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Christmas

What To Get Boomer Moms (Or Grandmas) In 2020 – It’s Very Different From Last Year…

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Last year I asked my MIL over text what she and her friends want for Christmas. I thought it would be a fun post (and it was). The answers frankly shocked me – for instance, “PLEASE no more framed photos of kids”, no more scarves, and, instead….”Fly fishing lessons” (??) It actually made sense – it was less ‘stuff’ as that generation has accumulated A LOT, and more about new experiences that they don’t have to risk/use their retirement money. Because what they do have is extra TIME. That was absolutely enlightening to me (and I wasn’t alone – that post got over 100k reads). But what about this year? Theater tickets and group pottery classes are not relevant this year (at least for now). Fly Fishing actually MIGHT be ok, but in general those movie ticket gift cards aren’t going to be under the tree. So, what do we get boomers in 2020??? Well, she and her friends ponied up some answers and my goodness I LOVED THEM (and it makes shopping so much easier). Take it away, Suz.

suz and bob with birdie and charlie 🙂

From Suz: When Emily asked me to write a follow-up to last year’s gift guide, I went straight to my friends, most of whom are in late 60s and mid-70s and retired. They were blunt, specific, and excited. The list is longer and definitely influenced by the fact that we’ve been stuck at home so much during the pandemic, but here goes.

Relaxing Things To Do At Home

My husband, Bob, is doing one jigsaw puzzle a week on one end of our dining table while I do crossword puzzles on the other end, usually listening to oldies but goodies on Alexa. These would be great gifts for pretty much anyone as we are indoors a lot more than usual.

1. Greyhound Library Puzzle | 2. Piecework Modern Jigsaw Puzzles | 3. Forbidden Fruit Puzzle | 4. Disco Queen Puzzle | 5. 1,000-Piece Puzzle – Paradise Found | 6. Galison Gray Malin 2-Sided Jigsaw Puzzle

1. New York Crosswords: 50 Big Puzzles | 2. The New York Times Mini Crosswords | 3. Puzzle Mania Emergency Edition

For more stay at home ideas, as long as we’re homebound due to Covid, online classes are a hit with many. From painting classes to guitar lessons to needlepoint and knitting classes- there are so many to chose from. Also, most of my friends are in book clubs and ordering books on Amazon has become quite pricey. Amazon gift cards would be great.

Painting Projects

I can’t believe how therapeutic, relaxing and rewarding paint number projects can be. Here’s how it works: they send you a canvas that is split into sections with numbers that correspond to a particular color, making it so easy to paint something amazing you can display in your home. My first picture was of a psychedelic tiger, but you can also order a customized one by uploading a photo. I’m currently working on one depicting our red barn, but they can make reproductions from photos of pets, humans, flowers, whatever. This would be a great gift for anyone who is creative and loves to make art.

Ok, this next idea is going to sound a little weird, at least I thought so at first when my friend Mandy asked if I’d like to come to a rock painting party.  I was thinking, “What??  Is basket weaving next?! But I joined four others at her house where she provided a lovely brunch before we went outside to a long, plastic-covered table where there were smooth round rock in all sizes and tons of paints, colored pens and brushes. She had books full of ideas, themes, florals, funny faces, etc. Anyway, it was a really fun day and the outcomes were actually very good. They are fun to leave on neighbors’ doorsteps, in flower pots and gardens, and as doorstops. When I held mine up for Charlie and Ellie to see during our Portal session, Elliot was so cute and said, like a first grade teacher, “That’s really good, Sue Sue!”. Setting this up as a gift would be a lovely surprise.

Magazine Subscriptions

Vanity Fair | New York Magazine | House Beautiful

Magazine subscriptions are a great gift.  I still subscribe to New York Magazine which started when Brian and Em lived in NYC so that when we flew out to visit, I’d know the latest shows to see, the best restaurants and shopping. I enjoy the articles written by some brilliant journalists. I also subscribe to Vanity Fair because I love Hollywood gossip and political coverage. House Beautiful is another fave. From Em: I agree. We did a whole magazine roundup and I personally subscribe to like 10 of them and LOVE getting them every month.

