Often for elders, the most cherished gifts go beyond material possessions, because let’s face it, there are only so many robes and slippers one person can have! We have rounded up some creative ideas for the holiday season, so instead of a box of this or that, we’re focusing on experiences and connections this year!

Gifts of Time and Presence:

  • An afternoon of reminiscing: Pull out old photos and albums, and spend quality time together sharing memories and stories. Maybe even video or record some of those stories!
  • Create a personalized “coupon book” filled with offers for activities they enjoy: Share a coffee date, a walk in the park, or a game night together.
  • Offer your tech expertise: Help them navigate the digital world, set up new devices, or teach them online skills.
  • Plan a special outing: Make it a date and take them to a concert, museum exhibit, or show they’d enjoy.

Gifts that Spark Creativity and Connection:

  • Enroll them in a class or workshop: Explore their interests in art, music, cooking, or anything they’ve always wanted to learn.
  • Provide tools for creative expression: Give them a journal, art supplies, or a musical instrument to explore their artistic side.
  • Start a family book club: Choose a book to read together and discuss over regular meetings, even if it is on Zoom or on the phone.

Gifts that Celebrate Memories:

  • Create a custom family tree or a photo album of their friends: Celebrate their family history and some great memories with their friends!
  • Plan a visit to their childhood home or favorite place (even if it’s using Google Earth): Relive some of their favorite memories and reconnect with the past — you never know what you’ll learn from a drive down memory lane.

And here are a few general gift giving tips to remember:

  • Focus on an experience: The most meaningful gifts are often the gift of spending quality time together and creating lasting memories.
  • Listen to their needs and wants: Pay attention to what they express and choose a gift that truly resonates with them — that might mean pulling out the ladder and doing some chores.
  • Make it a collaborative effort: Involve other family members, friends or Neighbors to contribute to a larger, more meaningful gift. That might be a clean-up day at the house, coordinating scheduled visits over the next few months, or maybe just a great big potluck party to celebrate them!

By thinking beyond the typical store-bought items and pre-packaged gift sets, you can find a gift that truly shows your love and appreciation for the elders in your life.