8 Christmas Gift Ideas for Elderly Parents or Grandparents

gifts for elderly parentsHere are eight creative – yet practical – Christmas gift ideas for grandparents, elderly parents, or beloved old folks. They include everything from Kindles to memory quilts, and they’ll help you wrap up your Christmas shopping!

One of the best gifts I’ve ever given my elderly in-laws is the automatic card shuffler (pictured). I describe it in more detail below, or you can see what it’s like on Amazon: Automatic Deck Card Shuffler.

Before you get anxious or worried about finding the perfect gift for your grandparents, remember that you can do no wrong as a grandchild – or if you’re a gift giver! Elderly folks will love you no matter what (especially if they’re your grandpa or grandma).

And, remember how healthy it is for elderly people to be challenged and learn new things – which is why I think a Kindle Fire in full color with built-in Wi-Fi is a great gift idea for elderly folks.

One of my coworkers was given a Kindle as a gift last Christmas, and she LOVES it. She didn’t think she would, but she thinks it’s way better than print books. She’s in her mid-60, and say it was the best gift she ever got!

If you don’t have a lot of money to spend on your grandparents’ gift, remember that you can always ask your family members to pitch in financially. Pooling your money to buy a gift may be the best solution for them, too — because finding the right gift for a grandparent is challenging for everyone.

Gift Tips for Elderly Parents and Grandparents

The best gift ideas for grandparents and elderly parents involve stuff that you can do together. Don’t just give your grandpa and grandma another picture frame! Give gifts that encourage y’all to spend time as a family.

Many elderly folks like knowing what’s up with the weather. Last Christmas, I gave my husband a Touchscreen Programmable Thermostat. He’s not an elderly parent or grandparent – but we were at my in-laws, and they loved that gift!

A book about writing their life story – or a professional historian

Many people don’t realize how much history is lost when their grandparents or elderly parents pass on, and they regret not writing down their family’s life history or genealogy. A great gift idea for older people is a book about writing your memoirs – such as Turning Memories Into Memoirs: A Handbook for Writing Lifestories – perhaps accompanied by a professional life history writer.

I used to write life histories for older people, and was often given as a gift. That is, family members would hire me to write their grandparents’ or elderly parents’ memoirs – and the old folks loved it!

A book or class about computers or the internet for seniors

Many grandparents can’t keep in touch through email, Facebook, Twitter, or their children’s blogs because they don’t know how. So, a book or class about computers and the internet – such as Internet for Seniors in Easy Steps – For the Over 50’s – would not only connect them and you, it would keep your grandparents’ brains young, improve their memories, and help them stay in touch with technology. This isn’t the best gift for grandparents because it’s a little ho-hum, but it’s practical.


The best, most creative gift idea for elderly parents and grandparents are things that match their hobbies, lifestyles, and interests. For instance, if they’re into gardening, surprise them with easy-to-put-on garden shoes.


Tickets to the Cirque de Soleil, concerts, sporting events

I once lived next to a little old lady who had season’s tickets to the city’s hockey team (the Edmonton Oilers!). She went to every game, and took a different person with her every time. It was fun — I went with her once — and I think it kept her young and lively. Tickets to events are one of the best gifts for grandparents.

Gift certificates, gift cards, gift baskets

Remember how I said the best Christmas gift for elderly parents and grandparents is time spent together? Well, you could send them a My Cup of Tea Gourmet Food Gift Basket, and tell them you’ll visit every week or every two weeks to dive into it together!

I like giving (and receiving) Amazon gift cards almost as much as gourmet gift baskets (which I love a lot)! Good types of gift certificates for grandparents include restaurants, beauty salons, health spas, community centers, gas stations, grocery stores, and continuing education classes.

If your parents have a dog, read Best Gifts for Dog Lovers.

An annual membership to a local zoo, aquarium, or museum

Some grandparents would love to round up a few friends and go to fun places like the aquarium or zoo! For others, it’s a great way to spend time with grandchildren. A gift of an annual membership could encourage the family to spend more time together and get to know each other in a different way.