To Cook And Eat

This might shock some, but we want ready-made meals – not the ones we must assemble and also gift cards for takeout. We’ve all been cooking for decades and we’re over all that shopping and prep time!

1. Freshly Meal Delivery | 2. Home Chef Delivery | 3. Sun Basket Meal Delivery

For those who do cook, they’d like cookbooks with easy recipes for two.

2. 5 Ingredient Cooking For Two | 2. The Complete Cooking for Two Cookbook | 3. The Super Easy 5-Ingredient Cookbook

If they are wine lovers, I think those Wine of the Month clubs look kind of fun.

1. First Leaf Wine Subscription | 2. Winc Wine Club | 3. Dry Farms Wine Club

Cozy PJs (But VERY Specific)

Soft, warm loungewear or pajamas. My friend Lisa likes silk pajamas as she had muscle pain and cotton or flannel get bunched up, making it difficult to move and turn. Other friends love cashmere.

1. Polka Dot Silk Pajama Set | 2. Cashmere Tapered Pant + Cashmere Asymmetrical Turtleneck Sweater | 3. Washable Silk Pajama | 4. Cambelle Cashmere Set | 5. Washable Silk Button Down Pant Set | 6. The Washable Silk Pajama Set

Photo Organization And Storage Boxes

With so much time on our hands, many of us are gathering hundreds of photos of our adult children that have been accumulating in shoe boxes. None of us trusts sending them off in the mail to be digitalized, sorry. I’m looking for big storage boxes that are safe for photos that I plan to fill and hand over to our boys this year as their Christmas gift. Just separating them into two huge piles is exhausting, but I figure they can go through and toss those they don’t want, rather than me making that decision.
From Em: So photo storage boxes and photo organization. Got it. I AM AN IMPERFECT SCRAPBOOK QUEEN!!!

1. Adorama Oversized Print Storage Box | 2. Bigso Linen Marten Photo Storage Box | 3. Rainbow Photo & Craft Keeper by Simply Tidy

Skincare And Muscle/Arthritic Creams

We older ladies really suffer from dry skin and there was unanimous agreement that we love bath oils and body lotions, exfoliants, etc., and my friend Carey has me hooked on ISDIN Antioxidant and Moisturizing Ampoules with Vitamin C and Ultra Glycans and you can use a jade roller to really get the oils to sink in.

1. StriVectin 360 Tightening Eye Serum | 2. Vitamin C Hyaluronic Acid Anti-Aging Serum | 3. Jade Roller

1. Ginger Souffle™ Whipped Body Cream | 2. Aveeno Daily Moisturizing Lotion For Dry Skin | 3. Kai Body Lotion | 4. Aveeno Positively Radiant Skin Brightening Daily Scrub

One of my friends loves Thrive Causemetics. She uses the eyeliners, mascara, cleanser, and eye brighteners. It is a wonderful company and for every product you buy, they help women “thrive” by donating products. And for removing makeup, Oil Free Neutrogena is the best.

1. Liquid Lash Extensions Mascara™ | 2. Neutrogena Oil-Free Eye Makeup Remover | 3. Infinity Waterproof Eyeliner™

Like I said, we suffer from dry skin, so protecting our skin is essential. Sunscreen and really GOOD face moisturizers are always a welcomed gift.

1. Plantscription™ SPF 25 Power Anti-Aging Cream | 2. Botanics Organic Facial Oil | 3. Intensive Moisture Balance Moisturizer | 4. PLAY Everyday Lotion SPF 50 with Sunflower Extract

Most of us over 70 ladies suffer from arthritic and muscle pain. My friend, Jo, goes to a local feed store to buy Veterinary Liniment GEL for sore muscle and joint pain relief. She has severe arthritis and she seriously swears by it! Another great gel used by me and lots of others is Voltaren.  

