“I don’t want anything that takes up space or I have to dust.
I just want my children to be together and get along.”
Each year I ask aging mothers what they’d like for Mother’s Day. The above quote sounds unappreciative or perhaps an attempt at humor. I probed a bit. This grandmother means exactly what she said and elaborated. Saying she has everything she needs, she emphasizes she’s trying to get rid of–not acquire–stuff.
(5/2015–Update: Full Disclosure. This grandmother now, selectively, uses her iPad, but still handwrites all personal correspondence. Stationery is an always-welcome gift for her.)
To make the point: her adult children gave her an iPad at Christmas (she doesn’t like using computers, hers was 20-years-old). She knows her new email address is 2 words (her children signed her up); has no idea the word order nor whether they’re case- sensitive. What she wants most: having her children get along and time when the whole family (she’s widowed) can be together. Hmmmm… do we remember to give Moms what they want and avoid imposing “hidden agenda” (something we want for them for a reason) gifts?
10 Mother’s Day Gifts–that don’t last forever:
The presentation makes them even more special
1. A pretty box* (a Valentine’s suggestion this year), with card saying something like: “I’ve put loads of love in this box. When you need a little, just open.” Possibly include a picture of yourself/ family/grandchildren/ pet/hearts/candies–you get the idea–in the box.
2. Beautifully decorated little cupcakes from the bakery (or DIY). Sr. Advisor R loves the looks and the taste–just the right size for an older woman, she says.
3. Selection of special teas or coffees
4. LaDuree or other macaroons–eye-appealing, delicious, indulgent, extravagant
5. Lottery tickets are exciting for some. Who doesn’t like to win! Gift them in decorative box or bag .
6. Lotions/oils could be called pampering, depending on the cost. As body chemistry changes with age, they are a necessity. Older women’s skin is at risk for dryness, accentuated wrinkles etc. Moisturizing products to the rescue.
7. Perfume is not in style in some places. However, the 74-year-old grandmother has a favorite perfume. It’s one gift she loves, she says–and can use it up. Check out Mom’s favorite perfume? It’s usually nicely packaged.
8. Appointments at the hairdressers–or at beauty colleges (less expensive), leave women looking better and no doubt feeling better when they look in the mirror. Messy hair spoils appearance–no news there! Make arrangements, make a gift card. This gift can lift an old mother’s (or younger one’s) spirits and get couch potatoes out of the house.
9. Pedicures are a necessity when people are either no longer able to reach–or clearly see–their toe nails. Older women’s toes aren’t often visible to us (they don’t wear flip-flops). Have you checked your mother’s? Old nails can get thick, hard to cut and ugly. It’s recommended–especially for diabetics–that pedicures become routine around age 65. What could seem like an indulgence for younger people, becomes a necessity at a certain age.
10. Movie script and restaurants’ gift certificates get Mom out of the house with a friend for entertainment or a meal. Moms say a break from cooking is a gift.
Most older people want to simplify and declutter; not add stuff. The above gifts get used up and can help mothers age happy and well. And doesn’t pretty packaging make them look special. *These boxes were $1.00 at–I think–Dollar Tree stores this week.
Note: “Newsworthy” (top right). Links to timely information and research from top universities, plus some fun stuff
–to help parents age well.
Related: Click “Great Gifts” tab under header at top.