Gift ideas for grandparents and older loved ones that will be loved and appreciated including personalized gifts, useful gifts, and gifts to help beat loneliness.
Grandparents and older parents can be some of the toughest people to buy gifts for.
They often already have everything they could possibly want or need. In fact many older adults are actively downsizing and getting rid of things, not trying to accumulate more.
Which means a lot of go-to gift ideas just don’t make sense.
But even when you don’t really need anything, everyone wants to feel loved and cared for at the holidays.
I used to really struggle to figure out what to give my own grandparents at the holidays, so I sat down and started really thinking about gifts that would make them feel loved and appreciated without cluttering up their homes.
And I think I’ve put together a pretty great list of meaningful, useful, and just fun gift ideas that older adults will be happy to receive.
This list includes gifts at all different price points.
Many of these gifts also work well for loved ones who are living in a nursing home, have limited mobility, or poor eyesight.
And all of these gift ideas will help make sure your grandparents and parents feel loved and appreciated this year.
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Personalized Gift Ideas
These sentimental gift ideas are a great way to show your grandparents how much they mean to you.
A custom tea towel is a beautiful way to preserve a treasured family recipe. Not only do you get to preserve a favorite family recipe, you also get to preserve your loved one’s handwriting. If your grandmother still has one of her mother’s recipe cards, you can send it in and have it printed on a tea towel in her original handwriting. Or you can also use some of your grandmother’s own recipes instead to show how much you appreciate her cooking.
Similar to the tea towel, you can also have a custom cutting board made using a favorite family recipe. Or instead of a recipe, you could use an old letter, a handwritten Bible verse, or any other special handwritten keepsake. These make beautiful decor or can be used as a cheese board/snack tray. There are several shops on Etsy who make these with different wood board options including the one pictured.
This is what I gave my own grandmother last Christmas and it was a huge hit. I made a photo book full of photos of family Christmases throughout her life from when she was young through the present. It’s a book filled with Christmas memories from throughout her lifetime. I used Shutterfly to print my book and I have a step-by-step tutorial showing how to create your own.
For a different take on the traditional family photo, you can get a custom family portrait created instead. You get to select the height, hair color and style, and outfit for each family member along with the background and accessories. This is also a great alternative for when it just isn’t possible to get a true photo of the whole family together.
Storyworth is all about helping your grandparents or other older relatives share the stories of their lives with you. Each week they’re emailed a specific question about their life and you get an email response with their answer. At the end of the year, all of the stories are bound into a beautiful keepsake book. It’s a beautiful way to connect and learn more about your loved ones.
A photo blanket is an awesome way to combine something sentimental – your favorite photos – with something useful – a cozy blanket. Shutterfly has custom photo blankets in a variety of materials including fleece and sherpa. They’re often on sale and there’s a wide range of photo layouts available including the cute heart pictured.
I love the idea of giving a painting of a house that played a huge part in your grandparent’s life. I see these paintings often recommended as housewarming gifts for young couples which is a great idea. But I think it would be even better to have a painting of the home you raised your children in or even the home you grew up in. There are many different styles of these available on Etsy including the one pictured. All you need to provide is a photo of the house.
Having a cookbook full of your family’s favorite recipes is something the entire family will appreciate. You can put the recipe book together as a surprise for your grandparent. Or give them a blank cookbook and work together to fill it with their own best recipes to be passed down. You could even make it extra special and cook each recipe together as you go. Any blank recipe book will work, but there are some especially beautiful heirloom quality options on etsy.
Fun Gift Ideas for Beating Loneliness
Many older adults have lots of free time on their hands. These gift ideas include fun ways to pass the time.
