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Christmas gift ideas for grandparents and older parents 2016

Christmas Gifts for Grandparents

By Kathy Lawrence, content director at When They Get Older

It’s time for our annual gift guide that work for those very difficult people – the older parents and grandparents who say they have everything they need. As ever, we asked for ideas aimed to spread a little happiness rather than just be plain useful.

Where we’ve had a chance to review these products we tell you. Otherwise we just like the ideas. We’ve also got a few thoughts on food and drink gifts for Christmas and any time of year.

Don’t forget to take a look at our previous gift guide for grandparents and older parents – plenty of ideas there too.


Looking back with fondness is a popular pastime at the moment. But it has great value too for older people who are struggling with memory issues. There are memory boxes and similar ideas designed for those living with dementia - but just bringing back great memories is good for everyone.

Living the 45s again

Groov-e Classic Turntable

Last year we reviewed the Groov-e range of boomboxes and CD players. This year it’s the turn of the Groov-e Classic Turntable that plays 45s and LPs, converts music to MP3 and WAV format, and includes an FM radio. This is a product intended to be a reproduction, so don’t expect exemplary sound or massively robust manufacture. It is fun though and extremely lightweight and it’s been great to iisten again to the songs we’ve never re-bought on CD. Groov-e Classic Turntable - £59.99 Also available from Tesco, Amazon and other retailers. Replacement styluses are available from Groov-e.

A scent of the past

Black Rose

Black Rose is said to have been Goya’s most famous perfume from the 1950s through to the 80s. Now it’s been relaunched after details of its formula were found in a museum in Amersham. Available online only for £49.99 / 100ml at www.goyablackrose.com


Maybe not the most original idea in the world but there’s something for everyone out there that can show we’ve been thinking about what our loved ones would really enjoy. Here are a few ideas.

Something for everyone

Faith in Nature

Vegans can be really hard to buy for. We have some in our family so I know! But Faith in Nature is recognised as a vegan-friendly, reasonably-priced brand of toiletries. We tried a selection from Discount Supplements and liked them, especially the scent of the pineapple and lime shampoo and conditioner.


Fenjal claims to be very popular with the over 70s and offers a range of products, available from Boots and many independent pharmacies. When we reviewed the products it was interesting to find few takers for bath oil – people of all ages seem to prefer to take showers. Fenjal has quite a powerful scent which could make it the right gift for those with diminishing sense of smell. RRPs range from body spray at £3.52 to a large bath oil at £11.42.

Staying in

We’ve got a lot of dark and wet days ahead of us so making staying enjoyable is a great idea for a gift.

Indoor aerials

One For All

For anyone living in a block of flats or trying to use a second television, an indoor aerial might be the only option. Finding an aerial that can actually receive a signal can be difficult though. The Oneforall company has a handy tool on its website to find out how far you are from the nearest transmitter and which of their aerials you would need as a result. We tried the top-of-the-range sv9495 (£64.99) with an old non-digital television attached to a PVR and were delighted to see them come back to life.

Pencils for every occasion

48 Inktense

Colouring books continue to be very popular and we’ve heard many people say they find them relaxing as well as enjoyable. For anyone serious about their drawing, good tools are a joy, and when Derwent sent us details of their oak presentation pencil boxes we got quite excited. This Cumbrian brand is the only remaining manufacturer of pencils in the UK and has been making art materials in the North of England since 1832. Choose from a wide range of pencils for colouring, sketching, watercolour and more, with prices for the oak boxes gift sets starting at £85.50. Available from pencils.co.uk, Amazon and all good art retailers.



Jigsaws remain a perennial favourite to while away the winter evenings. A good puzzle and a decent light to work by make enjoyable gifts for jigsaw fans.

The image above is from a range by Schmidt, available on Amazon. The bonus of these puzzles is their matt finish, making the design that bit easier to see in artificial light. Schimdt says that each of its admittedly small pieces is a unique shape and a perfect fit, making it easy to see what works and what doesn’t.

Puzzles designed for dementia

We’ve talked about the puzzles from Active Minds before, designed with those living with dementia. Now the company has brought out a new personalised product. Worth a look.

Wool through the door

Wool Through the Door

Whether it’s a skill learned over the years or a recently acquired YouTube habit, getting out to buy the materials can be difficult sometimes. Cosywool is a yarn supplier based in Lancaster that vacuum-packages all of their wool for letterbox-friendly delivery. Up to 7 balls of wool can be squeezed down into one vacuum-sealed, waterproof package that fits through a letterbox, so even if the recipient is out they won’t have to trot down to the nearest post office or organise another delivery. Cosywool say other benefits include ease of storage and keeping the wool fresh until it’s ready to be used. Learn more on the Cosywool website.

Lunch to the door

Joseph Pip - Home Cooked Meals

While the NHS has just launched a campaign to advise older people to eat hot meals to keep well and out of A&E, getting out in cold weather to shop or visit cafes can be chilly and dangerous work itself. If your parent would enjoy good meals that are easy to cook delivered to their door, then our own Joseph Pip selection could be just the thing. Now available nationwide, these traditional hand-cooked meals can be ordered directly online.

Keeping toasty

Ideas for gifts to help stay warm aren’t unusual but could be very helpful if the predictions of a very cold winter are realised.

Hand warming pod

Noozie Pebble

Last year we became firm fans of the Noozie electric hot water bottle which we found invaluable in safely soothing the pain of arthritis. Now the same company has launched the Noozie pebble. This is a compact hand-held heat pod. It provides double-sided heat in two setting to warm hands quickly. Charged by USB it also can be used as a portable power bank for USB devices although we struggled to make this work effectively. Warms up in seconds and keeps warm for 4 hours. We found it a bit hot to the touch initially but soon adapted to the warmth. Anyone with sensitive skin can use the velvety pouch for added protection. We love the company and we love their delivery service too.

Jules B Harris Tweed Cap

Keeping warm is a priority in winter and a good cap is hard to find. The ‘Jules B Eight Piece Harris Tweed Cap’ looks like it could fit at a fairly significant price of £64.99. It’s made with pure premium wool with top button and soft satin-like lining. For other options try Marks & Spencer and the National Trust. Do check size – many men have surprising large heads!

From the grandchildren

Granddad MugGranddad Chocolate

Lots of ideas on the small independent website www.borngifted.co.uk including this mug at £9.99 and chocolate bar at £5.99.

Bojangles Truffles

Described as light and milky, we actually thought the Monty Bojangles chocolate truffles were quite an adult delight, worthy of one a day. After the first three we realised they were very moreish and could be eaten far faster. Truffles are dusted in cocoa powder and not wrapped individually. From Tesco at £6.

Conversation starters

Conversation Starters

Not so much a present from the grandchildren as about the grandchildren. Barefoot coaching has produced a set of 50 cards that children and their grandparents can use to ask questions as starters for conversations about their lives. Children are prompted to ask about earliest memories, friends, pets and dreams. Grandparents can learn how their grandchildren see the world and themselves.. The cards come in a playing card box at £15 from the website or at Amazon.

Still not sure?

Take a look at our 2016 Mother’s Day gift list and last year’s Christmas gift guide for more inspiration.

You may also like to read

Turning a stressful Christmas with the relatives into a pleasure

Christmas when you’re juggling family and parents with dementia

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