A memory quilt

Creating a quilt out of baby clothes, army uniforms (if your grandparent or dad served in the military), wedding dresses, and other unique clothes or heirlooms is a very special gift. Quilts are practical and meaningful Christmas gift ideas for grandparents or elderly parents, especially if you make it yourself – or you make it with them!

A monthly flower bouquet – a whimsical gift for elderly parents or grandparents

A monthly bouquet of flowers, roses, tulips, or your grandma’s favorite flower is a wonderful gift that will remind her that you love her – and all year long! Same with a monthly bottle of red wine or Scotch for dear old grandpa, or perhaps a gourmet nut and dried fruit basket from Amazon.com.

christmas gift ideas for grandparents

Many elderly people love playing cards!

The first Christmas gift idea for elderly parents or grandparents that I mentioned was the automatic card shuffler that that I bought my elderly in-laws (my mother-in-law is 71 and my father-in-law is 82). We use it every year when we visit and play cards. This is one of the best gifts I’ve ever given them – even if they only use it when I’m there.  I still love using it to shuffle the deck!

The Da Vinci Wood Automatic Card Shuffler is better because it’s made of wood. The plastic card shuffler I gave my in-laws is super duper loud. It works great, but it’s all plastic and it makes a horrendous sound when it shuffles the cards. We laugh about it – we have to issue a warning before using it!

I welcome your thoughts on these Christmas gifts ideas for elderly parents or grandparents below.

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Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen
Welcome - I'm glad you're here! I can't give advice, but you're welcome to share your experience below. I'm a writer in Vancouver; my degrees are in Psychology, Education, and Social Work. I live with my husband, two dogs, and cat. We are childless, & have made peace with it. It helps to love Jesus :-)

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36 Responses

  1. Laurie says:

    Thanks for your thoughts on these Christmas gift ideas for elderly parents or grandparents! If they like coffees and teas, then a nice gift of fresh ground coffee beans would be delicious.

    We often buy our elderly parents gift certificates for restaurants — the inexpensive ones. They don’t like the expensive restaurants as much.

  2. Gramps says:

    Gifts for the elderly loved ones in our lives have definitely got to be picked out with care, and bought with purpose in mind. There is just no sense in sending them something they don’t want, won’t use, or can’t use. For this reason — we recommend using Gramps Gifts for all of your old people gift buying needs. It seems like a great site with only the best items pre-selected that your grandma or grandpa will love!

  3. Laurie says:

    We always buy a gift certificate to Uncle Albert’s for my in-laws. They don’t need more stuff, and aren’t into kindles or memory quilts or live performances. But, they love the senior’s plates at their local restaurant, so that’s what we’re giving them for Christmas!

  4. Don says:

    Hi Laury,

    Good to see some tips for Christmas presents. I have to do all my shopping still and a new smart phone for my gf seems the way to go. Last year I spend my entire budget on prescription meds for my dad but he is OK now so I have something extra to spend.

    Hope you have a nice Christmas eve!

  5. Kris says:

    If you haven’t thought about a camera for your elderly parents, it’s a good gift idea. Get one with a large screen so they can see the picture better. This is a Christmas gift they can use right away.

  6. Laurie says:

    Yay, this article made it to my home page as one of the Most Popular Articles! There must be lots of people searching for Christmas gift ideas for their elderly parents or grandparents….I hope you find what you’re looking for here…

  7. Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen says:

    Thanks for adding to my list of the best Christmas gifts for elderly parents and grandparents! Next year, I’ll write a whole new article…and it’ll contain the best Christmas gift ideas on the internet!!!

  8. jessah gomez says:

    that’s fabulous! all of those 7 items for a gift is good enough. i’m pretty sure they love it and grateful if they will receive it. i just can imagine the beam in their faces, i bet you.

  9. JackPCS says:

    Some terrific ideas here. Thank you! In the category of great gifts for an aging parent are games and puzzles, to help keep the mind sharp and flexible. Chess is a marvelous exercise for the planning, problem-solving, and pattern-recognition functions of the brain, and having a board and chessmen of one’s own – be it a simple travel kit or one the elaborate themed chess sets. It can be the perfect incentive to take up the game, either after a lifetime or for the first time. http://www.purelychesssets.com

  10. Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen says:

    Thanks for your Christmas gift ideas and tips for elderly parents and grandparents!