1. Absorbine Veterinary Sore Muscle & Joint Pain Relief Horse Liniment Gel | 2. Voltaren Arthritis Pain Gel (set of 2) | 3. Biofreeze Pain Relief Gel

For The Active Boomers

For golfing grannies, like me, we can always use golf balls & gloves, actual or online golf lessons (my friend Carey swears by Rotary Golf), or for those with unlimited budgets, a golf stay at a fabulous golf resort would be really cool. I also would love this monogrammed golf head cover (under $40!).

Many of us are walking a lot during the pandemic. Some like walking poles. Ear pods are good. Also, the yoga pants that have a side pocket for cell phones. I have a couple of friends who sustained pretty serious injuries by tripping on uneven sidewalks & didn’t have phones to call for help. Fanny packs that fit cell phones would be good too. 

I like this Pearl Angeli crossbody Phone Bag Wallet on Amazon. It’s great for taking along in my golf bag or for times when a heavy shoulder bag hurts my arthritic neck.

One of my favorite gifts from the kids last year was six months of Pilates classes.  They are pricey, but oh so good for me. The same holds true for dance lessons (two friends want to learn to tap dance), gym memberships, Zumba classes, etc. For those with unlimited budgets, several friends love those electric bikes. My friend Pam lives in Newport Beach and she and her husband ride them daily.

1. Walking Poles | 2. Leggings | 3. Air Pods | 4. Monogrammed Golf Head Cover | 5. Pearl Angeli crossbody Phone Bag Wallet | 6. Everywhere Belt Bag

Ways To Connect With Family

Brian and Emily gifted us with a Portal last Christmas and we LOVE it. It’s a got a screen the size of a PC, but it plugs in so you can visit for hours without running out of power like you do with FaceTime. Plus, Charlie and Elliot are so good on it. We can play games and make funny faces with emojis and we even tell them stories that are programmed inside. It’s just far better than FaceTime and Zoom.

Bob recently came across a little booklet his parents filled out years ago for their future grandchildren. “A Grandparent’s Legacy” was a self-published booklet my friend Sharon made for everyone in our birthday group. The questions were so good, not the standard ones you normally see. They included things like “What was your most outstanding physical feature as a child?” Bob’s dad said “prominent nose and long ear lobes”! His mom’s were her freckles. Other sections included: first job, first time in a hospital, first loves, schools attended, wedding details, favorite things like color, food, animal, song, book, singer, movie star, travels, greatest, memorable historical event, etc. Instead of writing down memories in a booklet that can get lost, I think it would be more fun to do a video of the grandkids asking those questions of grandparents, zeroing in on faces & reactions!

Random Product Recs From Friends

1. Lay-n-Go COSMO Cosmetic Bag | 2. Flower Delivery Subscriptions | 3. Linen Tissue Box

1. Lay-n-Go COSMO Cosmetic Bag: For when we can all travel again, this is a GREAT traveling cosmetic bag.
2. Flower Delivery Subscriptions: We all love fresh flowers and an occasional, or monthly surprise bouquet would be lovely.
3. Linen Tissue Box: Cute kleenex box covers are a wonderful gift because we always have Kleenex boxes in the living room laying around and they could be cuter.

1. Apple Watch | 2. Dyson Cordless Vacuum | 3. Breville Crispy Crust Pizza Maker

1. Apple Watch: I kinda want an Apple watch, but I think the price is steep…so it would be a really great surprise to receive one.
2. Dyson Cordless Vacuum: This is a great gift because it’s so much lighter than our 20-year-old models.  
3. Breville Crispy Crust Pizza Maker: My friend Patti raves about the Breville Crispy Crust Pizza Maker from William Sonoma. It’s a bit pricey, but think how much you spend on pizza a year. My Bob would have pizza every night for dinner if he could.

Gift Cards, Always

Find out where your mother/father goes for a pedicure, spray tan, hair styling, personal training, massage, etc. See if you can pay for several sessions so that when the appointment is over, the vendor can say, “Your son/daughter has already taken care of the bill.” We’d love that!

