6 Gifts You Should Never Give Your Daughter-In-Law

Keep the holidays happy by avoiding these present missteps.

December is the most wonderful gift-giving time of the year—unless you have to buy something for a daughter-in-law with whom you have a difficult relationship. Even if you have a great relationship, the dance between a MIL and DIL can be a tricky one, and seemingly harmless, well-intentioned gifts can come off as loaded with innuendo. For that reason, you might want to steer clear of giving any of these.

1. Exercise equipment

Hand weights, fitness clothes, a yoga mat, a digital fitness tracker—they’re all great gifts, except not for your DIL. Even if she is a fitness guru, steer clear. Instead of seeing great gear, she’s likely to see you shaking your finger at her and telling her to, “Cut down on the cookies and get off the couch!” Any gift that could be perceived as a comment on her weight is a big no-no. 

2. Parenting guides

You see a gift that can provide help, she sees you telling her what a crappy job she’s doing as a mom. Yes, all parents need advice and guidance, but really, no daughter-in-law wants unsolicited parenting advice from her mother-in-law, especially during the holidays. 

3. Underwear

Just don’t. It’s too intimate and too weird coming from you. Even pajamas may be too much for some DILs. If you want to buy a cozy gift, try slippers, a bathrobe, or some bath salts and lotions.

4. The wrong size clothing

Clothes are a great gift choice, but before you buy, make sure you’ve got your daughter-in-law’s exact size. Clothing that’s way too big or way too small screams, “You don’t see who I am at all!”

5. Political or self-help books

If you’re trying to make a point about your views, or what you think your DIL needs, this isn’t the way to do it. With these gifts you’re basically saying, “You need to change!” And no one likes hearing that.

6. Cleaning supplies

Even if you’ve found the most fantastic spot-remover or dish detergent that smells heavenly, and you want everyone to know about it, pass it by as a gift. Your DIL wants to be appreciated and acknowledged for who she is. Cleaning supplies are just too utilitarian and impersonal no matter how good they small or look.

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