Adventures in Retirement: Holiday Shopping for Seniors

Written by Bill Leavitt. Posted in Featured, Senior Living

Published on November 23, 2016 with No Comments

Most of us seniors have changed our attitudes towards gift giving.  As Christmas and other holidays approach we want to show our love of family and friends through the tradition of gift-giving.  The problem we face is that it is more difficult to find the appropriate gifts for seniors.

Most seniors have the things they need.  Clothing, houseware, jewelry, shoes, knick-knacks, and toiletries are things we tend to buy ourselves.  If we don’t buy them ourselves, we have strong preferences for brands, colors, designs and types of things.  We have all received gifts that were not what we would have liked to receive.  Yet we can’t complain.  Family members are trying to show their love and affection though the gift-giving process.

My wife and I have solved this problem by making lists of what we would like to receive (including exactly what it is and where it can be bought).   If there are enough suggestions on the list, we can still be surprised.  I usually try to find some small gift that is unexpected and perhaps fun.  We can even share these lists with our children.  My wife’s parents even went shopping together, and then wrapped each other’s gifts. Not much surprise there.

For those who prefer the old-fashioned way, here are some suggestions that will likely hit the spot.  If you know what restaurants your gift-receiver likes, you can buy a gift card.  You can be sure that a gift card will be put to good use.  You can also buy gift cards for ice cream stores (a preference of mine), gas stations, drug stores, coffee shops, department stores and even grocery stores.  You can get something the person wouldn’t buy for himself or herself, such as a dinner at a good restaurant or a massage.

I have always liked personal gifts that are created instead of bought.  One of my favorites was a football signed by all the members of my favorite college football team.  It brought tears to my eyes.  A model of a favorite car I owned when I was younger is also an example.  Hand-made cards, framed pictures of children or grandchildren, works of art, poems, etc., may have special significance to the person you give them to.

The key, I guess, is to think about the person you are giving a gift to, and consider their age, their interests and your relationship to them in discovering a gift that they will treasure, appreciate, or at least use.

Bill Leavitt is a retired technical writer from Valparaiso.  He has taught at Purdue University Calumet and has a small consulting company.  An unusual activity for Bill is ski racing; he has qualified and raced at the national amateur championships numerous times (NASTAR) in Colorado.  Leavitt is author of a guide book to create a successful and active retirement, entitled Retirement: Life’s Greatest Adventure.  For more information or how to purchase, visit  The book can also be purchased for $13.00 (plus Indiana sales tax) at Remarkable Book Shop in Merrillville and the Visitor’s Center in Hammond (just off the Borman Expressway); or it can be ordered directly from Bill Leavitt, 417 Killarney Lane, Valparaiso, IN 46385 ($17, including tax and shipping).


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About Bill Leavitt

All opinions, conclusions or recommendations expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Chronicle. Bill Leavitt is a technical writer from Valparaiso. After retiring from a large corporation in Chicago, he did technical writing consulting for many companies. He currently teaches part-time at Purdue University Calumet. You can order Leavitt’s book, “Retirement: Life’s Greatest Adventure,” by sending $16.65 (includes shipping and sales tax) made payable to Write On Technical Writing, Inc., P.O. Box 132,Valparaiso, IN 46384-0132. Or, visit for more information.

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