Holiday Hints from our Online Friends

A few weeks ago we asked Silver & Gold—Seattle & King County friends to put on their thinking caps and send us their favorite ideas for holiday gifts and activities with older friends and family. Here are the best:

  • Ask every family member to write about what they did on a specific date (the same date, earlier in the month, for each person), then present all the stories together as "A Day in the Life" of the family.
  • Assemble emergency preparedness kits for home and car. Don't forget pets, if they have any.
  • Batteries—check the carbon monoxide detector, smoke detectors, and emergency flashlights. Buy them, if they don't exist. Smoke alarms should be replaced every 10 years. Often your local fire department will install smoke alarms at no charge.
  • Be sure to honor holiday traditions passed down through generations.
  • Deliver a small Christmas tree—fully decorated!

  • Give stamps—colorful ones—and a pack of nice note cards.
  • Make a coupon book for services such as a homemade dinner (freezer-ready perhaps). Older adults who live alone may eat lots of prepared meals that are full of sodium. For low sodium recipes, see Katy Wilkens' article in this newsletter, or click here.
  • Selected 12 photos of people/places they know and love and make a custom calendar (see your local quick-print shop). Or make them a custom book of some favorite past vacation, family event, etc.
  • Make, give, and talk about family recipes passed down through generations.
  • Memberships at a museum or other cultural institution; tickets to the theatre or a live concert; or visits to a gallery or art event that is accessible by walking or public transit are always appreciated. Better yet, go with them.
  • Purchase gifts cards for groceries—you know they will get used.
  • Share gifts that have been given and the difference they made in the life of an older adult.
  • Subscriptions to magazines and newspapers are appreciated. If they moved away from their home town, give a subscription to their hometown newspaper.
  • Teach an elder to use social media to stay in touch with family and friends. Facebook, anyone?
  • Write an IOU for lawn mowing or window washing next spring—and be sure you do it!
  • The best gift for an elder is the gift of your time. A shopping trip, a lunch together, a show ... all are precious and in many cases, a needed respite to seniors with limited mobility.
  • Best gift for an elder to give a younger member of the family? Stories from your past! Too often, we regret not recording our parents and grandparents. Handwrite, type, tape-record, or videotape your stories for future generations to enjoy.