift that makes their days a little easier. Whether it’s novel ways to stay in touch or new hobbies to ease anxiety, these are some of our favorite gift ideas for moms and dads.
Updated April 2021: We’ve adjusted prices and added a few new items.
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Gifts to Stay in Touch
- Facebook Portal for $179: Stay in touch with your folks by taking your Zoom video chats on the Portal’s 10-inch screen with a built-in Alexa smart assistant. WIRED senior writer Adrienne So has been using it for Zoom these past few months, and it’s her favorite way of joining WIRED meetings. The camera automatically tracks the subject and auto-focuses on them if they move around during a call.
- Google Pixel 4A for $350: WIRED editor Julian Chokkattu says the Pixel 4A (9/10, WIRED Recommends) is “nearly perfect.” It punches way above its weight at this price. If your mom or dad needs a good smartphone but doesn’t need a $1,000 model, get them an unlocked Pixel 4A so they can use it on any carrier network. (Here are a few other great options.)
- Lovebox Messenger for $100: It’s a beechwood box with a simple screen underneath the lid. When the heart on the outside of the box starts spinning, they’ll know a message is waiting for them, like “Happy holidays, Pop. Miss you and talk to you soon” or “I love you, Mom and Dad, but please stop.” You can send any message you want, up to 168 characters, through a smartphone app. You can link up to 20 Loveboxes too.
- Aura Carver Smart Digital Picture Frame for $199: I know what you’re thinking—digital picture frames are nothing new. But on a good one, photographs look better than on a smart display. WIRED reviewer Medea Giordano is a fan of Aura’s frames. The clear, 1,920 x 1,200 pixel resolution on the 10-inch Carver means it’s sharper than an Amazon Echo Show 10. It also has Alexa capabilities if you pair it with an Echo, so even if you’re a thousand miles away, your mother and father can ask it to bring up pictures of past holidays and vacations. There’s an included app so they can share photos from phone to frame easily, and it comes with unlimited cloud storage so you can keep them updated with photos of your life.
- Travelpro Crew Versapack for $180: If your parents are ready for a flight or a trip by car, it might be time for a luggage upgrade. The Crew Versapack is my favorite soft-shell suitcase of the ones I tested. It’s the expandable carry-on size, which is small enough to avoid having to check your bag on US airlines, but not on most international airlines. It has enough space for a long weekend, or longer if they’re efficient packers.
Gifts to Keep Them Entertained