The Art Of Gift Giving

At first glance I was slightly annoyed. It’s hard enough to get through all the so-called charity solicitations we get in the mail. Now the catalogues with, well, “age-appropriate” products are clogging up the mailbox.

It seems that once we reach a certain age, dozens of well-meaning companies believe we need certain things to increase the quality of our aging lives. That’s where the catalogues come in. Lots of them. At first I pitched them into the burn barrel, believing there is nothing I could possibly want or need in those brochures.

But then a funny thing happened at the annual home and garden show put on by the local chamber of commerce last year. As I made the rounds of the various businesses displaying their goods and services, I was handed a variety of free gifts as promotional reminders from some of the companies. You know the things of which I speak — tape measures, pens and pencils, yardsticks and magnifying glasses. And there it was, the jar opener. It is a simple piece of rubber material that fits over a jar or bottle top and when you turn it, the top will easily come off the jar or bottle.

I didn’t even know how much I needed this silly helper at the time, but I use it nearly every day. What a great idea to help arthritic hands or hands just too tired to get those jars open.

So now, I don’t laugh so much at such helpers. In fact, it made me think about Christmas and gift-giving time. Let’s be practical and turn to those retailers who are offering items fitting for certain age groups. If you have a Golden Mountaineer Card, you fit into my group.

At my age I don’t need another blender or set of steak knives. Folks of my age, especially the grandparenting set, are thinking more about those gadgets that make life easier. For instance, how clever was it to place a magnet on the end of long rod so when you drop a screw on the floor and it rolls under the stove, you don’t have to wait for the grandkids to come over to retrieve it for you? You can safely haul it in with little effort, thanks to that magnet invention.

Have you seen folks wearing those oversized, glare-reducing sunglasses stores are selling in their “as seen on TV section”? They may look silly, but I hear they really work.

Remember when your kids were young and they insisted on having a night light on at bedtime? Well, what goes around, comes around. It’s not a bad idea to spring for a fancy night light for the older generation, so as to avoid a fall in the dark. Last year I bought my husband a cute leg lamp night light from the movie “A Christmas Story” as a gag gift, but it still serves a useful purpose.

Christmas shouldn’t be just about giving the perfect presents or baking too many cookies. It’s about caring for others every day of our lives. Whatever you decide to buy, make or bake this holiday season, let it be a gift from your heart. Really think about the needs of others and you will receive an even greater gift in return — no matter how old you are.

Heather Ziegler can be reached via email at: