DEAR READERS: Yesterday I printed my annual column with suggestions for holiday gifts for seniors. Today I'm printing some of the feedback I've received on the subject from readers:
DEAR ABBY: Every year you devote at least one column to holiday gift suggestions for seniors. I would like to tell you what my siblings and I have given my widowed father that seemed to please him.
One year we presented him with a round-trip ticket to visit his sister. Another year we bought tires for his car -- each of us gave him one tire so that he had to visit all our homes to collect his gift. We all enjoyed those visits.
Another gift he appreciated was full payment for one doctor's visit, plus the medication prescribed that day. We have presented him with eyeglasses, dentures and countless items for his kitchen, bath, bedroom or living room -- mostly supplies -- but sometimes "luxury" items.
Each year Dad brags about our gifts at the seniors center where he and his friends socialize, so we know our choices are good ones. -- CHERYL MELENDEZ IN WISCONSIN
DEAR CHERYL: Every year readers ask me what to give to seniors who are living on fixed incomes. Thank you for your practical suggestions. I'm sure they'll inspire others to think creatively. Read on:
DEAR ABBY: Last year my nephew asked my sister what he could give her for Christmas. His finances were tight and he couldn't afford an expensive gift. She reminded him how much she loves a clean car and suggested that he "give" her a car wash once a month for a year. Actually, the gift served two purposes. Not only was her car kept clean, she also was guaranteed a visit once a month.
Abby, most of us seniors don't need more jewelry or knickknacks, but we can always use a helping hand -- and a visit from our "kids." -- BARBARA M. BUTLER, BOWIE, MD.
DEAR ABBY: Around the holidays, you always print a list of items that seniors need more than dusting powder and knickknacks. May I suggest a prepaid calling card? With this, they can keep in touch with friends and family without running up their phone bill. -- RICHARD STROMBOM, WHEELING, ILL.
DEAR ABBY: With the holiday shopping season upon us, I'd like to share a gift idea with your readers. "Eco-gifts" save energy or create little or no waste. Some practical eco-gifts include low-flow showerheads, rechargeable flashlights, fire extinguishers, or tickets to a play or movie. Another eco-saving idea is to reduce or eliminate gift wrapping. (Christmas is the biggest garbage collection week of the year!) Readers who are seniors who wonder what to give to the younger generation should also consider "eco-gifts" -- savings bonds, music, dance or other lessons -- or even a new experience such as a train ride. -- PROFESSOR MARIE S. HAMMER, HOUSING/HOME ENVIRONMENT, UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA
DEAR BARBARA, RICHARD AND PROFESSOR HAMMER: Thanks for the excellent suggestions. May I also add a few more? Cold weather dominates the holiday season, so perhaps some jogging outfits would be welcome because they are warm and comfortable. And while I'm on the subject of the winter chill, a check toward some of the heating bills would also be a terrific gift. Ho-ho-ho!
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