It’s the holiday season and we’re in shopping mode. Kids and significant others may be relatively easy to navigate, but what about our parents? What haven’t they already received throughout the years? What would they truly appreciate? Is it right to be giving more “stuff” to someone who is planning to or has already downsized?

After careful consideration I’ve come up with some categories and ideas to help you find the perfect gift:


  • If cooking isn’t their forte, make freezer batches of their favorite meals in containers that can easily be thawed for single servings
  • Do they love your young kids? Help them out by bringing over activity packs so they can easily be creative with your children.
  • Gifts cards to their favorite place is a great way to ensure the gift can be used and also shows you’re paying attention! If it’s to a salon or restaurant, the extra money may make them feel comfortable to splurge a bit more than usual.
  • Materials for their favorite hobbies: knitting, sewing, decoupage, puzzles, books, subscription to newspaper or magazine, stationery with stamps, etc.


  • A family member of mine recently had a milestone birthday and we were at a loss for how to celebrate the occasion. It came to me that she loves the theatre, rarely gets to go, and the family would be together for Thanksgiving – within a week of the birthday. I immediately bought us tickets to see “The Nutcracker” and included my 4 year-old so she could also experience her first theatre performance. The entire family had a great time.
  • If possible, include parents in on a family vacation. Don’t count them out just because they haven’t chosen to take adventures solo, they might surprise you. This doesn’t necessarily mean you have to foot the bill. The effort of the coordination and consideration for what they can enjoy during the trip would likely be plenty in their eyes.
  • If your parent is having aches and pains, consider booking them a service. Whether it’s massage, Reiki, yoga, or Zumba… it’s worth a try. The healing affect of touch and movement are well documented, and maybe they’d love trying something new regardless.

Professional Services

  • A professional organizer to help de-clutter and allow seniors to enjoy what they already have in possession.
  • Home maintenance services, including cleaning, landscaping, shoveling, etc.
  • A creative writer to document their life story and create a legacy. Never heard of this? Check out Sunday Dinner Stories with Michelle Beckman.
  • Digital service to scan and organize old photo albums and videos in order to preserve its quality and convey it more easily to the next generation. This can also be turned into a virtual memory lane to help seniors with dementia. 
  • Tech service to get their house operating like its 2020. Would they have fun with Alexa? Feel more secure with home monitoring? Have they ever tried playing backgammon on a tablet?
  • Financial planner, estate attorney, CPA to address any of their financial tasks or concerns. I am often hired by adult children to run an elder care analysis to clearly address concerns related to affording care and mounting homeownership expenses.

Your time

  • Quality time when you actually engage and connect. Seek out some words of wisdom. Ask them to untangle a problem in your life. Try to solve one of theirs.
  • Teach them how to use new technology or expose them to something you’re involved with.
  • Help with tasks that overwhelm them. Maybe it’s something as simple as negotiating the cable bill or gathering tax documents for the accountant.

Ok fine… a few “stuff” ideas