Rob Smith

Around this time of year, people are racking their brains to find just the right gift for friends and family. And people who live in retirement communities can be especially challenging to buy for, due to space restraints. So, what do you say when family members track you down, begging for gift ideas for their loved one?

We polled a few of our friends and relatives who live in communities and got their thoughts on what they would appreciate receiving this holiday. Virtually all these gifts can either be used up, or used frequently and easily absorbed into a compact household.

  1. A nice piece of clothing. Wardrobes tend to get forgettable or old, so “a really nice shirt would be great,” one male resident said.
  2. A really good photograph. A special photo of a friend or relative – not necessarily posed – with a loving message, would be very welcome.
  3. Gifts that connect with a passion. For example, if the resident is a wood carver, give them a beautiful piece of wood. For writers, some kind of off-the-beaten-track word book. For quilters, a gift certificate to JoAnn’s Fabric.
  4. Special foods. People are frequently in need of delicious tidbits that can be used to host intimate get-togethers: nuts, cheeses, crackers, etc.
  5. Grab bag. A few additional ideas: An emergency kit for the car, a special kitchen towel, a nice lap blanket, a magazine subscription, a laptop DVD player or streaming service, jigsaw puzzles, sudoku or crossword puzzles, a book in a favorite genre, a festive holiday decoration to dress up the apartment.

Of course, if you have the opportunity to call or visit a relative you don’t see often, just connecting can be the best gift of all. Wishing you and yours a very happy holiday!