The senior members of our families can add so much to our holiday celebrations! Bob and I feel blessed to have all four of our parents still with us, and including them in our holidays is really important to us! It makes it richer for everyone! Our twenty-something kids feel blessed to have their grandparents involved in their lives and the relationships they have with them are so meaningful. Bob and I aren’t grandparents yet, but I know from hearing from you all that the grandparent/grandchild relationship is so precious to you as well.
Today, I’m sharing five ways that you can include the most senior members of your family in your holiday festivities. These ideas will make the holidays more meaningful for everyone! I’m also sharing ideas form the Gifts for Seniors category of the Empty Nest Blessed Gift Guide. Let’s jump right in, okay?
1. Help Them With Gifts
Whether they need a lift to the mall, or they need your help with the actual purchasing, taking the time to help a senior with gifts, can be a real blessing to them. A few years ago, Bob’s bachelor uncle had open heart surgery near the holidays. He had always taken such pleasure and pride in gift giving and receiving, and he wasn’t able to order gifts the way he always had. I grabbed my laptop, went up to his hospital room, and we did it together! It brought him so much joy to be able to continue with this tradition, even though he wasn’t in top physical condition. We ordered everything gift wrapped and even delivered to the right place.
My kids all make wish lists on Amazon, and this is so helpful to their grandparents. In fact, they get such a kick out of some of the things my kids put on their wish lists, it’s become a real source of amusement and joy! (A Lego building kit of the Taj Mahal! A boxed set of all three of the Toy Story movies! A beard and mustache trimming kit!) Just seeing their wish lists makes their grandparents feel like they know them better.
2. Ask For Their Input
Whether it’s sharing a cherished family recipe, or even asking their advice on the menu and holiday schedule, the senior adult members of your family will appreciate that their opinions and advice matter to you. You want to make the holidays joyous for everyone, regardless of their level of ability. You can do this by asking for their thoughts on the celebration.
3. Start New Traditions That They’ll Enjoy
I’ve shared our family tradition of playing the game LCR at all of our family gatherings. About two years ago, we decided to put a new twist on the game by replacing the chips provided with $1 bills, so everyone starts the game with three $1 bills instead of the three chips provided. (Bob and I provide the $1 bills.) It’s truly fun for the whole family. Last year at Christmas, my mother-in-law won, and she split her winnings amongst the grandkids! We could not believe it!!! (This year, she won at Thanksgiving and kept every penny!) In my How to Have Healthier, Happier Holidays, (What can I say, I’m a sucker for alliteration! Hahaha!) I told you about our tradition of driving through the nearby cul-de-sac that is decorated in the Twelve Days of Christmas and singing at the top of our lungs! We started that tradition with an elderly family member who is no longer with us, and we still do it in his memory. We know he would love it that we’ve continued the tradition.
Some people include the seniors in their families in activities like baking, cookie decorating, or crafts, and even seniors with mobility or memory issues really enjoy those activities. If your senior is unable to leave home or an assisted care facility, take the activity to them. If your loved one lives in an assisted living community, check with the staff to see if they are hosting any holiday activities that would allow you to participate.
4. Ask for Their Help
If your dad used to carve the holiday ham, but it’s someone else’s job now, ask your dad to assist and give advice and direction. Bob’s dad has some memory issues, but this year on Thanksgiving he provided excellent input to my husband as he was carving the turkey!
5. Ask Them to Share Memories
Even seniors with memory issues may remember things from their childhoods that they can share. Ask them about the Christmas traditions they remember from their early years, or what their favorite gifts were when they were growing up. Last year we asked the grandparents to share some of the biggest changes they’ve seen in the world over their lifetimes. My twenty-something kids sat enraptured as their grandparents talked about everything from the first man on the moon, to the invention of the television, on down to their amazement over the iPhone! It made the seniors feel important and gave the grandkids a new perspective to consider. Reminiscing can be enjoyable for everyone and a valuable way of sharing memories and family history with younger generations.
GIFT IDEAS FOR SENIORS
The collage below is clickable for more information and represents only a TINY portion of what’s in the Empty Nest Blessed Gifts for Seniors section of the Gift Guide!
