Gifts for Empty Nesters

What to get those people whose kids (finally?) moved out

After sending our first two sons off to college, the thought of the last high school senior fleeing the nest had me unnerved. I ran into a mom whose kid was a year ahead of ours in the journey, and after the usual mom-related pleasantries — "Wow! How exciting for them!" — I finally asked, "So... how's life with the empty nest?" She looked me straight in the eyes and with a conspiratorial smile replied, "It's glorious." Gifts for the empty nester should therefore reflect their newfound and glorious independence and freedom. Also, they should not take up much space. The nest is still full of the stuff the chicks left behind.


To celebrate dinner-for-just-two, served whenever your empty nesters feel like it, consider two cozy place settings of unique dishes from Sondahl Pottery. Located in Spirit Lake, Idaho, the lead-free, hand-thrown pottery is showcased outdoors on wooden racks. You can shop as long as you want with no interference. When you've made your choices, add it up — price stickers are on each piece — and then put your payment into an envelope and slide it through the slit in the door. (Yes, that's really how you pay — old school Idaho charm.) $9-$14 for individual bowls and various sizes of plates • Sondahl Pottery • 6326 Maine St., Spirit Lake •


With so much free time, the empty-nesters are ready to enjoy the finer things in life. That means frequent sojourns to the MAC where they can, at last, pause long enough to read all the descriptions. Membership not only includes free admission for the whole year to the museum's regular exhibits and the Campbell House, but also discounted admission to special exhibits, 10 percent off at the museum store, and an invitation to the annual members-only holiday Wassail Party. Dual membership for two adults $65Northwest Museum of Arts and Culture2316 W. First Ave. •


A lot of couples seem to include one person who skis — probably with the kids — and one who doesn't. Now that the kids are gone, it's uncool to leave the non-skier at home alone. So a couple sets of Tubbs FLEX TRK Snowshoe Kits make for a gift that both fits in a closet and carries a low bar for participation. In fact, during this La Niña winter, snowshoeing can probably be done right from the front porch. Perhaps more fun is venturing to one of the zillion local city and state parks within an easy drive. And with the chicks off enjoying their budget-busting college experiences, your giftees will be psyched that there's no need for a pricey lift ticket. $215 per set • Fitness Fanatics • 8919 E. Euclid Ave., Millwood •


Dining out takes on a whole new dimension when picky kids (or voracious eaters) are not part of the restaurant-search calculus. The freedom! Empty nesters are primed to explore a variety of cuisines and gain a little cultural experience on the side. A gift card to Feast World Kitchen will allow your giftees to partake of an authentic dinner in the cuisine of, say, Afghanistan, Eritrea, Rwanda or Syria — the fare is always changing — and still be home in time to catch a cozy British mystery. The nonprofit kitchen's mission is to empower former refugee and immigrant chefs by presenting rotating weekly menus, with more than half of the cost of a meal going directly back to the chef. It's a win-win-win for you, your giftee and the newest members of the Spokane community. Entrees $14-$15, desserts $5 • Feast World Kitchen • 1321 W. Third Ave. •

Spokane Jewish Cultural Film Festival @ Gonzaga University Jepson Center

Through Feb. 5
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About The Author

Anne McGregor

Anne McGregor is a contributor to the Inlander and the editor of InHealth. She is married to Inlander editor/publisher Ted S. McGregor, Jr.