With 2020 being such a wild year and with the holidays right around the corner, you might be researching gift ideas, if you’re not already done, you brilliant overachievers. For those of you still looking, I’ve compiled a list of the ten best gifts for older parents. Buying gifts for mom and dad and other older folks can often be the hardest. What do you give the people who most likely have everything they need at this point in their lives?
Living with an older person is super helpful when it comes to gift ideas for seniors. I can see the items my mother uses the most and the ones she might still need, and I thought I’d share a few of those with you here.
1. Warm Things- Wraps, Shawls, Throws. I think it’s safe to say that most older folks are cold more often than not. My mom is always cold. It can be 100 degrees outside, and she’s shivering in the house. My sister-in-law recently gave this Demdaco wrap to Mom for her birthday, and it’s perfect. It’s lightweight and serves as a wrap/blanket she can wear around the house or on the couch. It even has a pocket.
2. Lighted Magnifying Mirrors. I’m embarrassed to admit this, but this is on my own wish list this year. Anyone over 40, the age when all eyes join forces and decide to make our lives progressively fuzzier, will appreciate the ability to see the eyebrow gardens that grow overnight or the other imposters on our face that we’re perfectly fine not knowing about until we feel them one day. I recommend this one.
3. Holiday Décor. I know, I know. Who needs another nutcracker? However, nutcrackers and gingerbread boys and singing Santas make most people happy, especially if they have a favorite holiday icon. And while this idea goes against my typical rule of not giving “stuff” as presents, especially to adults, holiday “stuff” is whimsical and fun, and we all need a bit more whimsy these days. Just keep the stuff small and manageable and preferably useful- like this Santa spoon rest set. A 600lb. full-size sleigh with 9 pre-lit options that awakens your own inner child while browsing Home Depot is not what I have in mind here.
4. The Candy Cottage. Speaking of holidays and whimsy, if your parents are also active grandparents or find themselves entertaining kiddos during non-COVID times, this little jewel is a lifesaver. I’ve personally gifted these to all my friends with kids. Instead of making gingerbread houses from scratch (who does that anymore, anyway?) or buying the kits with crummy candy, invest less than $30 for your new best friend, the Candy Cottage. Simply smother this reusable, plastic cottage in frosting and candy (or whatever you have in the pantry). Once you’ve successfully entertained the children for hours, just wash the pieces with soap and water and store it. The house is generic and designed to be used for any occasion. Check it out here.
5. Large-Print Bibles. If your loved ones are Bible readers, a large print Bible is one of the best gifts for older parents you can give. My mom received one of these years ago, and while she has a collection of beautiful Bibles, each with their own merits, the large print version is well-worn and read daily. The good book has nearly 800,000 words and most publishers typically cram them into a normal-sized paperback. However, as our old eyes turn on us, they can make reading the book of Ezekiel even more challenging than it already is. I recommend this one.
6. Lap Desks. I’m using one of these right now, which means three things: it’s useful, affordable, and I’m old because I’m realizing I either own or need all of the things in this article. Lap desks are great. Mom uses hers when she reads her big Bible, and it helps raise the book up a bit to ease neck strain. It’s also flocked on the bottom and adds some warmth. (See section above about her always being cold.) Seriously, this a cheap and useful item for anyone. My laptop loves it. Mom and I both have this one.
7. 4 Things Tote. I absolutely love this item! This small, charitable company, The Shop Forward, offers a simple, customizable tote bag. You’re allowed four lines to list four of your favorite things. For example, if I were gifting one to Mom, I might list the following:
Green Tea Lattes.
List your recipients four favorite grandkids, a cocktail, a city, a movie, whatever floats their boat. The options are endless here. Plus, it’s under $50. You can give them a gift certificate and let them choose their own four favorite things, but I recommend doing the work for them and showing you recognize what’s important to them. Here’s where you buy them.
8. A bright lamp. Years ago, my dad bought a super-bright lamp for my mom. She’s always worked on sewing crafts requiring a lot of detail work, some of it very small, such as needlepoint and embroidery. This lamp stands on the floor and hovers over you as you work, providing more light than one needs normally. It’s perfect for reading too, of course. Here’s the floor model, and here’s a good reading lamp to clip to their bed in case they need a bright light there, as well.
9. Aqua Love Notes Waterproof Notepad. This clever company markets this waterproof notepad to couples who want to leave sappy love notes for each other in the shower. While I’m not sharing a shower with anyone, I am the proud owner of this item, too. It seems I’m always thinking my best thoughts when I’m trapped in the shower covered in shampoo and can’t write them down. Now, I’m able to jot down my thoughts before they’re gone forever. Besides the fact the suction cups didn’t work on the tile in my shower and I had to engineer it using shower-made Command hooks and a rubber band, the pad and pencils work so well- even drenched in water. I’ve removed full, soaking wet sheets before, and once they dry, they’re like any other piece of paper lying around. This gift is brilliant, cheap, and so very useful for remembering those shower thoughts. My entire family, not just Mom, might be finding these in their stockings this year. This is the one I have and love.
10. NixPlay Smart Frame. As we age, staying connected becomes even more important than glasses. And like everyone else, I am recommending technology to help you do so. Don’t worry, there’s no Zoom involvement here, I promise. Instead, this classy little 10.1” smart frame stands in for you when you’re busy herding kids to ballet and Chick-fil-a and aren’t able to Facetime or talk with your parents. While you’re waiting in line for your nuggets, simply email photos and videos of your tiny dancers to a private email address, immediately updating the frame sitting on your parent’s kitchen counter. You can easily and safely keep them in the loop in real-time as you live your best life in the drive-thru. These smart frames have evolved as much as we have this year. This is the one I recommend.
I hope these ideas help relieve the stress of finding gifts for mom and dad this year. If for some reason, none of the gifts above are right for your situation or just aren’t in the budget this year, remember that kinds words and actions cost nothing. Happy holidays and happy shopping!
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