    I love the idea of the book for mothers and daughters, and writing in it. How lovely, and so thoughtful.

    The other gift ideas are great, too…thanks for sharing your tips :-)

  11. Pam Cant says:

    One of the best gifts I have received was a book from my daughter about mothers and daughters and their relationships. She first read the book and, at the end of each chapter, she wrote a note. Some notes were about events or things that we have shared; other times she asked a question that the chapter brought to mind. Then she gave it to me. I am now adding my notes, and then I will give it back to her.

  12. Jen Kline says:

    Add this to the list, the MICROLITE, tiny LED light so you can actually read your remote control in the dark, perfect for low vision and really anyone, since remotes don’t ever light up in the dark. I love mine!!!

    only $20 for three Microlites

  13. Jeff Hunter says:

    Wii Fit is an awesome gift. I purchased one for my parents last year, and they love playing it. Not only when the grandkids come over, but when it’s just the two of them. It did take them a little time to learn how to set it up, but then they realized that they could just leave it on all the time.

    This year, I’m got my parents a subscription to Readeo, a cool new website I just found out about. It makes it easy for them to read to our kids online–one of my kids’ favorite things ever.

  14. What a perfect post. Thank you! I teach seniors to write their (wonderful!) life stories, but didn’t know about “Turning Memoires into Memoir..” Thank you so much.

  15. Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen says:

    A Christmas gift for older people who have pets is a gift certificate to a dog groomer or doggy daycare.

  16. Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen says:

    Some grandparents or elderly parents ight like a gag gift as a Christmas gift! It just depends on their personality….after all, they probably have everything else they need. Except for a Kindle — I really think that’s a cool gift idea. So is a watch winder :-)

    The best Christmas gift for elderly parents or grandparents is TIME. I don’t mean a watch….I mean coffee dates, trips to the library, concerts, the mall, etc. Spending time together is the best gift you could give anything at Christmas or all year ’round.

  17. Iona says:

    I know it’s kinda mean, but sometimes I like to play pranks to my grandparents 😀
    Last year we had our Christmas at their house and I bought a Fake-Spilled-Wine-Glass-with-Red-Wine.

    Everybody had a good laugh, but they didn’t. Oh well, I think this year I’m gonna get them something more ‘serious’. I was thinking about a watch winder coz I think my grandpa might need it.

    But since I don’t know much about it, if anyone have any suggestions, let me know. Thanks

  18. Natalie Locke says:

    You guys are the best. I love those ideas. You gave me some good suggestions for my elderly parents. These ideas are really going to help this year.
    I have the best husband! Since I’m just over 5 feet tall I struggle with having to reach. I developed shoulder pain from pulling down the back door of my Caravan minivan. My husband found a product that really helped. The wrapper said [ Mom’s Little Helper Handle ]. It’s a strap that hangs from the handle of the back door. It’s much easier to close the van door. What a God sent! You can’t believe how much it helped with shopping! I hope this helps!
    Happy Holidays!

  19. Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen says:

    Thanks for your tips and comments! I agree that one of the best Christmas gift ideas for elderly parents is something computer-related, such as better email access.

    Yes, I suppose gift baskets aren’t as useful in the long-term as computer technical skills are…and teaching your elderly parents email or computer stuff can bring you closer together.

  20. If you are thinking about the ideal gift for your elderly parent, what better thing than a computer with Internet service? Your parent needs to keep the communication open with family members. Teach your parent how to use email. This will also help to get rid of loneliness and keep your parent busy. Gift baskets are fine too, but this does not do as much as a computer would for the long term.

  21. Chris says:

    Old people are difficult to buy for and these are great suggestions. I especially like the idea of zoo and muesuem type of memberships that will keep them interested and out and about.

  22. Kurt gift ideas says:

    Great tips Laurie. Your Gift Baskets makes a perfect gift for elderly parents or grandparents. They come with so many themes, designs and with great packaging.i love your ideas looking forward for your future post :)

  23. Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen says:

    Thanks, it’s good to know that the phones are such a great gift idea for elderly parents! It’s never too early to start thinking about Christmas gift shoppping….
    .-= Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen´s last blog post …Best Ways to Save Money on Summer Holidays – 7 Travel Tips =-.

