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Thursday 29th February 2024

Twelve great christmas gift ideas for older people (that aren’t socks!)

Nick Daws suggests 12 thoughtful Christmas gifts for older people, ranging from tech gadgets to experiences and comfort items.

It won’t have escaped your notice that Christmas will soon be here. 

It’s well known that older friends and relatives can be the hardest to choose gifts for. But don’t despair – as Mouthy Money’s resident old person, I’m here with some ideas to make gift-buying for this age group a bit easier for you!

None of the suggestions below will break the bank. For the electronic ones, though, you might just want to check first how they might be received.

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Some older people are wary of trying new things, but I believe most will enjoy and get a lot of benefit from all these products. So a little bit of gentle encouragement if they express doubts might be in order!

Let’s start with a couple of the more techy ones then…

1.Kindle e-reader

As an older person myself (I’m 67) I love my Kindle. 

Of course, people of all ages use these devices, but for older people they have two particular attractions. One is you can adjust the brightness, font size, and so on. For those of us whose eyesight isn’t what it once was, the benefits of this can’t be overstated.

The other attraction is that on a Kindle you can literally carry hundreds of books around with you. If – like many of us oldies – your shelves are already groaning from the weight of books on them, a Kindle can provide a great alternative option.

Various models of Kindle are available from Amazon at prices from around £75.

2. Echo smart speaker

In my view an Amazon Echo smart speaker with Alexa would make a great gift for any older person, even if they aren’t tech-savvy (though these devices do of course need wifi to work). 

Once the speaker has been set up – which you can help with if required – they can control it using just their voice. As you may know, you can ask it to play your favourite music, set alarms and reminders, ask questions, and much more besides.

For an older person living alone especially, having an Echo can provide companionship as well as reassurance in the event of an emergency (you can ask Alexa to call any of your contacts for you, though currently you can’t get it to phone 999). And an Echo smart speaker is a present that will go on giving through Christmas and well beyond. 

Again, various models are available from Amazon, including my personal favourite, the Echo Show. This has a display screen, so you can do video calls on it if you like. Prices range from £35 upwards, with generous discounts frequently on offer.

3. Afternoon tea voucher

Dare I say it, this might be especially popular among female friends and relatives, but plenty of men will enjoy it too. Or you could buy this as a joint gift, of course. 

Vouchers are available to suit all budgets, starting from around £30 to £200 for a champagne afternoon tea at Fortnum and Mason! Visit the Virgin Experience Days website for a wide range of options.

4. Hot air balloon ride 

This is another very popular gift among older people. It’s an opportunity to enjoy an exhilarating flight in a hot air balloon with stunning views of the UK landscape. 

Vouchers are available from Virgin Balloon Flights for prices between £150 and £200 for a one-hour flight, including a celebratory glass of Prosecco afterwards. Flights take place in the UK between March and October.

5. Christmas hamper

Who doesn’t enjoy a hamper of festive food and drink at Christmas? And that applies especially to older people on a limited income, who may relish the opportunity to enjoy some little luxuries that would normally be beyond their budget.

You could put together a basket filled with quality chocolates, nuts, gourmet snacks, cakes, biscuits, and a bottle of fine wine or champagne. Alternatively you can buy a ready-made hamper from suppliers such as Prestige Hampers or Marks and Spencer. Prices range from £25 upwards (including delivery).

6. Magazine or newspaper subscription

Choose a magazine or newspaper subscription that aligns with their interests, e.g. gardening, travel, cooking, or current events. Another good option might be Radio Times, as many older people consume a lot of TV and radio. 

This is another present that keeps on giving throughout the year. Just remember to purchase a gift subscription rather than a standard one, or your subscription will automatically renew.

7. Artisan chocolates

You can’t go too far wrong with chocolates. But except perhaps for your least favoured relatives, a tin of Quality Street isn’t going to cut it. 

So why not push the boat out and buy them some luxury, hand-made, artisan chocolates? There are various local shops specialising in this, and as ever Amazon sell a good range. Here are some I bought my sister as a thank-you for putting me up for a few days in the summer. She tells me she and her husband enjoyed all the different flavours and quickly polished them off!

Click here to visit the Amazon sales page

Prices for boxes of artisan chocolates range from £15 upwards. They are guaranteed to bring a bit of good cheer to anyone’s Christmas celebrations!

8. Digital photo frame

Load a digital photo frame with a collection of your friend or relative’s favourite pictures. This way, they can enjoy a rotating display of memories without the need for multiple printed photos. And compared with the latter option, it’s a great space-saver as well!

Most frames come with a remote control; they may also have extra features such as a built-in clock/calendar. Prices range from £40 upwards. You can view a selection on this Amazon web page.

9. Cosy blanket or throw

A soft and luxurious blanket or throw (such as the one pictured below from Amazon) is perfect for staying warm during the winter months. And of course it can help save on energy bills as well.

Click here to visit the Amazon sales page.

Prices range from £15 upwards (more for those with built-in electric heating). Look for one in their favorite colour or with a pattern that matches their decor.

10. Ergonomic gardening tools set

For those with green fingers, consider a set of ergonomic gardening tools (like this one perhaps). These tools are designed to reduce the strain on joints and muscles, making gardening more comfortable and enjoyable. Prices range from £15 upwards.

11. Subscription to a streaming service

Give the gift of entertainment with a subscription to a streaming service like Netflix or Amazon Prime Video. This will provide a wide range of films and TV shows for your friend or relative to enjoy at their leisure. This is another gift whose benefits will extend well beyond Christmas itself. 

12. Comfortable slippers

I’ll close with an ‘old-school’ gift, but nonetheless one that will be very much appreciated by many older people. 

Opt for a pair of high-quality, comfortable slippers. Look for features such as memory-foam insoles and non-slip soles to ensure they stay cosy and safe around the house. 

You can expect to pay from £20 upwards for a decent pair of slippers. They are available from many high street stores including Marks and Spencer or (inevitably) from Amazon.

So there you have it: twelve great gifts for older people – one for each day of Christmas – and not a sock among them! 

Remember to take into account personal preferences and interests when choosing a gift, to make it truly special.

If you have any comments or questions about this article, as ever, please do post them below.

Nick Daws

Mouthy Blogger

Nick Daws is a semi-retired freelance writer and editor. He is the author of over 30 non-fiction books, including Start Your Own Home-Based Business and The Internet for Writers. He lives in Burntwood, Staffordshire, where he has been running his personal finance blog at Poundsandsense.com for over seven years.

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