Classic games with a modern twist
Before you know it, Dad will be playing poker with Joe and Larry at the pool, and Mom will be playing bridge with Olga and Renee at the tea house. Teach them that there is another way.
First, get them on their feet! Show them how to bowl and play tennis and baseball right at home... even if "home" is a 550-square-foot apartment. That's what the Wii -- the super in-demand video game console from Nintendo -- is all about. You don't "play" by hitting buttons on a controller, but actually score by making the motions -- just like you were really hitting a ball or bowling a strike. (And while it's great for former couch potatoes to get up and play, that doesn't mean the mobility-challenged can't enjoy the games, too.)
Mom and Dad might need a little convincing to realize they could truly be interested in playing an actual video game, but once they get into it (like one of our editor's dad did), they will think it's downright groovy!
Phantom EFX (phantomefx.com), a publisher of PC casino games, has just released Reel Deal Card Games. It's a computer game featuring over 75 classic card games, including guy favorites like Poker, Euchre, Gin, Rummy 500, and over 40 variations of Solitaire. DB Dealer's Texas Hold 'Em Poker can provide hours of entertainment as well. Reel Dad in with talk of it being cards…by the time he realizes it means him using that box with buttons, it'll be too late.
Send him off on an adventure
Is Dad a NASCAR freak? Tell him to get his butt away from the television so Mom can watch QVC in peace, and check this out: New from Rand McNally, the Ultimate NASCAR Road Trip Guide. The guide blends 160 pages of trusty maps with 200 pages of in-depth travel information and visitor tips for each of the 31 NASCAR-sanctioned tracks in North America. The guide arms racing fans with all the information they need to get to their destinations, enjoy the experience and discover things to see, do and eat while they're there.
"NASCAR fans often hit the road to see races firsthand and soak up the local flavor of the areas near the speedways," said Laurie Borman, editorial director for Rand McNally. This book "arms fans with all the information they need to get to their destinations, enjoy the NASCAR experience and discover things to see, do and eat while they're there."
And the really good news for you? Those who are out road-tripping their obsession can't force you to listen to them blather on about it.
Music doesn't only come on vinyl
Vinyl is a beautiful thing, but not when it represents the last time your parents took the initiative to listen to music. To them, "new" tunes are the seventies, and "indie" music is something they may hear on the international channel. Get them help.
Start slow. Remember, you drive too fast, you kill the motor. Rock-Ola created the world's first jukebox in 1935, and created the vintage-style juke box that was on Cheers. Originally, jukeboxes were used by music publishers as a way of promoting music sales. Now, it will be your way of promoting emotional and social growth, with their nostalgic music center. A CD is loaded into the system's DVD, and the system downloads all the CD information to the touch-screen. Viola, it's vintage look at today technology. It's like bowling with bumpers.
Want to infuse some soul into their lives but don't want to max out your credit card? The Sansa Connect MP3 Player by SanDisk is a pretty cool gadget – it has a WiFi-on-the-go feature, so your parents can grab their music from the sky – they don't have to be connected to a computer to download songs or listen to Internet radio.
Look at the pretty pictures!
Imagine how cool your parents will feel when they tell their friends they have a video cam? (Just try not to think of the naughty things they may decide to do with each other with it. It could lead to digestion problems.) The new Flip Video camcorder is so small, it will fit in a pocket or purse, but it's so easy to use, even technological virgins can figure it out. The Flip Video camcorder footage can instantly be uploaded to the Internet, and it has some cool features that will make even savvy-and-jaded you want to steal it, like clip-editing, the ability to use your own music for mixes, and snapping still photos from video.
If your parents have a wild side, they may be interested in the Logitech QuickCam Deluxe for Notebooks. It's super easy to set up, has great audio/video quality, and retails for less than it would cost to take them out for dinner. Plus, they get to send each other video greetings all day at work. How's that for a visual?
Radar.com will be a good add-on to their hot new video toy. It's a free (which means you can get it for them and not sacrifice a single happy hour), photo and video-sharing service that allows you to instantly share your pictures and videos with your friends and family. Post your pictures and video, they post theirs, and you've officially interacted!
Please note: If you don't want to visit, it is imperative you provide an alternative that will be viewed as equally acceptable. Parents are habit-forming by nature. Give them a new option to obsess over, they may leave you alone. (When we got puppies, my mom didn't harass me about giving her grandchildren for a whole week!)
OK, I lied. Water won't do anything for you, and it is a pretty crappy gift. But libations, those are the gifts that keep on giving – and your parents will show their love for you a lot more if they are a little buzzed.
So, I say, get your Dad some booze. It's what he secretly wants and there's nothing better for a young dad or one that wants to regain certain hipness than the new super premium Tequila Tezón, the only 100% Tahona processed tequila in the U.S. If you have a more traditional father, then go with whiskey. The Macallan Fine Oak Scotch Whiskey is a new, lighter range of single malts. It is created by maturing spirit in both European Oak sherry casks (traditional) and American Oak casks that previously held either sherry or bourbon.
G'Vine, a gin made from a grape base derived from the Ugni Blanc grape flower, which is grown in France's Cognac region, is distilled in small batches with a blend of nine botanicals: ginger root, licorice, green cardamom, cassia bark, coriander, juniper berries, cubeb berries, nutmeg and lime. It's a delicate enough gin even your mom will appreciate it, especially once she sees the fruity martinis you can make out of it.
Speaking of Mom, don't leave her out. It's no fun to drink alone, and she had a hard life – she raised you. Get her a bottle of Wines of Rioja, it's very affordable and a versatile enough blend that you won't have to explain to her the whole red with pasta, white with poultry rule. (Which she won't believe you about anyway.)
She may also get a kick out of Cocktails by Jenn, which comes in 750 ml bottles or 100 ml bottle totes designed to look like handbags and complete with individual straws – no glass needed. Signature flavors include Cosmopolitan, Appletini, Lemon Drop, and Blue Lagoon. She may never make it out to happy hour with you, but think of the bonding experience that will ensue.
Update their style
Mom still thinks "comfortable" means wearing something two sizes too big for her, and dad rocks the plaid flannel. They gave you life, so the least you can do is give them some much-needed guidance.
Warmbat Australia is the world's fastest growing brand of Australian sheepskin boots. Their 2007 collection includes tons of unique styles (hey, including one-of-a-kind aboriginal designs) and is the world's first eco-friendly sheepskin boot. Show your mom the coolest way to buck a trend is to develop and expand on it before all the hipsters do. Then tell her what a hipster is.
Wax is for more than just candles
When your mom was younger, bikini waxes were not the trend, and a Brazilian wax would be wax…located in Brazil. She thinks you are a little weird for your bare tendencies -- and you think she's a little barbaric with her hippie-like free-flowing reign.
The solution: Take her for her first waxing. Shobha Salon in NYC – the only place I'll ever go for my brows – is one of few salons that does sugaring down below. Sugaring is a way of easing your mom into the whole hair-ripped-out thing, and it being organic and edible may make her feel warm and fuzzy. Isn't that what treating mom is all about? (PS: There's a guy version if you want to really freak out your Dad. But you may have to get him to try the tequila first.)