This dilemma occurs every year at the holidays when it’s time to start Christmas shopping. What to get for the parents and grandparents who have everything? Gift certificates can seem so impersonal and a gift that is from the heart and appreciated is hard to find.
My folks are always saying, “We don’t need a thing.” But it’s always nice to have something to open on Christmas morning that is thoughtful. I am not alone. In chatting with my friends, we are all in the same boat. Most folks who are senior citizens appreciate their golden years and are enjoying their lives in their own way. Here are a few ideas from the heart that are perfect for that hard to get person.
- Tickets to a show and dinner. Try to figure out if there is a restaurant they have been dying to dine at. Print off the menus at home and present them with copies and a gift certificate to go with it. That way they have something to open that is not just a gift certificate. And while you’re at it, pick up two movie or show passes for a screening to the latest release. Think outside the box when giving a gift certificate.
- Make a calendar or photo book on Shutterfly, Winkflash, Snapfish or any of the many photo websites. Upload the year’s favorite family pictures and be sure to highlight the memorable dates with the corresponding photo. I created a recipe book for my folks one year that had personal family photos from our yearly trips to the Outer Banks.
- Check out your local garden stores for original Christmas ornaments. Check out Etsy too where you can find plenty of craftsmen and artists who can create or paint a special one of your childhood home or special occasion.
- Items from their favorite sports teams can include tickets to the game, clothing and other accessories. In our family, we follow the Washington Redskins, Cincinnati Bengals, Cincinnati Reds and the Ohio State Buckeyes. Go Bucks!
- Food is another option. Most folks won’t spend the money to buy specialty food items for themselves but won’t turn down a generous gift of citrus, steaks, wine, coffee…think outside the box. I gift my parents a box of Cara Cara oranges that arrive in January. It arrives at the perfect time and it's a sweet and healthy treat during the winter doldrums. The options are endless.
- Grandparents also cherish time with family. Gifts of time when the family can be together are priceless. Sunday dinners once a month at home are cherished by seniors. It allows special quality time they may not necessarily ask for.
- Spend the money for a professional photographer to capture the entire family and gift a portrait to your parents. Ask your friends for recommendations. Trust me they will love it.
- Does your senior believe in a worthy cause? Donate in their name for the holidays.
- Research the family tree on Ancestry and purchase a yearly subscription so they can discover more about their past. I did this one year for my in laws and we learned that in addition to tracing the family tree back to the Mayflower, we could trace it back to two others on the Mayflower. We also found out we could trace the family line back to Franklin D. Roosevelt. How cool is that?
- Get that special senior on your list a membership to the local recreation center or senior center to allow them access to classes to learn computers, hobbies and exercise. A few years back, my sisters and I purchased several work out sessions with a personal trainer for Mom.
- What does the person on your list enjoy reading. Amazon and Barnes and Noble are great resources for books, magazines and music. They are great places to purchase a mobile reading device too such as the Kindle or iPad. You are never to old to learn something new.