No more fruitcake: Gift ideas that are actually useful


gift boxLiving smaller and getting to a simpler lifestyle resonates with many people these days.  And when we think about the gifts we share with those we love at the holidays, being simple and practical shows we are thoughtful about what others really want and need. 

Here are some practical ideas that might make life easier for those you love.

Less back strain
Whether we have a white Christmas this year or not, one of these days, we’ll be hauling out the snow shovel. Is it time to give your spouse – or your parents or your grandparents - a break from the back strain and time spent in the cold?  A snow thrower is a practical investment in a simpler life.

The ultimate in simplicity is an electric model that requires no gas, no new spark plugs and virtually no maintenance.  Electric models include both shovels and narrow throwers that are good for clearing small spaces like short sidewalks, small drives and decks.

If the area to shovel is bigger, you’ll need to look at a stronger gas-powered machine.  Smaller machines are built for 1-2 car garage drives and average areas of walks.  Properties in mountain areas with more snow, that may have gravel areas and lots of area to clear will require increasingly bigger and more powerful machines.  The smart move is to pick the machine for the job – and for your loved one who’s the operator.

Other strain relievers
If your family has boomers – or others who spend long hours gardening – think of gardening tools that will reduce back, wrist and hand strain. Increasingly, garden centers feature ergonomically engineered tools to make garden chores easier and cut the wear and tear on the body.

Gardeners are often those hard-working folks who wouldn’t think of buying these handy tools for themselves – but will love using them once they have them. There are, for example, ergonomic hand-held tillers and garden forks, easy-grip tools for people with arthritis plus shovels and knee pads. Also, think about replacing safety gear that just wears out over time. Everyone eventually needs a new dust mask or gardening gloves. Explore the options at your local garden center.

The ultimate in simple
Perhaps the greatest gift is for an older person is to sustain the garden or landscape they love after they can no longer do the work – or get work done for another who no longer have the time for DIY projects. Does grandma’s tree need to be pruned?  Does her lawn need to be mowed every week? Does your spouse now work too many hours to enjoy mowing the lawn and raking leaves himself?  Helping grandma care for her yard or giving your spouse free time could be a gift of gold.

Thoughtful, sustaining gifts like these go a long way in showing our love and they last a whole lot longer than a fruitcake.

 
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