Figuring out the best Christmas gift ideas for seniors isn’t easy!
After more than 60 Christmases, many seniors have everything they need, and then some.
Even the most enthusiastic collector is getting towards the end of their wishlist by the time they are a senior. Many older folks also downsize and find themselves with less room for the mountains of stuff they’ve accumulated, let alone more new stuff coming in.
This Christmas, think outside the square when it comes to Christmas gift ideas for seniors. Here are some tips and creative ideas to get you started.
Avoid throwaway gifts.
First of all, ‘throwaway gifts’ are proving to be bad for the environment. With landfills filling up around the planet, it’s not the best idea to buy people cheap junk just for the sake of it.
The gifts below are more than another piece of tatt to put on the shelf. They are thoughtful, not only for the recipient but for the planet. Included is an entire alphabet (almost) of ideas for the ‘not so retiring’ types as well as the elderly.
Christmas gift ideas for seniors
A food-based gift is an easy and welcomed option. For older seniors, the daily preparation of meals becomes a little difficult. A gift of dinner made for a week could be truly helpful to someone of progressing years.
A gift hamper is always a good way to show you care. Check out Creative Hampers or Gourmet Basket to see some of the amazing options. You could even prepare something yourself if you are up to it. Show off your culinary skills while making your loved one happy. A customised hamper means you can include their favourite treats.
When it comes to food, if the senior you are buying for is very old, avoid items which are very chewy or tough. Things like toffee or meat sticks are hard on dentures. Very spicy food is a no-no as well, unless your favourite senior has a cast-iron stomach!
You are never too old to learn new skills. When it comes to the older generation, they often have the time on their hands to really get stuck in to a new hobby.
Computer lessons are one of the best Christmas gift ideas for seniors. Modern technology has a way of leaving people behind and this way you can help them stay ahead. Check your local council for listings of lessons and times.
An art class, cooking class or lessons in sewing or woodwork can also be a lovely Christmas present for seniors. These are a great way to help them stay engaged and to show that you care.
An experience often means more than a thing to put on the shelf. There are so many travel options available depending on the age, health and situation of your loved one.
Choose a simple day trip somewhere interesting, plan a transcontinental train trip or arrange a flight to see an international family member.
Keep in mind how mobile your loved one is when planning an experience. Cruises are a good way for older folks to travel and stay safe and secure. Cruise to New Zealand or the South Pacific for a short but fascinating experience.
You don’t necessarily have to travel too far to experience something new. Think about what might be on your loved one’s bucket list. Climbing the Sydney Harbour Bridge (if they’re up to it)? Riding in a helicopter?
The excursion could be as simple as visiting a new town and having a nice day out with you. It’s really up to you and your giftee as to what might work best.
Tickets to an event:
Be it a concert or recital, a play or a movie, it’s great to get out and see something new. Take some time to see if any concerts feature your loved one’s favourite composers or see if there are any shows that they might enjoy.
Just like everyone else, seniors love to go to the movies. A few passes for the local cinema may well be the gift they’ve been looking for.
And don’t forget about sports! Consider a season pass to see their favourite team. Being able to go to every home game is one of the most amazing Christmas present ideas for seniors who do not have such a busy schedule.
Equipment for a new hobby:
If the senior on your list enjoys a hobby but lessons are not necessary, you can still get them set up. A new box of paints and some canvas, a model kit or craft set will help fill the quiet days.
An outing to a coffee shop is a nice way to spend time with friends and family. Pre-pay for your senior’s coffee with a gift card. Check out Hastings Coffee Co for a local option in Port Macquarie.
Many seniors still enjoy the ‘lean back’ factor of a magazine or newspaper. Any topic you care to think of has an associated magazine. A subscription for something that matches their interest is always one of the best Christmas gift ideas for seniors. Even a newspaper subscription is useful to someone who struggles to get out. iSubscribe is one of the best subscription services.
Tablets and smartphones feel overwhelming at first but they open the door to a whole new world for seniors.
Include some time spent showing the recipient how to use their new device. Download ABC iView, SBS on Demand and Netflix (a subscription to this is another gift idea). Set up home screen buttons for the local newspaper and download some game apps. Help your senior adjust the screen for readability. A printed set of instructions for things like checking email or opening a browser tab is a helpful addition.
Take technology a step further by installing Google Nest or Amazon Alexa. Upgrade to Wifi light globes and seniors can say “Alexa, turn the lights off.” These devices share weather and traffic updates as well.
