Happy holidays! Does your shopping list have you stumped? Here are a few gift ideas that might delight your friendly neighborhood music parent. If you’d like to drop a hint or six, leave this blog post open where your loved ones will happen across it. Or if your family is like mine, print it out, leave it on the toilet seat, highlight it and hope for the best.

gift cardA music parent sure spends a lot of their time in the car. I’ll bet they could use a fill-up. AMPassador Laura Lamere, founder of Pavoh.org, suggests a gift card for gas, one for their favorite drive-thru coffee shop, and maybe even one for a massage or manicure for the stressed out music mom chauffeur!


oxo mugIf coffee isn’t your thing, how about a mug of hot chocolate? But not just ANY mug, with ANY hot chocolate. My favorite mug is the spill proof OXO LiquiSeal Travel Mug. We have four of them at our house, one for each member of our family. Fill it with Hint of Mint Hot Chocolate from Penzey’s, and there’s no better way to spend a cold winter evening, or Christmas morning opening the gifts under the tree.

craniumFamily game night in front of the fire is a great time to break out the hot chocolate. One of our favorite games is Cranium. It challenges players’ brains in four different ways, so even if you can’t keep up with your child’s musical talent, you can still vanquish them using words, sculpting clay, or trivia and reasoning.

band-nerdsWouldn’t it be nice to curl up with a good book or two during the holiday break? Check out DJ Corchin’s latest: Band Nerds: Poetry from the 13th Chair Trombone Player and The Marching Band Nerds Handbook: Rules from the 13th Chair Trombone Player. 

diy headphonesIf you’re the DIY type, you might like this project to liven up their boring earbuds with some color. You only need three things: Headphones, embroidery floss, and scissors. This would be a great project for kids to work on to keep them busy while you continue holiday preparations.

etymotic amp_earplugsWish your kids didn’t have to practice quite so loudly? Yeah, me too. (Especially recorder!) Check out these earplugs from Etymotic. They’ll protect your ears so that you can encourage your child to practice longer. And as an AMP member, you can now get these at at 25% discount: only $9.75 per pair. For that price, you can pick up a pair for each member of your family. They may even come in handy on that cross-country car trip to Grandma’s!

Or you can always stash them in your emergency marching season bag! Beth Potter is an AMPassador and Co-president of the Lafayette Band Assocation in Lexington, Kentucky. She suggests creating a “gift bag” from a small cooler that includes a rain poncho, small umbrellas, a sewing kit, sunscreen, bug spray, a small bottle of over-the-counter medications (i.e., Tylenol or Motrin, Pepto-Bismol, Immodium, Neosporin), band aids, individually wrapped wipes, Tide stain stick, a small bag of Life Savers, and of course, batteries for the camera!

instacanvasSpeaking of shutterbugs, if you or your kids can’t go a day without Instagram, this next idea might be for you. Get your photos offline and onto your walls using Instacanvas! It allows you to buy not only your own photos, but other Instagrammers’, as well. And people can buy your photos! That great shot from marching band season? Share it on canvas, as a greeting card, an iPhone case,  or in a frame. If it’s good enough that your whole band will want a copy, share the link with them, and donate the 20% commission back to your band program.

Give the gift of music! Obvious? Maybe. But consider CDs or videos of their student’s concerts. Find out their favorite artists or Broadway show and pick up tickets to a live concert or performance. Bonus points if you agree to sit through it with them! Hoping you won’t have to hear it? That’s okay. Throw in the CD or gift them the music on iTunes.

Maria Dripps-Paulson, AMPassador and executive director of the Kaneland Fine Arts Festival, shares a fabulous idea from a Christmas past: “One year this musician gave her father an instrument so they could play Tuba Christmas and more together, which for awhile, anyway, became a sweet tradition with wonderful memories….”

And isn’t that what it’s all about?

What did I miss? Let me know what you’d add to this holiday wish list. And watch for our Very-Last-Minute gift guide later this week!