“I Give to You, and You Give To Me”

With apologies to Doris Day who made the words to this song famous, I see them as the perfect refrain for this time of year.

Exchanging gifts is customary at Christmas and Hanukkah, but what is appropriate for seniors is quite different from the gifts we choose for younger friends and family.

Gift ideas for seniors and boomers

I love to give my friends presents and of course I love to receive them too, but I have a rule for my friends: gifts should be eatable, put in the bath, put in a vase, readable, or best of all; please take me out for lunch. In other words, I have a lot of things and I don’t need more. Pay close attention to your senior friends to see what their “rules” might be.

Typical Gifts

Of course, candy, flowers, scarves, perfume, soap, and slippers seem to be common gifts for senior women. While men get ties, socks, slippers, candy or scarves. There is nothing wrong with these gifts, but they may not be very thrilling, healthy, or necessary and they may not be worn. Do a bit of investigative work ahead of time to see if these items would be appreciated.

At this time of year people are open to discussing what gifts they need to buy so it is a perfect time to get their views on what they need or think is appropriate. They may even confess about the dud gifts that they have received in the past.

Interesting and Unusual Gifts

Did you know that you can order custom made stamps from Canada Post (look on their website) with a person’s picture, pet, or garden on them - anything really. Now that is exclusive!

If you have a common hobby or cultural interest with a friend, you can take them to see a play, a musical concert, a sporting event, or a garden show.  There are dinner theatres such as Famous People Players black light theatre in Toronto. Present them with a card that includes an invitation with some dates and times of the event you would like to take them to. Don’t buy the tickets and surprise them - they may already have plans for the date of the event.

If a friend or relative has expressed an interest in learning a language, taking yoga, or some other subject, give them a card with details about a class that you will pay for.

If you own a holiday home, invite them to visit you for a specified month and length of stay. Or, if they don’t cook, and you do, offer to cook a meal for a few friends at their place. If you drive and they don’t, offer to take them out to see the Christmas lights or to go to tea in the country or at a hotel.

Gift Cards

Of course there are the usual music, book, liquor, movies, and store gift cards in various denominations, but there are also gift cards for spas, massages, pedicures, museum shops, and ones for use in any store in their favourite mall.

Some community centres also have gift vouchers to be used for swimming, yoga, or fitness classes. The seniors’ centre near me has gift cards in any amount that can be used for classes offered by the city at the centre, in the handicraft gift boutique, the dining room, or at any city facility, and you can even use them to help pay your taxes. Car washes and restaurants have gift vouchers too.

Just make sure that the vouchers or cards do not have an expiry date or that the expiry date is far off.

Hope these ideas are helpful! Have a happy festive season, and happy shopping!

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What types of gifts do you think are ideal for the baby boomers or seniors in your life? Share your thoughts in the Comments section below.

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