  24. Harl Jane G. says:

    I gave each of my grandparents a cell phone for seniors last Yuletide season, and they told me almost a month after that the device is the most beautiful gift they have received during the occasion. They said through the device I gave, they can already enjoy talking with their children and some of my cousins who are located in distant places. And yes, they can enjoy that even while they are in the supermarket or in the park.

    I gave them phone so my purse was never hurt even when I purchased two. I also never had any problem after I purchased the phones since they are offered without any contract. My grandparents were the one who chose the carrier they want to use.

    I believe that all of the old folks out there who do not have their own cell phone yet and even to those old folks who are having a hard time with their cell phone will love to have a cell phone. Of course, they will appreciate the phone even if it is given without any occasion. In fact, I consider that as a far sweeter act.

  25. Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen says:

    Thanks, Matthew…I agree that gift baskets and gift certificates are great Christmas presents for elderly parents or grandparents…especially if they like to eat!
    .-= Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen´s last blog post …Money Skills – Tips for Teaching Financial Literacy to Kids =-.

  26. Matthew Clark says:

    My favorite gift to give during Christmas day is a fruit basket with toys and gift certificates. they can really put a smile on someone’s face’,,

  27. Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen says:


    That’s a great gift for a grandmother! My in-laws, who are elderly grandparents, have a cell phone and they use it fairly regularly. It’s especially useful for emergencies. They often take road trips out of town, and a cell phone is — like you said — great peace of mind for both us and them.

    Thanks for this idea :-)

  28. Katherine says:

    This year, I bought my grandmother a cell phone for Christmas. She’s very “old fashioned” and extremely frugal. She’d make me return it if I spend “too much” money on it b/c she “doesn’t need a cell phone if she hasn’t had it all these times.” So, when I discovered TracFone’s holiday bundle that costs $10, I know she won’t be able to argue with me on this one. Knowing that she finally has a cell gives me a great peace of mind!

  29. Laurie PK says:

    Thanks for your comment, Mildred — it’s great to hear from you. And I think no matter how old we get, we always appreciate visits from our loved ones. :-)

  30. Mildred says:

    As an “elderly parent” and a grandparent, I would love to get more visits from my family. Gift certificates and gift baskets are wonderful Christmas presents….but even better is regular visits.

    From a granny in Kentucky…

  31. Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen says:

    John, thanks for these Christmas gift ideas for elderly parents or grandparents!

    I’ve heard of Ceiva, and think it’d be great — if they like digital photos. Some older people prefer print photos….it just depends on their personality, physical health, lifestyle, etc.

    Hope to see you around Quips & Tips again,

  32. John Marshall says:

    A very impressive list of Christmas gift ideas for Parents. I think that other gifts that can be good for older folks include:

    -DVD collection sets of old classics(if familiar with DVDs)
    -Brain Training Games- have to measure their demeanor towards this gift though.
    -Hobby related items (gardening, fishing, etc.)
    -Ceiva- offers a wireless digital picture frame which you can send pictures to them about what you are up to and the grandkids.
    -Espresso or coffee makers. Delonghi has a number of really good ones that are a good deal and even an automatic one.

    John Marshall

  33. Jill says:

    Those are some great gift ideas. I never know what to get someone who has everything. I also, like to give my parents a current picture of the family. Have a great holiday.

  34. Laurie Pawlik-Kienlen says:

    And, gift baskets last a long time. That is, if you give a gift basket that has wine, nuts, chocolate, cheeses, crackers, cookies, etc — your gift recipient can enjoy one treat at a time for months!

    Yes, I love gift baskets……I hope one of my family members is reading this :-)

  35. candygiftbaskets says:

    Great tips Laurie. Gift Baskets indeed makes a perfect gift for elderly parents or grandparents. They come with so many themes, designs and with great packaging.

  36. Laurie PK says:

    I just discovered that the Kindle (wireless reading device) has a new “text to speech” application. This might make it a perfect holiday gift for elderly parents or grandparents who can’t read very well…

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