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Five Thoughtful Gift Ideas For the Elderly

This year, Covid-19 will be dictating how we celebrate the holidays, and for many of us, that means no traditional family gatherings. Sadly, the gift of time is often what’s most appreciated by an elderly loved one, but it may be months before you can safely be in the same room with them again. So if you can’t spend time with them, spend some extra time for them by adding a personal touch to their gift as a way to let them know just how much you care. Here are five great gift ideas to show how much you care.

Custom Flower Arrangement

A holiday flower arrangement is a big hit with nearly anyone. But instead of going online and ordering from a website’s standard offerings, send something that shows you put some real thought into who they are and what they like. Here are some ideas for a personal touch.

No one ever gets tired of their favorite flower—the same goes for a favorite color! If you don’t know their favorites, find out by bringing it up casually in conversation or by asking someone who would know. There are no rules anymore about “traditional” holiday colors, so the creative possibilities are endless.

The arrangement could have a sentimental theme. Do you know what flowers your grandmother carried in her wedding bouquet? What about the flower your grandfather pinned to his lapel? There’s a good chance those flowers will have been white, which will be easy to incorporate into a holiday arrangement. But again, a holiday arrangement can be beautiful in any color.

Flowers are also symbolic. For example, every state has at least one official flower. Not every flower will be available, but some will be plentiful. Two of Oklahoma’s state flowers are a red rose and mistletoe. Ohio’s is a red carnation. Florists have those in abundance during the holidays. If you are sending your gift long-distance, you could include your state’s flower in the arrangement. The card could read, “Sending you the official state flower of (your state) along with our best wishes for a happy holiday.”

The key to success here is to find a florist that delivers to your loved one’s address and to call their local phone number. That way you’ll communicate directly with the folks who will be putting the actual arrangement together. Tell them about the unique twist to your gift, and they’ll use their artistry to make it happen.

Favorite or Homemade Food

Who doesn’t have a long list of favorite foods? From wine to cheese to sweets, there’s something for everyone. Give a gift basket of the very best of what they love—things that they wouldn’t typically buy for themselves on a regular basis. If you live close to your loved one, skip the online ordering and add your personal touch by creating a basket yourself.

You can also show you care by taking the time to prepare something homemade. Baked goods, of course, are one of the best ways to celebrate the holidays. But we’ve just scratched the surface with cake and cookies. Do you have a great recipe for spaghetti sauce, chili, or soup? Make a full batch, and divide it into small plastic containers for the freezer. Your loved one can savor this comfort food for weeks to come. Many cookie recipes are also ideal for freezing.

Calendar of Family Photos

Everyone needs a wall calendar, and out of all the themes to choose from, there’s only one that can’t be store-bought: your loved one’s memories. It’s quick and easy to pull together some digital photos to create a personalized calendar online, and no grandparent has too many pictures of their grandchildren. But don’t forget about the print snapshots that have been sitting in a shoebox for a few decades. Who doesn’t have a stack of those? It takes extra time and effort to go through them, and also to scan what you’ve chosen. But you’ll have a gift that’s extra special—and it will keep on giving every time another month goes by. Chances are you have enough photos for several years of calendars, so while you’re at it, make one for 2022 and 2023. After all, not having to come up with a gift idea for a couple of years is a gift of time you’ll give yourself.

New Magazine Subscriptions

There’s something for everyone, whether it’s history, sports, news, puzzles, crafts, spirituality, science, nature, architecture, literary journals, or art. And that’s just the short list. If it’s out there, there’s a magazine for it. Do a little online research and see what’s available in your loved one’s areas of interest. There are probably a handful of titles they’ve never heard of but would enjoy reading. This is another gift that keeps on giving all year long. If your loved one is tech savvy, a digital subscription along with a the latest tablet may be just the thing.

Home Decor

If you’re skilled at sewing, knitting, drawing, painting or woodworking, there’s an endless supply out there of patterns and ideas. Even if you’re not crafty, kits for all levels of skill are available for many things like ornaments, wreaths, t-shirts, jewelry, and scrapbooks to name a few. If you have young children or grandchildren, have them be the creators (with your guidance, of course). They will enjoy bearing a gift they made themselves every bit as much as your loved one will appreciate receiving it.

Whatever you choose, remember that the only person who can give the gift of your time and your attention is you. Presents that include a personal touch are actually two gifts in one: there’s the gift itself, and there’s the gesture of your thoughtfulness as well, both of which will tell your loved one just how much you care.

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