Oh Please, Not Another Pear Tree

“Do you have any idea what I can get Mom for Christmas?”  That’s the inevitable email I get from my siblings around this time of year.  For years I’d ask them the very same question.

affordable home care companies at home caregivers elderly home assistance elderly home care services for seniors non medical senior careIn buying gifts for seniors, it may truly be the quandary, “What do you get for the person who has everything (she wants).”  Aunt Doris probably has all the knick-knacks she needs, and Grandpa might have all the books he’s ever wanted to read.  After all, at eighty-five, how much stuff do you want to be dusting?

When you have someone like that in your life, buying Hanukkah, Christmas, or birthday gifts can be a challenge.  I’ve certainly spent my fair share of hours at the malls trying to figure out what to buy for my parents, and technically, they aren’t even seniors.

My break-through came when I realized what my parents appreciated more than anything—time spent with their children.  For my dad, I can always buy him a shirt—he certainly needs the fashion help—but he has plenty of clothes.  It is particularly hard to buy a gift for my mom, who doesn’t find joy in material goods.  Unless I could buy her a convertible Smart Car, my mom doesn’t have much use for things.

In most cases, for Christmas and birthdays, my gift has become taking my parents out, and I’ll give them a card with a description of the gift to open on the day of the event.  It’s been as simple as taking my dad to a movie on a Sunday afternoon or taking my mom to Famous Dave’s for dinner.  It’s also been as elaborate as taking my mom to a touring Broadway show or taking them both to Christmas shows.  For me, it’s much easier than wracking my brain to find something they don’t need, and for them, it’s something they value and enjoy more than anything I could wrap for them.

This year, I’ve already received the email, “Do you have any idea what I can get Mom for Christmas?”  As always, I said, “Take her out to lunch!”

Jim Miles, Staffing Coordinator



December 9, 2011



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Comments (1)


  1. Julie Ellingson says:

    Nicely said, Jim. I would add for those who live far away and for whatever reason cannot give the gift of time, I would suggest “disposables”, things that can be used up. Think postage stamps, a variety set of greeting cards to be used throughout the year, or thank you cards.. Edibles are disposables–think seasonal fruit (but not too much), nuts, coffee, treats from their favorite bakery, or even just a big old box of grocery staples. I used to give one of my aunts a box of groceries and she loved it–I had fun shopping and putting it together as well. And don’t forget you could give a gift certificate for Meals on Wheels or housekeeping!

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