Day 4: Stage of Life Matters {Finding the Perfect Gift Series}


Have you ever given any thought to stage of life being an important aspect of gift giving? It actually makes a ton of sense.

We grow in seasons – child, teen, young adult, newly married, new mom, mom of toddlers, mom of school-age kids, mom of teens, empty nester, retirement, nursing home…ok, hopefully not that last one.

Every season, our interests change and mold according to societal, family, and current influences. That means our gifting has to change too.

Psst – as you glance over this list, you’ll notice I don’t address any gifts for children. I’m actually starting with teenagers because I think they are much harder to buy for, whereas any flashy new toy in front of child will make them pretty happy.

High Schoolers

Teens are generally under their parent’s rule, but really don’t want to be treated like a child. So try to think of a grown up gift that’s will make them feel a little older.

Don’t insult them by buying a kid’s DVD or a t-shirt of their favorite cartoon character when they were 7. They’ll remember it. Instead, opt for cash, gift cards, or a shopping spree with a budget. Teens love picking out their own clothes, or any stuff really.

The college kid

Because they’re probably broke, cash and gift cards work well for this one. Gas cards especially. If you want to get more creative, you could put together a little basket of school supplies, cash, and a gift card. If they do their own laundry, a few dollars worth of quarters wouldn’t hurt either.

If they’re a super responsible collegiate, offering to help pay down their student loan or gifting them a monthly car payment might be well-received.

Newly marrieds

They’re either living in bliss or arguing every day. Whichever one it is, I wouldn’t recommend buying them a marriage book. It never went over well with me.

If they still have their registry available (I think Bed Bath & Beyond keeps it for 6 months to 1 year after the wedding), you can buy a few things off their list that weren’t picked up by guests.

Our wedding day, circa 2007

New moms

They may or may not want baby stuff. It really depends on the person. Sometimes when the focus is all on baby, the mom feels a little left out. Get her some relaxation time at a spa, or offer a meal or cleaning day voucher as a gift. It might seem a little awkward to ask, but they’ll probably take you up on it!

Moms of school-age kids to teens

The babies are gone, and here are the days of an empty house (if they don’t homeschool), or possibly a new job.

There are so many possibilities for each scenario, but here’s a thought that might help: Go back and read Day 3 of this series about listening to the other person. I guarantee they need someone to talk to, and it would really help you find an appropriate gift according to their interests.

Empty nesters

They might have a job or they might be looking toward retirement, but one thing’s for certain – an empty house means they need to keep busy. They don’t have kids to take care of anymore and that can either get lonesome, or be a relief. You decide!

Either way, this is the perfect time for them to pick up a new hobby, and depending on what it is, you could help them get started by buying the supplies.


If they’re retiring financially well-off, it can be hard to think of a gift for them – they can buy pretty much anything they want. Sentimental gifts work really well here.

Otherwise, if they like to travel, you might think of a bag of on-the-road goodies or a gas card. If they like to read, buy them some new books. They’ll probably have the time.

I realize that this list is geared toward women specifically, but they are the majority of my audience. Hence, they get priority. {grin} If you’re a guy and can give me some insights into gift ideas for your stage of life, please feel free to leave a comment!

What stage of life are you in right now?


If you missed any of the first few posts, you can catch up on the series landing page.

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  1. What about the son that has everything. He has lots of clothes, winter clothes he needs. Packer clothes his team. Wallet, coat, hat shoes, mittens, slippers, Pj’s. Cell phone and holder, special jump drive, and this and that. Lap top, own TV. I just can’t think of anything special. I have done cell phone holder, pepsi flash drive, earbuds, a sign with his name as if it was a street. Pillow cases with aviator sun glasses. He has two team blanket throws. I have purchased flannel sheets. A special long pillow and a fuzzy cover, a back rest for when he sits up in bed. I just can’t think of anything. I once had wooden planes made and put them on book ends, (he is in the Guard). I mean I just can’t think of anything but jerky, candy and maybe a new shirt he doesn’t need. Any suggestions would be great. He has several pairs of jeans, and nice pants. The only thing he wants is really hard to get and that is military boots of a certain kind, even he can’t find them any more. So I need help.

    Then I have a friend that has a boy friend but he is married in their 60’s. Long story and won’t go in to that. She is on a limited income and buys him things but he can’t take them home. That becomes pretty hard to do. He can give her jewelry and it is okay, she can’t give him jewelry, or personal items. She has done books with pictures of his grandkids. Things like and Shutterfly has freebies just pay postage and I send them to her to get things. However, she is always looking for things also so please keep giving us ideas.

    1. Hi Diane! My first instinct would be a subscription box. If you Google subscription boxes for men, it will come up with a variety of options depending on tastes. It might be fun for him to get one to see if he likes it! If he’s a coffee drinker, they have subscriptions for those too:

      Another place I would look is Uncommon Goods. They always have fun and unique gifts, and some of the best options for men that I’ve seen. It’s worth checking out!

      As for your friend, that’s a really hard place to be in. I would consider focusing on experience gifts rather than things. A trip to a concert, theme park, museum, etc. Hope that helps!

  2. I’m in the “Mom of school age kids” group and my wishlist would be “free babysitting coupons” because I’m always wanting a date with my husband but rarely have money for a babysitter. Also, I love Starbucks gift cards because I can splurge on an afternoon of reading/writing while sipping my favorite drink. I struggle with only buying someone a $10 gift card for Starbucks, but from someone who likes it…even $10 is a delight. It’s not the dollar amount as much as it is the delight of an afternoon of relaxation.

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