Jigsaw puzzles aren’t for everyone – they tend to be a love ’em or hate ’em kind of gift. But for those seniors who do enjoy them, jigsaw puzzles are a great winter activity for when you are stuck at home. When I visit my grandmother, we love to work on puzzles together, but it’s also a great activity that can be done alone. There are puzzles with large sized pieces that can be easier for those with more limited vision and fine motor skills to work like this one and this one (pictured). Or if your dealing with a jigsaw puzzle expert, a 1000 piece puzzle is perfect.
I’m a huge fan of listening to audiobooks and I think they make an especially great gift for grandparents. Audiobooks provide access to books for those with limited eyesight, they help keep a quiet house from feeling so lonely, and they’re also great entertainment for those who love to travel. It’s a win for almost anyone. You can gift an audiobook subscription through Audible or Scribd. Or you can buy audiobooks a la carte through libro.fm. All of these options focus on digital audiobooks, but you can also still find books on CD at many bookstores, including Amazon.
Puzzle books are another great gift for seniors who need activities they can do alone. Word searches, crossword puzzles, and Sudoku are all popular or you can choose a variety puzzle book if you aren’t sure what kind of puzzles your grandparent prefers. Many of these books are also available in large-print for easier reading.
This one is an especially great gift for those who aren’t able to get out and about so well anymore. These window bird feeders attach directly to the outside of your window so your loved one can easily watch the birds come and go without ever needing to leave their favorite chair.
Digital Photo Frame
A digital photo frame is an awesome way to share updated family photos with your loved ones, especially when they live far away. Digital frames have come a long way over the past several years. The Skylight frame (pictured) is an especially popular option; it makes it super easy to regularly add new photos via email and has a touchscreen for easy setup. If you’re looking for something more affordable, this frame on Amazon is also very highly rated.
The Gift of Time
Honestly, a lot of times the absolute best gift we can give is more quality time spent together. Setting up a recurring weekly or monthly date to have lunch together or watch a movie or play board games often bring a lot more joy than anything you could buy in a store. This can be as fancy or simple as you want – you can wrap up a certificate with detailed plans for each month or simply write a heartfelt Christmas card explaining your gift. Either way, it will be treasured.
Other Gift Ideas
A birthday board helps keep track of all the special dates in the family and can also double as cute decor. Plus it’s easy to add names and birthdays to the board as new family members join the family. There are quite a few different styles available on Etsy including the cute one pictured. Or you could make your own DIY version.
I think this is a cute gift for grandparents who love to see their grandkids at their door. If you’re looking for something a bit less sassy, there are also cute custom ‘Welcome to Nana and Papa’s House’ doormat options on Etsy where you can customize the names used.
Favorite treat or classic candy
Enjoying a favorite treat from years past is a great way to relive good memories. You can find classic candies at Cracker Barrel, local candy stores, and many country stores. You can also buy vintage candy assortments online – this box of favorite 1940s candies from Amazon looks fun. Or if you’re good in the kitchen, you can always whip up a favorite homemade treat from the past.
Amaryllis bulbs are a great way to bring some color and life to the long dreary winter days after the holidays. These wax covered bulbs are especially low maintenance – they don’t even need to be watered or placed in direct sunlight! Your loved one will get to enjoy the anticipation of watching their bulb sprout and grow a little more each day until they fully bloom.
Recently I joined Ancestry.com and I’ve been poking around finding out all kinds of things about my family tree. Learning about your family history is interesting no matter what age you are, but it’s a hobby that tends to be especially popular among older adults. You can gift a six or twelve month ancestry membership. Or you can gift an AncestryDNA kit so they can find out more about where in the world their ancestors came from.
Many of us still have our family’s home movies stored on old video tapes and even film reels. Legacybox is a company that makes it easy to have all your home movies, photos, and audio cassettes digitized. You choose what size box you need based on how many items you have to be digitized, then fill up your kit, send it in and receive back your choice of either a jumpdrive, digitial files, or DVDs. Last year my mom had all my grandparents’ old film reels turned into DVDs and gave copies to the whole family. It was a gift that was very much appreciated.
I hope you found this gift guide helpful!
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