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christmas ideas for elderly parents?

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my in laws are in their late 80s. we live 1100 miles away (but have a job offer pending to move near them!) but I feel like I'm out of ideas for them for Christmas. we do a photo calendar every year, but other than that.... what ideas do you all have?


also, any ideas for my mom and step-dad--he was just diagnosed with prostate cancer, and doesn't know how far along it is yet. they are in their early 70s/late 60s and we're 1100 miles from them too.




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Do they have any wedding pictures that you could get redone? You know, take the creases out, etc. Maybe someone who lives nearer could send themt to you?

I once did a jar with strips of paper in it--I made a label on the outside "What My Parents Did Right" and my brother and I each wrote out 20 things we were really thankful about for my parents. You could do a letter from each child.

You could send around paper in red and green to each grandchild and have them trace/cut out their hands, send them back to you, and you could make a cute wreath for them--maybe add a small picture of each child.

Once we got my grandparents a family tree picture thingy that had a pretty tree on metal with their names, the names of their children/spouses and grandkids, and beside each were their birthstones (not real diamonds, but you get the idea).

A gift certificate to local restaurant is always appreciated around here, and it's easy to send. Tickets to the movies wrapped in a popcorn box or one of those cool popcorn buckets is nice.

I once made my dad a crossword puzzle using a free program--I put clues about places and people in his life.

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Stuff I have given elderly relatives:


Flavored coffee or tea

Spices from Penzy's Spices

Books on tape--one that really went over well was an old radio show CD

Warm shawl (couch snuggly kinda thing)

Bread from Great Harvest

Picture frames


Nice soap

Music CD

CD of Victor Borg (funny, classy comedian)

Omaha Steaks

Down slippers

Netflix subscription

Local restaurant gift certificates

Car tune-up gift certificate

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An elderly friend of ours used to appreciate a basket with small special things she could serve to guests whenever they came to visit -- items that would last indefinitely, but that she could pull out and serve on short notice. She had always been such a careful hostess, and it distressed her that she couldn't bake and prepare things any more the way she used to. Packets for instant hot beverages, small packages of butter cookies and nice crackers, etc, etc, made her feel prepared to offer something to her many visitors.


Obviously though, that was a lifestyle issue, and your parents and in-laws may not have a great many guests come through...


Another nice gift is a photo tray like this one...

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...Heating pads...



That reminds me... My MIL is thoroughly devoted to her seed/rice/buckwheat hull pillows that she can microwave for a few seconds and then use to warm herself up or ease sore spots... So a couple of years ago we got her slippers like these, and she loved them... Pillows like these are ones you could make easily as well, if the grandparents would appreciate knowing their grandchildren *made* their gift.

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Lap blankets or shawls are what my mom said the nursing home always asked for. I gave my grandma a crocheted shawl and she says she uses it all the time. I made my grandpa a fleece lap blanket a few years ago and it's still used.


Gift cards or gift certificates are always safe and probably really appreciated if they are on a fixed income.


I love the scrapbook idea, I should have thought of that for my grandma before she died-she would have loved it I'm sure.


If they can have hard candies that's something that would be good in a small basket. We always got peppermints.


Coffee or tea.


Bird feeder. My grandparents always loved feeding the birds and watching them all year. We would take them feed whenever we'd visit. Even if they are in a nursing home you can get the kind that stick on the outside of the window-we did this with one of my grandmas and it was appreciated by a lot of the patients.

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it since she can't wash and vacuum her own car out. Another idea is to give them some of those disposable cameras and a photo album for the pics they take and a gift card for the film processing. I like the idea of the microwaveable slippers.

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