By Joy Loverde
Here are some more gift ideas to touch the heart and soul of the people who mean so much to you:
Get cozy with composers. Do they like musicals, spirituals, classical, jazz, or blues? Research the life of the composer and create a biography to read aloud. Listen to the music together while sipping coffee or tea. Giving them beautiful new coffee mugs and tea cups will remind them of this special visit.
Let the beat go on. If you think there’s a chance they want to resurrect an instrument they formerly played, offer to pay for music classes. If singing is their thing, offer to pay for voice lessons. Offer to drive them to class and take them out to eat afterwards to hear about their experience.
Book it. Go to your local photocopy shop to create a beautifully bound book of your elder’s poetry, photographs, short stories and works of art. Seeing their creations in print will delight them.
Take them back. Invite them to journey back to their home town. This is truly a gift of a lifetime. Creating a scrapbook of the trip will bring joy for years to come.
Show off. Never underestimate the power of giving them credit for all they’ve done for you. A home video reminds them of how they have positively influenced your life. Show off your cooking skills or perform a magic trick or tap dance (all of the talents you got from Mom or Dad, of course). If grandchildren are featured, have them recite a poem, play a musical instrument or show off their bowling or baseball abilities. End the film with a heartfelt message or song. Transfer the video to DVD for easy viewing.
Frame it. Daily reminders of how special they are can give them an instant pick-me-up. Words like “We love you, Mom” and “I’m thinking about you, Aunt Betty” placed in a beautiful picture frame will inevitably make them smile.
Make time stand still. Celebrate the years of being a family by creating a time-line greeting card. Fold a legal piece of paper (construction weight) into five panels. Gather five photos of yourself -- from infancy to childhood to teen years to young adult and now. Arrange one photo per panel and write a brief story under each photograph.
Throw a card party. Invite friends and family members to send your elders a greeting card and include any remembrance about them: a funny story, a photograph, a poem. Ask young grandchildren to draw a picture. Everyone loves to get mail, and for days they will be thrilled at getting lots of mail and cards with funny, endearing and touching notes. Place the cards in a beautiful scrapbook.
Sing praises. Treat your elders to a special dinner at their favorite restaurant. Present a fragrant orchid or lapel carnation to wear. Have everyone at the table stand up and offer a special toast for the guest of honor. Invite local city officials like the mayor to compose a letter of recognition to be read at the dinner table. Video tape the occasion and transfer to DVD for easy viewing.
Make a wish. Do your elders long to fulfill a dream? Make their wish come true.
Cook up a storm. Beyond learning how to create nutritious meals, cooking classes are naturally fun and entertaining. Offer to attend classes together. Don’t forget the camera.
Bloom the room. A beautiful vase filled with an arrangement of silk flowers will bring happiness and a sense of the outdoors into any room, and also remind them of you.