Last, but not least, we all love gift cards for our favorite stores like Anthropologie, Kate Spade, Tory Burch, Free People, Nordstrom, Nieman Marcus, Athleta, Target, Women’s golf shops like Golf Galaxy, Budget Golf, PGA Tour, Callaway, etc. We love to shop and want to not feel guilty about spending our retirement!

Emily here! I don’t know about you but I just learned A LOT and it makes me feel very confident while shopping. Boomers if you are reading just send a list to your kids – we struggle and just want to get you something you really WANT 🙂

Thanks Suz!!!!

Opener Image Credit: Photo by Tessa Neustadt | From: At Home With Ginny For Christmas

Fin Mark

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Rusty

Man, I’d like all that stuff too, except for the golfing gear coz I’ve never played golf… but maybe I might try?

One suggestion: If you’re going to get book gift cards, don’t choose Amazon!
Choose a local small business in the recipient’s area instead.
Like, really, let’s support small businesses and get over the addictive soul sucking ease of Amazon. 🙄

These women sound like go-getters who know their stuff!
Whoo hoo! and great post “Suz”! 😊

Katherine

I agree, Rusty! Millennial here, and I whole heartedly agree with supporting local bookstores. If one near your recipient doesn’t deliver there are bookstores like BookHampton, Diesel, Chronicle Books that are independent and ship nationwide.

Renee

I agree completely! Another small business that we can support is independently owned theaters and movie theaters so please reconsider not buying any movie theater gift cards. These businesses will eventually be able to open back up and by purchasing gift cards for these businesses, we help to ensure that they’ll still be around in 2021.
Thank you for this list, Emily!

Margaret

For those in my demographic with dogs to walk, a small fanny pack similar to the one shown (mine is from LLBean) that’s just big enough for wallet/keys/phone, plus poop bags and a folding water dish. A great addition is a water bottle holder that clips onto the belt is a great addition. I lack the skill to post links, but they are easy to find.
I particularly like the LLBean version, because it has a small interior pocket for a mask, hand sanitizer, and asthma inhaler, and a separate outer pocket for the water dish and poop bags, and then the main compartment for w/k/p.
It really is the little things.

OMG. The ready made meal subscriptions is GENIUS! I SO was meant to see this. My aging parents are needing to move to assisted-living (waiting for post-Covid) and they have been needing help with cooking and eating healthy! Thanks for the idea!

Courtney

My mom makes fun word search puzzles with large print for people with eyesight problems. She sells them on Amazon if you want to check them out. She puts so much thought and love into them and sale makes her day! https://www.amazon.com/Nina-Porter/e/B07JL3WYFK/ref=dp_byline_cont_book_1

Suzanne

Great list! These are great ideas for just about anyone. I’ve been loving The Crafter’s Box, which I was also thinking would make great gifts. While there is a subscription, it’s also possible to buy one kit/class, like basket weaving, sashiko, painting, or block printing. I do a lot of crafts, but getting all the supplies in one kit with access to an instructional video is awesome, and so much better for someone who may just want to dip their toe in a craft. I did quilling in the spring, and I ended up with a beautiful piece of art at the end of it. Their are many other small makers that provide these types of experiences, as well. Anne Weil is one. They are great options if you want to give an experience right now when in person experiences aren’t available.

AlyssaM

This is awesome! Thank for such a great recommendation!

Heather Emaus

My parents, my in laws and it seems like every retired person I know has gotten very into birding. You can be outside and distanced from folks. A good pair of binoculars, a birding guidebook (Audubon) or an online class would be what I would get my parents (if they didn’t already have that…)

Elizabeth

This is my parents. Welcome recs from anyone on binoculars for the beginning, casual birder!

Ruth Ann

Nikon has a great series
Don’t get anything stronger than 8 for someone who might have a bit of shake to their hands – 10x will shake like crazy!

j.

I LOVE THIS POST SO MUCH — thank you Emily & team and Suz for sharing!!! I was really moved by the description of subscribing to New York Magazine to learn about the city for your visits– I kind of teared up! Such a beautiful example of love from moms. And I love all of these gifts immensely, plus so many ideas I would have never thought of! Amazing gift guide. Thank you for sharing!

