McGregor Says: Shopping for seniors at Christmas

It is now December, so I can start writing about Christmas. There are many debates about when the Christmas season should start.  When is it acceptable to start decorating inside, when to put up the lights outside, when to start shopping or baking.

I leave it all until very close to Christmas Day, and by then people that don’t even live in my house start pestering me, calling me Scrooge and forcing the spirit of the season upon me.

But recently I saw an article titled ‘The Top Christmas Gift Ideas for the Senior in Your Life.’ In the past I had viewed such articles from the point of view of the buyer of those gifts, but this time I perused the list as the possible recipient of some these selections.

I recall buying my Dad the annual plaid shirt, the box of chocolate covered cherries, and like the rest of the boys, he got new socks and underwear. Of course, we could always buy him something for his car but we didn’t realize how often we did that.

When we sold his car the trunk was full of everything Canadian Tire made that would plug into the cigarette lighter, various sizes of flashlights, jumper cables and first-aid kits, all of them still in the original unopened packaging.

But the Top Gift ideas are much different than those practical items. Of course, we have to assume that these folks we are buying for probably have everything they need so we have to get creative. For instance they suggest the Color Weather Station Display with the five-in-one Weather Monitoring System because, apparently, older people spend more time keeping track of the weather because it has ‘a direct effect on their daily activities.’

My Dad had a stick on a string with a sign that said, “If it’s wet, it’s raining, if it’s dry it’s sunny, if it’s moving it’s windy, if it’s gone, somebody took it.” We’ve had only five days in two months without rain. We don’t need to monitor the weather in Langley.

Among suggestions such as iPads or single cup coffee makers, which most seniors won’t use because there are too many things to screw up, one of the best suggestions was a Digital Key Finder. Now we’re talking. This device goes on your key ring and consists of two KeyRingers that communicate with each other up to 300 feet. The bestselling feature is that there is no set up, it’s ready to go right out of the box.

They also suggest concert tickets, a card shuffler, calculators, phones or books that have big numbers or lettering and apparently a magnifying glass is always a welcome gift.

Somehow these suggestions that seemed practical to me a few years ago, I now consider condescending and insulting. I can see just fine, unless it’s dark and raining because the Ministry of Highways no longer paints new yellow lines on the road each year. I can hear just fine as long as you all don’t talk at once and turn that TV down.

I am not ready for compression stockings or a remote controlled alarm clock and I have plenty of Isotoner gloves, somewhere, in the house or car.

I don’t need much, just a Tim Hortons gift card, and come and sit and have coffee with me and chat a while. That’s a gift that goes a long way. At least that’s what McGregor says.