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Do It Better: Useful Gifts that Will be Appreciated

By Joyce Venezia Suss

When searching for the perfect gifts for loved ones or close friends, sometimes the most appreciated gifts are useful items revealed during a routine conversation or a visit. Most of these ideas are suitable for all ages, but many are especially helpful for seniors.

Empty nesters may like the practicality of a new countertop toaster, convection or air fryer oven. Add some new pans that fit into the smaller appliance. A smaller oven eliminates the need to turn on a regular oven that takes time to preheat and creates heat in the summer months.

Parents of young children will appreciate a bundle of LED nightlights that turn on automatically in the dark, especially helpful in hallways, bathrooms and stairs.

Almost every kitchen has dingy or worn dish towels and potholders that can be replaced. For the bathroom, give fluffy new bath towels or a fresh shower curtain.

Replace worn-out or stained household goods like cookie sheets, cutting boards, kitchen knives, plastic food containers, travel mugs, door mats and coasters.

Anyone with long hair needs hair ties, scrunchies and headbands. Gift an assortment of sizes and colors to replace those that are missing or stretched out. Quick-dry hair towels are also terrific for long locks.

Fireproof document bags are a practical gift to protect important papers. Smoke and carbon monoxide detectors expire after several years, so replacements are a practical and caring gift.

Liquid soap dispensers come in a wide range of designs and colors. Eco-friendly options include glass dispensers for tablets and powders that turn into soap when mixed with water.

Many kitchen spice shelves are filled with bottles and tins of dusty old seasonings. For someone who likes to cook, give a selection of good-quality herbs, spices and specialty salts. For something different, give an assortment of flavored condiments like maple syrup, honey, olive oil and jelly.

Senior citizens who have limited strength may appreciate items like an electric can opener, a jar opener tool or a reacher-grabber tool to get things off high shelves.

Anyone with limited mobility would appreciate a small rolling cart (typically three levels) near their favorite chair, where they can store oft-needed items like tissues, medications, phone, TV remotes, a book, drinking cup, snacks, hand lotion, etc.

Double-wall insulated metal tumblers keep cold drinks cool and hot drinks warm, much longer than a regular glass or mug.

Don’t forget the pets: Replace chipped, stained and worn dishes, old mats and toys. Treat your feline to a new litter box!

Some of the best presents don’t involve money, but rather the gift of skills or time. Create a monthly coupon book with jobs such as replacing furnace, air and water filters; cleaning a greasy stove or oven; sewing on buttons or mending small holes; trimming hedges; sorting and filing paperwork, etc.

Great gifts can be experiences such as cooking classes, dance lessons, cultural lectures or movies, visits to museums and more – ideally together with you!

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