As we all get caught up in the throes of holiday shopping, it’s important to remember the gifts that are the most meaningful. You probably don’t remember what you got for Hanukah or Christmas last year, because they were just “things”. It may have been the latest high tech gadget or even some bling or a bauble. Chances are by this time it’s out-of-date or in the Goodwill bag you have been meaning to donate.
Buying gifts for seniors can be challenging, since they usually have everything they need, and the last thing they want is more clutter. So here are some great ideas that will mean more to them than anything money can buy– and at it will cost you is your time and a little sweat equity!
- Home videos. Last year we put together a collection for my parents of videos from when we were kids to present date and put them all on a CD. Not only did we have a lot of laughs (the changing fashions and hairdos) but they played it over and over again for their friends. And the initial videos didn’t even have sound (my kids don’t remember those way back times).
- Cooking. Think about making an assortment of cookies and fudge and put them in holiday tins. Your parents can give them as gifts to friends or family or for people who stop by over the holidays. Or freeze numerous dinners for them so all they have to do is re-heat them. It beats TV dinners or cereal!
- Home repairs. Because most seniors can’t see as well as they used to, their house may need some home repairs. Consider a fresh paint job, changing the batteries in their smoke alarm, washing their windows and replacing all the light bulbs. Last year I put lipstick on and kissed the window by their breakfast nook. I told my Mom to remember every morning while she was having her first cup of coffee how much I loved her! Not handy around the house? Hire them a handyman! Or have a professional cleaning crew come in and give them a much needed housecleaning break.
- Car. When was the last time your parents washed their car or had their oil changed and their car serviced? Are their tires in good shape? Is their gas tank full? Fill er up!
- Holiday decorations. Putting up holiday decorations is a chore, even if you’re young. Put lights on the exterior of the house, or bring in a fresh Xmas tree with all the trimmings.
- Reading. Many parents have a hard time seeing to read the fine print in books. Consider getting them some books on tape and sit down with them and listen to them.
- Act as a chauffeur. Drive them around the neighborhood to see the fancy displays of lights. Most local newspapers have a list of the neighborhood houses with the best decorations.
- Send out holiday cards. My dad loves to receive holidays cards, but his hands hurt too much to address and write them. Do it for him and hang the cards he receives all over his door.
The main thing is to have fun and use your imagination. Remember that getting older and having all the kids gone can be heaven, but it can be lonely and isolating as well. The best give is YOU!