Christmas Gift Ideas for Your Favorite Seniors
“All I want for Christmas is my two front teeth / My two front teeth / See my two front teeth / Gee, if I could only have my two front teeth / Then I could wish you, ‘Merry Christmas.’” — Written by Donald Yetter Gardner in 1944
Mr. Gardner, a music teacher in the Smithtown, New York public school system, wrote the holiday song in just 30 minutes after asking his second grade class what they wanted for Christmas and noticed most of them were missing at least one front tooth.
Fast forward many decades and it’s a good bet that the favorite seniors in your life will get a laugh out of hearing this old song, but instead of two front teeth they will be wishing for gifts that will help them stay independent and safe, are food-centric, keep them comfortable or engage them in an interest or pastime they enjoy.
Gift An Experience: Present your older adult with a gift certificate to a favorite restaurant, hairdresser, or barber, or treat them to a massage or manicure/pedicure. Theatre or concert tickets are an ideal gift for recipients who enjoy cultural activities. Painting classes and DIY workshops might appeal to others on your holiday list. And who wouldn’t like a gift certificate to a home cleaning service?
Foodie Gifts: Older relatives and friends and neighbors always appreciate home baked goodies and other foodstuffs. Deliver a prettily wrapped holiday bread or prepare a basket filled with Christmas cookies, jams and jellies, soups, tomato sauce, and pickles. Specialty stores offer a wide array of gift baskets that can be mailed to recipients, everything from chocolates and maple syrup to cheeses, fruits, meats and more.
Personal Care: Personal care items are a thoughtful gift and always welcome. Gift your recipient with toothpaste or denture tablets, toothbrush, deodorant, shampoo, conditioner, and mouthwash. Adding in a few unexpected items like a pretty washcloth or loofah, a nailbrush, lip balms, body wash or hand soap, a scented candle, and face cream or aftershave makes the gift extra special. Splurge on a foot massager machine.
Keeping Fit: A good pair of walking shoes or boots suitable for winter weather could be the perfect gift for a senior who likes to get outdoors even on blustery days. A pair of walking sticks and snow and ice cleats that affix to the bottom of shoes and boots provide added stability on snowy and icy surfaces. Fitness trackers that are compatible with Android and iPhones help keep seniors active. Anyone who doesn’t like to get outdoors on cold, wintery days, but still likes to keep their bodies moving might enjoy yoga or exercise videos.
Snuggle Up: Everyone wants to be warm and comfortable through the winter months so gifts like slippers, pajamas, robes, and lap blankets are always a hit. Fleecy socks, pants and tops also help keep the cold at bay. A heated neck or back warmer or microwavable gloves add extra comfort.
Stay Independent: Medication dispensers that help seniors organize their pills will keep them on track with taking their meds at the appropriate time. A clock with oversized digital numbers that displays the time as well as the date and day of the week will be appreciated. Calendars with large spaces for jotting down appointments or notes might be the ideal gift for someone on your list. A page magnifier makes reading a book or newspaper easier and more enjoyable. Individuals who have trouble gripping will appreciate a zipper pull, an ergonomic pen, or an electric jar opener.
Stay Safe: Keep your loved one safe by gifting them with grab bars for the shower or tub where it is easy to take a tumble on a wet surface. A shower chair could be the perfect gift for a senior with mobility issues so they can continue bathing without assistance. Easy open door locks and motion detector lights help keep seniors safe as they come and go after dark. A key locator — a small square that is clipped to a key ring — ensures your recipient will always be able to locate their keys.
Other Ideas: Other gifts that an older adult on your holiday list might enjoy include a magazine or Netflix subscription, jigsaw puzzles, Sudoku, crossword puzzles, a reading lamp, a stuffed animal, an indoor plant, bird feeder and seed, favorite teas or coffees, a bottle of wine, flameless candles, coloring books, a step stool, a Roomba, a digital photo frame, audio books or Book of the Month Club.
Gifts for the seniors on your list needn’t be expensive, just thoughtful. Take a few moments to think about what they might like and what you can afford to spend and make a list before you begin shopping. Whatever you gift when it is given with love and from the heart is sure to be appreciated.
Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas and a wonderful holiday season!
Shannon Lynch is the Executive Director of The Morrison Communities, which includes the Morrison Skilled Nursing Facility, Sartwell Place Assisted Living, Morrison Rehabilitation, and Summit by Morrison, a senior living community offering independent living, assisted living, memory care and respite care.
The Morrison Communities is a non-profit 501©(3) charitable community that has been providing quality healthcare to residents of New Hampshire’s North Country since 1903. For more information, go to www.themorrisoncommunities.org.