When it comes to giving gifts to our loved ones, there are times we could all use extra inspiration to find things that are meaningful, or ones that have an instantaneous impact for the receiver. This can be particularly difficult when it comes to the seniors in our lives who often insist they don’t need or want anything, thus offering few clues as to what would make a real difference to them.
But, if they had to have something, what would it be? The integratedliving team went on a quest to find out, and our clients delivered, telling us honestly what they would be most grateful for this Christmas.
It’s important to remind ourselves there is no need to limit these lists, gifts and gestures to Christmas time. Why not spread the generous festive spirit throughout the year? Be it for birthdays or other special occasions, after or during an illness or following some difficult news, when they seem like they need an extra pick-me-up, or for no reason at all.
Random acts of kindness can restore faith in both receiver and giver where it may have all but disappeared. People doing kind things for no reason has a special magic that highlights the great privilege of being alive and human. And, after the ongoing challenges of a global pandemic, we could all use an extra reminder or two.
For older loved ones, it can often be much less about a material offering, and more about the gift of presence and relational gestures, and the way in which the gift is delivered. Don’t forget, the hugs and smiles as you hand the gift to them is of equal (often more) significance than what’s hidden in the wrapping.
So here we have it, candid answers to an honest question. What would the seniors in our lives really like for Christmas?
For your ease, we’ve divided their answers into sections – wrappable things, wheels, experiences and Christmas miracles, and we will explore each of them a little as we go.
Interestingly, transportation (and perhaps the freedom it brings) demanded its own section, with new and classic cars remaining a popular wish of a lifetime.
By far the most popular Christmas wish was for an experience – be it a feeling, a gesture, or something that would create a longed-for feeling, such as the relief of a clean kitchen. Hugs also received multiple votes, and above all, seniors wished to be surrounded by their family at Christmas. It would seem it really is true, your presence can be presents enough.
- A nice, fine day spent with the family
- A good bit of muscle to help at home
- To say hello to a dear friend
- A hug from my daughter
- To spend time with the grandkids
- I would love to see my family (kids) back in New Zealand
- Friends and family at the table, and a glass of nice wine, would be perfect
- To see my children
- To have all my family together
- To give my mum a hug
- A hot-air balloon ride in beautiful Australian landscapes
- A hot-air balloon in beautiful European landscapes
- A clean kitchen
- Just to be happy
- To travel overseas again – revisit special places and see new ones before we can’t
Then we have those ‘things’ that can be wrapped (well, maybe with a few leaves poking out when it comes to the plants). Specific material things that our seniors need or want that would brighten up their homes and days. Christmas and birthdays (or anytime) are a great time to get these, yet often it will be up to us to pay attention and take note of these things throughout the rest of the year so they don’t go forgotten or unasked for. Keeping a list of things your loved ones have either mentioned to you, or that you noticed might be useful to them, is a helpful thing for all involved.
- A lemon tree
- New photos of the grandchildren
- A new hat
- A flowering orchid
- A box of chocolates from Max Brenner
It may be a surprise to some that cars are still high on people’s wish lists in later life. It seems the allure of certain cars never wanes, and perhaps the fact several are of the classic variety could indicate that memories of special times gone by is forever strong. It is also worth considering that cars and driver’s licences bring with them a freedom that so many humans crave, no matter what our age.
- A new car
- A new driver’s licence
- 1940 Mercedes Benz V8 convertible
- 1951 Mercedes Sports car
- 1948 Cadillac Convertible
Another important learning from this list of Christmas wishes is that age is no barrier to big dreams. Be it peace on earth or oodles of money, most people will long for something we can’t possibly give them. Yet knowing what our loved ones wish for in their particular dreams can help us understand them a little better. And seeking to know and understand another person better, especially a loved one, can be one of the sweetest gifts you can possibly give another.
- Peace and civility
- To be young again
- Just to be happy
- A million dollars
- Open borders nationally and internationally so family can visit
And so whatever it is you and your loved ones wish for this festive season and in the year ahead, we hope it leads to more smiles, hugs and joy for you all.
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