Some gift advice

Posted 12.7.18

SHAWVILLE, QC | No editorial today on any of the grand subject;no political affairs, no city management, arts & culture, leadership, none of those topics. No blogs, pronouncements, or sermons -- just a reminder, "have you considered this?" So, allow me to raise one not very grand topic: gift-giving. Specifically, gifts for seniors. Older relatives, parents, neighbours and elderly friends. All these people who, largely, have all they need after a lifetime of work -- and family gift-exchanges. Most of us have a senior or two on our list.

The subject is also helpful for kids, youths, and all those who too easily run out of money and who struggle to stretch their dollars over a gifting season filled with advertising and with buying.

Seniors rarely need more "stuff." Rather than gadgets or books, older people most often want contact. Contact with those they love. Psychologists and pollsters tell us that elderly people crave most their families and friends -- people they love and who love them. Seniors thrive on love -- in solid form, in bodies visiting. They crave time with them, physical contact, conversation.

Meanwhile, everybody seems captured by the American dream: more stuff, more things, more products. We crave "more", anything newer, flashier -- except old folks who rarely need the newest phone; they crave the real people at the other end of their phones.

As they begin their approach to life's touch-down, older people are realists, well aware that since the Pharaohs no one has figured out how to take all their junk with them (or even why they might wish to do so). If they could take anything at all with them, it would be memories of affection, love, concern, and gratitude. It would be family photos.

As for specifics, it's a visit -- physical time together -- that tops most lists. A gift most seniors would love would be a card with a schedule of visits, say a dinner once a month, or an appointment to come over for tea (with a sip of Crown Royal, in my own mother's case) every Wednesday -- clear promises to take your loved one out to a movie, a flower show, boat show, shopping, whatever. Clearly written down -- there's a gift! It'll cost time, not money.

A variant would be to promise certain jobs -- tax returns, mow the lawn, wash the car or house windows, vacuum, program a phone or repair a sticking door -- real stuff. Perfect for the cashless kid -- a ten-year old can shovel or sweep the steps; a teen can wash winter sheets.

And hand-made gifts -- a four-year old's drawing -- these become family classics. Drawings, sketches, a poem, paper flowers, or a big red heart from a pre-schooler -- all gifts of love. These are the genuine win/wins.

The gift appreciated more than anything from Amazon is the gift of being present. Seniors want to see you, hug you, hear about your adventures -- they're all about you, honestly.


Copyright © 2018 Fred Ryan/Log Cabin Chronicles/12.7.18