Christmas gift guide for older parents and grandparents
Here are a few ideas to help you choose seasonal presents for your older friends and relatives.
In our Christmas gifts list for 2015 we’ve asked for ideas for the over 70s. We know that’s a hugely diverse audience with different tastes and with different challenges – if they face any challenge at all. So we’ve tried to include plenty of ideas that might appeal to older friends and families however they enjoy life. Not all have been tried and tested here but we mention those that are. What we have done is aim for a little fun or luxury wherever possible.
Edibles and drinkables
Food and drink are always popular gifts. Appetite often wanes with age as people lose their sense of smell and mobility, so something extra tasty might be a great idea. And with the growing army of artisan, independent producers joining the more well-known names, there’s plenty of choice.
Paxton & Whitfield are offering a wide range of cheese-focused gifts at their four shops or online. Gift boxes start at £20. Other cheese suppliers worth a look include Blacks Cheese and the Snowdonia Cheese Company.
Looking for spirits? Whiski Rooms bespoke hampers from the whisky shop and restaurant in Edinburgh with prices starting at £35. Alternatively Poetic License is a new independent and award-winning small batch distillery offering a collection of gins and vodka for £35. We love the white chocolate-flavoured vodka from Boozey Belles but to taste that and other spirit flavours you’ll need to catch them at a show for now.
There are quite a few coffee subscription clubs where you receive a different variety of coffee monthly. For the Café Direct club, for example, subscriptions start at £24 for 3 months for a 250g pack and go up to £85 for 12 months. Sachets are designed to fit through the letterbox.
Artisan chocolates always look delicious. We’re tempted by the chocolate-coated coffee nibs, suitable for vegans, from Chococo, at £5.95 for a tin. Artisan fudge is popular too and the most surprising we’ve tasted is a truly mango flavour from Yum Yum Tree Fudge, who offer a whole range of unusual tastes.
The BBC Good Food Magazine said the brownies from Gower Cottage Brownies were the best they’ve tasted. We liked them too. Free next day delivery, starting at £16.99.
How about adopting an olive tree and enjoying the harvest as olive oil? Pomoro Olive Oil is offering oil delivered from two different growers and we could really taste the difference. Enjoy a quarterly shipment of oil, with prices starting at £29 a quarter, and the offer of 25% off with the code GEN25.
Here’s an idea that has potential to be really helpful. The SpreadTHAT! Advanced Butter Knife uses the warmth of your hand to make short work of cold butter. Winner of the iF Product Design Award 2014, this highly conductive aluminium spreader costs £16.99.
A quick mention for our own delivered meals by the name of Joseph Pip. These are premium main meals that can be enjoyed any day of the week. We’ve designed them especially for people who for one reason or another don’t cook much for themselves. As premium meals they make an enjoyable gift. Take a look at the Joseph Pip website for more information. As a Christmas treat, you can also redeem your Joseph Pip gift card - the perfect treat for someone special. Simply order online and we’ll send you a gift card, providing your loved one with seven Joseph Pip meals of their choice.
The new Amplicomms M9000 is an Android touch screen smartphone with a second optional easy-to-use operating system. It also has big icons, loud, clear sound for people who are hard of hearing, hearing aid compatibility, and SOS button for emergencies. £139.99 SIM-free from Robert Dyas. Amplicomms also offers a M7000i retro flip phone with long battery life and features designed for people with hearing loss.
Fending off draughts, keeping the extremities warm, feeling cosy – these are always good bets for mid-winter gifts. Here are just a couple of idea.
The Edinburgh Wool Mill offers wrap up warm items from shawls to gloves.
6- and 12-hour hand warmers are available from Zippo. Around £22
Art and crafts
How about a big and beautiful book? ‘Behind The Seams’ by Angels Costumes. The story of the oldest costume house in the world £30
At Art Finder you can find a good range of pieces by 6000 artists from 97 countries with prices starting from £25 and the option to buy gift vouchers so your relative can make their own choice.
“Popred” has been created by Sarah Ezekiel using eye-tracking technology. Sarah has Motor Neurone Disease and 100% of the £180 cost of her paintings, sold through Furniture Village is going to a charity for disabled sportspeople. See other similar art at Tictail.com.
We are awash with craft fairs round here this year. If you would like something a little different and limited, try this new web site where you can “meet” the makers.
Talking about a relative’s earlier life can be a thoroughly enjoyable and entertaining activity for everyone concerned. It’s also been found to be particularly helpful for those with dementia, who often retain long-term memories far more easily than newer one.
Creating personalised hardback books is a growing trend and here are a few of the good ones we’ve heard about.
The Journals of a Lifetime range of journals is designed to get your loved ones talking about their life, memories and stories. Available for mum, dad, grandma and grandpa.
To Know Me Books offer the opportunity to create a picture history book of someone who is perhaps moving into a care home, helping everyone to see the whole person.
We saw this one at the BBC Good Food Show and loved it. This is Your Cookbook is a hardback personal cookbook that you can compile with a parent. Choose recipes from those available online or work with mum to upload all your childhood favourites to turn the book into a memory for parents and an heirloom for the children. £25 – with 20% using the code XMAS20.
A little creative thinking here. Rory’s Story Cubes are a pocket sized story generator, designed to inspire and encourage creativity and storytelling. The nine dice hold a total of 54 images giving over 10 million combinations with every roll. The MAX version provides larger cubes that are easier to see and handle. Available on Amazon RRP £20
Here’s something different that we really like the look of. Preserve the ticket for a memorable day out by turning it into a drinks coaster. Ideal when one of the many health reports we see says three cups of tea a day may help keep osteoporosis at bay!
When we put out the message for ideas around Christmas presents the most popular reply was jigsaw puzzles. Great for this time of year if there’s space and some good light. Here are a few suppliers.
Also, take a look at the puzzles re-designed to make them possible for people living with dementia at the Active Minds website.
If you feel that something useful will be more valued than a gift that might just sit on the shelf unused, have a look at some of the sites that offer mobility and other helpful aids such as Mobility Care Aids and one of our favourites, Designed2Enable.
This idea is given with tongue in cheek but it works for us. If you have a parent who needs and wants nothing, why not give them something you like? Then when they return it to you everyone can enjoy the giving and receiving.
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