Plush Throw | Mason Jar Indoor Herb Garden | Echo Show | Tile | Nixplay Digital Photo Frame | Grandpa, Do You Remember When? Keepsake Journal | Katana Safety Arc | Fun Pretzel Earrings | Cozy Caftan | Moon Candles | Digital Photo Keychain | Grow-a-Frog Kit | Ugg Moccasin Slippers | Window Suction Bird Feeder | Cell Phone Lanyard
1. Plush Throw – This yummy throw was one of Nordstrom‘s top sellers in the Anniversary Sale this year, and they brought it back for the holidays! It comes in 18 colors to match any decor and is under $30! Click through to see the color options!
2. Mason Jar Indoor Herb Garden – I adore these vintage-inspired planters that use a passive hydroponic system to take the guesswork out of growing your own herbs. Seeds options are included and each jar is sold individually. Just plant the seeds of your choice, add water in the reservoir, and place the jar in a sunny window.
3. Echo Show – This would be a great gift for a tech-savvy senior! Make video calls to anyone with Skype, the Alexa app, an Echo Spot, or Echo Show. See weather forecasts, calendars, to-do lists, and playlists. Watch live TV and sports with a Hulu subscription, and movies and shows from Prime Video. In the kitchen, watch recipe videos, set timers, and add items to your shopping list.
4. Tile – Attach to anything that tends to go missing! To find a missing phone, just double tap the button on the Tile. You can immediately see it on a map, and the phone will begin to ring – even on silent! Attach to keys, remote controls, or just about anything!
5. Nixplay Digital Photo Frame – Bring the seniors in your family into all of your activities with this cool digital frame. Capture moments and display them instantly using the Nixplay App, or email them directly to the photo frame.
6. Grandpa, Do You Remember When? – This keepsake journal, and its companion Grandma, Do You Remember When? are full of guided questions (with lots of room for responses) that will have your parents recording their own personal history and hopes for the next generation. My parents received these as a gift last Christmas and every time I go to visit them, we sit down for an hour or so and I ask them the questions and record their answers. It’s fun for them, eye-opening for me (!), and I love that their memories and hopes for their grandkids are being recorded for future generations of our family. This is probably my favorite gift on the Gifts for Seniors section of my Gift Guide!
7. Katana Safety Arc – This ultra-slim personal security system attaches to a smartphone and features a panic button, silent alarm panic button, GPS tracker, and a way to contact local law enforcement. (Subscription required for 24/7 Response Center.) Click through to see all ten color options.
8. Fun Pretzel Earrings – Every year I try to give my mom some super-fun earrings (to match her fun personality!). She says they’re a huge hit at the hair salon! These are from Kate Spade, but this shop and this shop on Etsy are also good sources. Avocado earrings, anyone?!!!
10. Moon Candles – When I asked my mom what she wanted for Christmas, she asked for candles with no flames! These weatherproof outdoor/indoor color changing candles work with a remote control or timer.
11. Digital Photo Keychain – This little beauty has a 1.4″ LCD color screen and a rechargeable 3-hour battery for up to three hours of viewing. Load it with pictures of the grandkids!
12. Grow-a-Frog Kit – Last year my parents got the Grow-a-Butterfly Kit and they are still talking about it! This kit includes a coupon code. Once redeemed, the manufacturer will ship the aquarium and tadpole directly to your senior. (Makes a fun and unique gift for younger grandkids, college, or young adult kids too!)
13. Ugg Moccasin Slippers – These water-resistant slippers would make a cozy, classy gift for your mom or mother-in-law. They come in seven color choices. If you prefer a slip-on option, try these. Looking for slippers for the senior men in your family? Looking for slippers for a senior man? I like these because they can be worn as slip-ons or with the heel up for easy on and off.
14. Window Suction Bird Feeder – At under $25, and with over 3660 five-star reviews on Amazon, this bird feeder is a hit! It’s made from high transparency, see-through acrylic, with drain holes and a removable tray for easy cleaning. It comes with three large suction cups for window attachment and the company even guarantees it will never fall down or they’ll provide a full refund.
15. Cell Phone Lanyard – This gift idea came about because my mother-in-law asked me to figure out a way to keep up with her phone better. She kept leaving it in another room and she knew for safety reasons it would be better if she was able to keep it with her. This one comes in multiple colors options and is less than $10.
Bonus: If your parents love to ready, be sure to check out the huge selection of large print books on Amazon! There’s also a great selection of large print puzzle books, including word search, crossword puzzles, sudoku, and more.
The sure to click through all of my gift ideas in the Gift for Seniors section of the Empty Nest Blessed Holiday Gift Guide! There’s lots of good stuff there that I didn’t include here, including things like a heated and illuminated toilet seat, Grandchildren birthstone necklaces, and more!
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