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.
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
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.
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 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!
For those who do cook, they’d like cookbooks with easy recipes for two.
If they are wine lovers, I think those Wine of the Month clubs look kind of fun.
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!!!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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: 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: 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 🙂