Home help/reorganisation of stuff:
Pay someone else to declutter or come in and help out yourself. Either way, a good cleanout would be helpful to almost anyone and is certainly one of the more unique Christmas present ideas for seniors.
Even something as simple as a gardener or house cleaner makes a huge difference. Book someone to visit every couple of weeks and make life easier for your loved one.
Take the ‘home help’ idea a step further. Personal concierges act like an on-call son or daughter. They help with anything, from arranging a pet sitter to booking flights. A personal concierge will find and book a plumber, set up the new television or just fold the laundry. These services don’t come with the cheapest price tag but if you live far away from a parent, having this person around gives peace of mind.
Speaking of pet sitting…
A pet is only a good idea if it has been requested and if the senior you are buying for has time to care for it. Younger seniors might enjoy having a puppy as it is a great excuse to get out for a walk every day. However, don’t surprise them with this kind of gift! The thought of toilet training, chewed shoes and whining might not be so welcome.
If you still like the pet idea, rescue an older cat or dog which needs a home (and a lot of sleep).
If your loved one is a reader, books are always one of the better Christmas gift ideas for seniors. A Kindle or tablet is also a great way to help them fill quiet afternoons. These devices also have options to enlarge print, super useful to those who might not see so well anymore. Check out the latest best sellers at your local bookstore or online. Kindles can be found at Amazon, as can tablets of all kinds. There is even ‘Kindle Unlimited’, which is like the Netflix of books. It offers access to unlimited titles for a set monthly price.
Most folks who remember the times before digital photography have a heap of old photos lying around. Some of these photos will always be precious but might not be in the best condition. If your loved one has some beloved but weathered images, find ways to scan them to digital formats or restore them to their former glory.
Urban Eye is listed as offering photo restoration in Port Macquarie.
A nice new album to store and organise old photos is one of the easier Christmas present ideas for seniors who need ways to get organised. Albums are found online or at stores like K-Mart and Harvey Norman, as well as any photography store.
Another idea is to arrange a collection of family photographs into a photo book. Involve your children and create a special gift for Nan or Pop.
A mattress topper:
Some elderly folk spend much of their time in bed out of necessity. Find a way to make their bed as comfortable as you can.
A mattress topper can help to make their bed softer and more comfortable for spending prolonged periods in. Home Muse Australia recommended the MiniJumbuck Sleep Therapy Wool Mattress Topper, available at Adairs, as the best of 2019.
An annual pass:
Many venues offer membership and annual passes. Consider your local botanical gardens, Zoo or even a local club. Think about what your loved one likes to do and how mobile they are and have a scout around.
Regular flower delivery:
Nothing livens up a house like fresh flowers. For someone who finds it difficult to get out and about very much, the touch of colour and scent around the home can be a godsend. Sarah’s Flowers and Roses Only (don’t be fooled, they do all sorts of flowers, including stunning natives) are two florists who will deliver. Just make sure the recipient doesn’t have any allergies or you might be serving up some unwanted sneezes!
Personalised photo calendar:
Everyone can use a calendar to help keep on top of things. Why not a personalised one?
Not only can you give them a calendar with pictures of their loved ones, but you can also make one with important dates to them pre-marked! Save your friend or family member the bother of writing in everyone’s birthdays and anniversaries by having all these dates written in the calendar already. You can create one yourself if you have the tech skills or try either Optimal Print or Vistaprint for one of the most personal Christmas present ideas for seniors.
Jigsaw and puzzle books:
Sudoku, crosswords and jigsaws puzzles are a way to keep older minds active. These activities are old favourites but can be enjoyed by almost anyone. The paper/cardboard nature of a gift like this means it is not damaging to the planet.
‘Oldies’ tend to use CDs, although some may be up to date with Spotify. Create a playlist of songs from their favourite era. Burn a CD or share it with them for a simple and cost-effective gift. Consider crooners like Frank Sinatra, world-renowned tenors or classic jazz singers.
Older seniors sometimes find everyday items a challenge. Christmas gifts like touch lamps, jar openers or gardening stools make life easier. Chat to your senior about what they do each day to get an idea of what to buy.
Gardening is a favourite past-time for many older people. Even those who only have a small outdoor area will enjoy growing herbs. Basil, mint, continental parsley and rosemary are easy to grow in small pots.
Time with you:
Most of the seniors in our lives are family, and often what they most want is to spend time with you, almost no matter what. Why not make it a regular occasion. This Christmas, gift your favourite seniors a fancy lunch at Aqua restaurant. Enjoy top quality food, outstanding service and a lovely meal together.