25 Days of Christmas | Gift Ideas for Older Adults

by Beth Montgomery on December 21, 2012

in Holidays

Thanks to Amy Magan of The 4th Frog Blog for this 25 Days of Christmas post.

It happens almost every year. I make my list, check it twice. Shop the sales and think I’m finished. Then I look down at the list and see that I’ve yet to cross Grandma and Grandpa off my list.

Gift-giving for older adults can be tough. Many times they are downsizing and don’t want (or need) any more “stuff.” DVDs and tech gadgets may not be high on their list (though the numbers of Baby Boomers and older who use Facebook/social media continues to grow every year).

So what do you give an older adult for Christmas? Here are a few ideas that are low on cost and high on love and practicality:

1. Return address labels and stamps. While the rest of us may be content to wish each other Happy Birthday via Facebook, my grandma sent real cards to each of her 30+ grandchildren. To make the task easier, I printed up some return address labels for her with seasonal designs on them and gave them with a book of stamps. She was thrilled and I looked forward to another card arriving in my mailbox.

2. Freezer meals. I don’t know about you, but when I reach my 60’s, I don’t intend to cook much. I will, however, still need to eat. The older adults in your life are sure to appreciate pre-made meals that they can pull out of the freezer and pop into the oven or crockpot and enjoy without really having to cook. Bonus: Make extras for your family as you do the assembly and voila! A gift for yourself, too.

3. Family movie night. This is a gift of time more than anything. Choose a movie from your home collection or maybe a classic from the library and bring it, along with favorite snacks, to your loved one’s home. You’ll be there to handle any technical issues that may come up with the DVD player and you’ll all have fun kicking back and spending some time together.

4. Photos with a twist. Most older adults love to receive pictures of their children and grandchildren. But year after year of face-forward, posed pictures can get to be, well, kind of…yawn…Why not gather up the kids and give instructions for silly faces, off the wall poses and other unexpected photo compositions? Or print a few snapshots from your phone (if the quality is high enough) that tells your loved one something about the personality and interests the person in the picture.

5. The gift of warmth. Maybe you’re a handy knitter. Scarves, hats and socks are great gifts for older adults and all the more appreciated when they are handmade. No-sew lap blankets are easy to make, inexpensive if you can hit the sales, and so useful to an older adult who is often cold.

What other inexpensive, DIY ideas do you have for gift giving for older adults?

The 4th Frog Blog

About the Author: Amy Magan is the 4th Frog, not a super hero or even an amphibian. Just a working mom with things to say and a desire to say them in a way that makes people glad they took a few minutes to read. By day she works for the University of Indianapolis Center for Aging & Community, which is how she knows a little something about older adults.

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