Rightsizing Gifts: Thoughtful, No-Clutter Gifts for Aging Parents

Your parents live far away. You want to be there for their birthday, anniversaries and other special event days, but that’s not always possible.

How would you like an inexpensive way to let them know you are thinking of them? Something that would keep them looking forward to the days leading up to a special event? Something that made you both look forward to daily contact?

I have JUST the thing for you!

My grandmother just had her 88th birthday and two of her daughters decided it would be a great idea to send her a care package of packages. Her birthday is on the 16th of January, so they sent 16 small, individually wrapped gifts with the instructions that she was to open one every day from January 1 until her birthday.

She could open them in ANY order she liked, and they called her each day to see which one she had unwrapped. She LOVED the special attention and was nearly giddy about the prospect of having another gift to open the following day. It was a lovely experience for everyone involved.

The gifts were not expensive and they were NOT things that added to the clutter. There are many examples that you could use and here are a few ideas:

  • a special, scented soap
  • a particular spice for cooking
  • a tiny box of gourmet chocolates
  • a tin of herbal tea
  • a good book
  • a magazine issue (or a magazine subscription in his/her name)
  • a new pair of reading glasses
  • a pair of new gloves
  • a handkerchief
  • a colorful block of post-it notes
  • a package of seeds to plant
  • a special coffee blend packet
  • a family photo from your last visit
  • a roll of stamps
  • stationery/note cards
  • a smooth writing pen
  • a magnetic grocery list pad to keep on the refrigerator
  • a music cd
  • hand cream

You get the idea. Now think of your own special someone and create a list of things you think they would like, could use or might need. Make sure it’s a consumable that will enhance the quality of their life and not add to the clutter. Then select the next upcoming special date and send it out with all the love that the box can hold (and don’t forget to drop in the individually wrapped packages)!

Everyone likes getting mail and packages are the best! If you have a birthday that falls early in the month (on the first or second for instance) you can always do a 7-day care package for the days leading up to the date.

And then, when you call (or they call you) each day to share the latest discovery, it will spark conversation and strengthen the communication bond, which matters much more than the items that caused it. And most of all, it will let them know that you are thinking of them — even when you can’t be there!

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(Note: Image provided by ppdigital of Morguefile.com)