Jen

This is such an excellent list full of beautiful ideas. I’m seconding the belt bag/fanny pack idea, but with a twist.

The other day my mom and I were texting, but then later I tried to also call her, and she didn’t answer three calls–3!– because she wasn’t with her phone when I was trying to reach her. I suggested that she could wear a soft belt bag/fanny pack at home, one that is just big enough for her phone. That way she could keep her phone with her, but in a hands-free way. Turns out though, that soft/at home belt bags are not really an easy thing to find. I browsed and browsed on Etsy and finally found one that seemed like my mom (who is surprisingly chic for 80; no crocheted ones for her). I ordered a simple one in black linen and hope it arrives in time for Xmas.

Naomi

It’s an expensive idea, but we invested in an Apple watch with phone connection for a grandparent… she kept leaving her phone behind, forgetting it, but she’s wearing the watch, so she can call in an emergency.

JayNay

there are phone necklaces or pouches for this. here in Germany, they’re a huge trend among women. it started with moms and then everyone got in on it. xouxou is one brand that makes them.

Debbie

Isn’t the real question here addressing the fact that Brian is Joe Biden’s son? Suz, nice catch! 😉

Amber

Haha, I had the same thought! Glad to know I wasn’t the only one to pick up on that uncanny resemblance.

Jan

I love this list! Most are things I would really enjoy that others might not think of giving. I even got some stocking stuffer ideas for my husband! We are retired and really don’t ‘need’ anything😎.
(And I love the idea mentioned already of gifting small local business gift certificates!)

Deb

I do not have children but am a boomer so this list has great ideas for what to get some of my friends who like most of us don’t want anything else we need to dust or display.
In fact, out of all the lists I have seen on numerous bloggers posts this season this
would win the BLUE RIBBON of lists.
Thanks Suz and friends for all of your thoughtful intelligent suggestions.

Lauren

So so good. I feel like my mom and Suz are two peas in a pod . Great ideas! I got my mom the cutest Ban.do slippers with Pom Poms but I’m stealing a few more of these ideas.

Just a thought – not all boomers are grannies with muscle aches. The baby boomer generation is 1946 – 1964. This boomer still has a kid in college and one starting off on career goals. No aching muscles from arthritis and my paint by number would be painting a wild number on canvas.

However, nice roundup for the older generation.

A.B.

The legacy questions are so great! Can you ask Suze for more?

Cate

Yes please! Would love more!

WR

I’m a fit, active, older Gen X mom (2 years away from Boomer cutoff) and this could be my wishlist! Great ideas! Love, love, love. I’ll just link to this article if anyone asks me what I want. Thank you, Suz and Emily!

Ally

This is SO good. Thank you.

Lori S. Biesecker

I think this is the best list of gift ideas for older people I have ever read — truly helpful to have specific favorite products mentioned, and in some categories I hadn’t thought of. Thank you very much!

Kj

When our kids are out of the house the biggest gift they could give would be saying “Don’t decorate for the holidays if you just do it for us”. Then we could relax and leave most of that junk in the attic. 😂

StephanieZ

I gave my mom a puzzle that was a picture of our family and she was super amped about it. I love uploading my own photos to paint by numbers and then I paint and gifted it already painted. This way I get to experience the soothing experience of painting and they still get a great painting. It helps that most of my friends don’t want to do the painting part:)

Chelsea

Love this! Also, do your kids call your MIL Sue Sue? My grandmother’s name was Sue, and we all called her SuSu. 😊

Diane

So helpful, Suz & friends- great ideas for our kidz!

Edith

Great, great ideas!

Lisa

My FIL is tough to buy for because he’s very into getting rid of clutter- but last year I figured it out- he loves fancy food! He’s the one who buys smoked salmon and oysters and lamb. (Not at the same time) In typical times he uses the excuse of having company to splurge on pricier food and share, so I know he’ll enjoy a treat.

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