That makes for rather a bulky title, doesn’t it? 🙂 But I had one thing in mind for WFMW, then thought of another: with this being the last one before Christmas, I thought I’d include both.
1) Some time ago our ladies’ ministry wanted to make up some gift bags for the elderly folks in our congregation, and I set about trying to find out what kinds of things would be best to put in those packages. I asked around all kinds of people I knew and message boards I was on at the time. A lot depends on the situation of the elderly person, whether they are in a nursing home or assisted living apartment or on their own, whether they cook they own meals or not, etc., so that would need to be taken into account. Their health needs also must be considered (whether they are diabetic, on a low-sodium diet, etc.). But here are just some general ideas:
- Large print Bible, books, magazines
- If they can’t see well, Bible on CD (and a CD player if they don’t have one) and audio books
- Music CDs that they would like
- Boxes of assorted greeting cards and stamps (this was a big hit for those who couldn’t get out to get this kind of thing on their own.)
- Stationery, note cards, stamps
- Bath items (be careful about oils and things that would make a slippery surface)
- Pens and pencils
- Crossword puzzle books, “Hidden word” puzzle books, etc.
- Small packets of tissues
- Magnifying glass (my mother-in-law really liked this, and I’ve had to start keeping one handy myself. My husband got me one like this which also has a little light on it.)
- Individual ready-to-eat packages of pudding, jello, pasta, etc. (again, depending on dietary restrictions. They do have some of these things in sugar-free and low-sodium varieties.)
- A tool to aid in opening jars. I’ve seen one that is flat and round and looks like what you’d use to stop up the bathtub. 🙂 My favorite one looks almost like a set of pliers, but I haven’t been able to find another one like it. One my husband gave me recently looks something like this. (No, I am not elderly — yet!! But I have decreased sensation and strength in one hand due to transverse myelitis.)
- A small crock pot. One time when my mother-in-law was visiting, she really liked a crock pot meal I had made. That next Christmas we looked around and found a small one that would be ideal for one or two people.
- Comfortable clothes, nightgowns. etc.
- Slipper socks — socks that have non-skid soles
- A “reacher” (another item that I use myself)
When our ladies’ group made up gifts bags and then divided them up amongst ourselves to take out to the various folks, what we discovered was, though they appreciated the gift bags, what they really appreciated was the visit — the time and the conversation. So, along those lines I posted below something from my files called “10 free gifts for Christmas” — applicable to anyone, but especially to those who are elderly or “shut-in.”
2) My second tip today has to do with family “wish-lists.” We started posting wish lists on the refrigerator before Christmas way back when we first got married. We had seen a family whom I dearly loved and respected doing this and adopted it for our own, then had our kids do it, too. They know not to get ridiculous with it, and everyone knows that we won’t get everything on the list and may get something not on the list — it’s just meant as a general guideline to the gift-buyers have some idea of how to shop.
My tip, though, is this — nowadays we all send our wish lists via e-mail, and after years of keeping them all separately, a few years ago it hit me to copy and paste them onto one sheet. I have three boys, so I make a document in landscape form with three columns, copy and paste their lists there, print it off, and keep it in my purse while shopping. It’s more efficient, less to keep up with, plus, as I check things off I can see if I am keeping things “even.” They are beyond the stage where we have to have the same number of packages under the tree for each child. 🙂 They know the amount of gifts will vary with the value. But as parents we like to spend roughly the same per child, and this helps us keep up with that at a glance.
For more tips or to link to your own, go over to Shannon’s at Rocks In My Dryer.
Updated to add: I am closing comments on this post because I keep getting comments from sites that sell audiobooks. Though they are not written like the usual “spam,” I don’t want to take the time to check them out and I don’t want this to become an avenue for vendors. I believe you can find audiobooks at any bookstore or bookstore’s web site, plus you could Google the term and find other sites that sell them as well.