Shopping for anyone in your family is always a tough time. You want to get them something that they’ll love, but you also might feel just compelled to buy them something because you’re supposed to love them as family. When it comes to finding gifts for an uncle, it can get complicated. Uncles aren’t usually immediate family, and they might even live in another city or state. You just might not know them well enough to make sound choices. Keep the family peace by using these 10 tips for gifts for an uncle.
Top 10 Tips For Gifts For Your Uncle
1. Listen To Him
Your uncle might not be your first choice for conversation when the family gets together. Still, he’s going to talk at least some of the time. Just a smidgen of mindful attention to him will let you pick up on a few clues about things he might be into or wants. Just keep your ears open when you get the chance.
2. Don’t Ask Mom Or Dad
Your uncle might be a blood relative, in that he’s a brother or sister of one of your parents. That might make you tempted to ask them for gift ideas. It might work, if they have spare ideas, but it’s more than likely to backfire. For one thing, they might be struggling with gift ideas of their own. Secondly, they might have known their sibling better in their youth than in adulthood. You might get gift ideas that are seriously outdated.
3. Do Ask Your Aunt
If your uncle is married and you have an aunt in the picture, she’s likely to have some suggestions for things he’s been talking about lately or just things she knows he needs. She’d probably love to hear from you anyway for a chat if you don’t connect regularly as it is.
4. Uncle Books
Only do this if he’s got a sense of humor. You never want a family member, much less any person, to feel patronized or criticized through a gift. However, if it’s relationship-appropriate, books about how to be a great uncle can be a hit, especially if you’re the oldest niece or nephew he’s got. There’s tons of advice for parents. There aren’t so many guidebooks for aunts and uncles, so he might honestly be confused about what his role should be.
5. Keep It In Proportion
How much you spend on a gift is honestly up to you, and every family is different. Still, as a general rule of thumb, you might not want to spend more on your uncle than you do a parent or grandparent. Ideally, no one would ever get upset by what you got someone else, but upsetting family politics can backfire for a long time to come.
6. Keep Artwork And Photos Reasonably Sized
You might have a great photo of him holding you when you were younger or just a fun moment from an afternoon the two of you spent in the park the last time he was in town. Or, you just find a piece of artwork you think he’d like. These are good gifts, so long as they’re in smaller frames. He might only hang these up in his home when you come visit, so go easy on him.
7. Gift Cards Good, Money Bad
There are some cultures where giving money between relatives is okay and even expected. However, it’s usually from older generations down. Uncles getting cash from their niece or nephew might get offended. You’re not his son or daughter, but he probably loves you just as much as his brother and sister, and he’d rather be a provider for you, even if not nearly as much as your own direct parents.
8. Consider Where He Lives
If you’re affluent enough to buy an uncle a huge bag of golf clubs when he comes to visit for Christmas, don’t expect him to pay for the extra baggage if he’s flying home. Also, even if you’re sending something smaller to him through the mail, consider the postage you’re going to pay.
9. Superlatives Are Super
Not sure what superlatives are? Anything that says “World’s Greatest Uncle” uses a superlative. So does anything that says “My Favorite Uncle”. Personalized gifts like these are sure to make his day. Interestingly, the ‘favorite’ uncle things are safest if he’s your only uncle, because you’re not choosing one over anybody else. He’ll still get a kick out of it, even if he’s by default your least-favorite uncle at the same time.
10. Remember, He’s A Man
If you normally are pretty adept at buying gifts for men, but you’re not sure about what to get an uncle, clear your head. Take a step back and remember that while he’s family, he’s also a man. Reframing the scenario along that angle can give you a new perspective and possibly quite a few more ideas.