Coming up with gift ideas for the older folks in your life can sometimes be a real challenge. Most seniors have more stuff than they could ever use. They don’t need very much and want even less – often no gifts at all. However, out of tradition, obligation or a sense of guilt, we still want to give a holiday present or two to them.
So, what do you give someone who has almost everything and a home full of family photos, dried flower arrangements, personalized mugs, and bubble bath?
The Gift of Time: Holiday Activities with Seniors
There is no better gift for an aging loved one than the gift of your time. Activities will lift their spirits and create beautiful lasting memories. For example, you can take them to a place of worship, or go to a holiday show.
For your elderly loved ones who aren’t as mobile, you can do things together like writing holiday cards, decorating the tree, baking a traditional family recipe, or watching a classic holiday movie. You could even help them shop for gifts online.
Also, think coloring! Coloring can be a great holiday activity. With some thought to accommodating possible physical and mental limitations, you can color together to get into the holiday mood. Coloring books and supplies can make great gifts for the elderly, too.
Here are some great holiday-themed coloring books that would be ideal for spending some quality time with seniors:
Merry Christmas, by Alexandra Dannenmann
This lovely coloring book has 30 beautiful hand-drawn festive designs, some comical and others more serious. Illustrations include Christmas trees, snowflakes, fir branches, decorations, and gingerbread houses, among many other subjects. Every design is printed on a black background, so colors really “pop,” and if you color outside the lines, for the most part, it won’t matter.
All pages are printed one-sided, and the drawings don’t have a lot of tiny details.
Christmas Coloring Book, by Thaneeya McArdle
This book has 32 cheerful and upbeat holiday images including Santas, snowflakes, reindeer, Christmas trees, elves, cats, dogs, and birds. Most are not too complicated. The paper is heavier than most which may make coloring less stressful for seniors who may tend to use a heavy hand when coloring. The pages are printed on one side only and are perforated. The pages facing the drawings have holiday-themed narratives, such as quotes from famous people and excerpts from songs and movies.These narratives are fun conversation-starters.
Christmas Coloring Book, by Joan Marie Verba
This coloring book is actually for both kids and grownups who want easy illustrations. Most of the 26 drawings are simple, and you can add your own designs in the open areas if you wish. There is only one drawing on each page (the back side of the page is blank). There are dotted lines printed on each page to show where you can cut out the page from the book if you want to.
Hanukkah Coloring & Activity Book, by Various Artists
From lighting the menorah to making latkes, this coloring book celebrates beloved Hanukkah traditions and includes scenes of one family’s preparations for the winter festival. The drawings are single-sided and mostly beginner-level.
Available at Amazon US for US$9.99, Amazon Canada for CD$12.92, Amazon UK for £9.99 and Book Depository.
Three-Dimensional Christmas Ornament Coloring Book & Paper Crafts, by Monika Mira
This unique Christmas coloring book is perfect for seniors, with 24 designs that can be colored, and even used for cards, decorations, and gift tags. The book includes directions to assemble the colored-in designs into unique three-dimensional ornaments to hang on the tree. Designs include trees, stars, and birds, as well as simple but traditional ornament shapes, a tin angel, and a snowy church. There are also five blank ornament templates. NOTE: Full review coming soon!
Gifts to Wrap: Coloring Books & Supplies for Seniors
Since many seniors have failing vision and less dexterity, large print coloring books and supplies that take any frustration out of the coloring process are ideal. Large print books usually don’t have intricate details. Coloring books with narratives or aspirations can help make the coloring experience more meaningful and calming. I’ve also included a few suggestions for markers and pencils.
Coloring Book For Seniors: Anti-Stress Designs Vol 1, by Art Therapy Coloring
This coloring book for seniors has the same quality of artwork that you find in the publisher’s other coloring books, except the 35 designs are zoomed in so that they are easier to see and color. Images include zendoodles, geometrics, mandalas, and animals and plants. Designs are single-sided. Ten percent of the book’s proceeds support pancreatic cancer
Simple Designs: A Laid Back Coloring Book, by Kimberly Garvey
This is one of the highest rated simple adult coloring books on Amazon.com: 85 reviews, mostly verified purchases, with an average of 4.5 stars. It has 36 single-sided illustrations. Purchasers have said that designs are “…simple enough to not frustrate dementia patients, yet bring enough dimension to allow them to be individual in their art.” Heavier line weight makes them easier for folks with vision impairment. The paper is on the light side, so colored pencils may be the best medium.
Gone Fishing: A Coloring Book For Adults, Full Of Nostalgic Fishing Fun, by Scott Cuzo
This book is just one of many Spry Mind coloring books that are perfect for older people, and this one is great for women and men alike. Each picture is sized to fit a standard frame size – 8″x 10″ or 4″x 6″. There are 30 pages of designs, including a delightful collection of fishing quotes and fishing gear such as antique tackle, bait boxes, and fishing waders. Printed on only one side of the page. Some of the images include simple, faintly-outlined background designs, which can either be colored in, or not.
Happy Coloring 7: Easy Patterns – Coloring Pages for Adults (Volume 7), by Elena Bogdanovych
This coloring book for is full of 68 beautiful patterns, inspired by the mesmerizing appeal of kaleidoscopic compositions. All pages are single-sided
SUPER Simple Designs, by Kimberly Garvey
Super Simple Designs was made specifically for seniors, beginners, disabled people and those with various other issues that require MUCH easier coloring pages.
Cars, Planes & More-An Adult Coloring & Activity Book, by Scott Cuzzo
This is another great coloring book from Spry Mind. Designs include classic cars, old planes, and streetcars. Again, both men and women love this one. The book also includes a couple of word finds and mazes.
Derwent Lakeland Jumbo Coloring Pencils
These colored pencils have a larger barrel than regular colored pencils, making them easier to grasp. The hexagonal shape also makes them easier to hold and keeps them from rolling away. The box includes just enough colors to allow creativity, but not too many to be frustrating: Zinc Yellow, Yellow, Orange, Red, Dark Red, Pink, Salmon Pink, Purple, Deep Purple, and Ultramarine.
Some seniors may find markers easier to use than pencils. Crayola Supertips are adult colorist favorites and are my go-to when I want water-based markers that won’t bleed through most paper. They have bright colors and wash off most surfaces and most fabrics. Colors: Maroon, Red, Orange, Sun Yellow, Yellow, Grass Green, Olive, Green, Turquoise, Light Blue, Blue, Violet, Lavender, Magenta, Pale Pink, Light Peach, Light Brown, Brown, Gray, Black.
Making Coloring Easier
The following items aren’t necessarily ones you want to wrap as gifts, but your elderly loved one may find that they make coloring easier.
The Pencil Grip Crossover Grip Ergonomic Writing Aid
Good for lefties or righties, these little gadgets fit on pencils and markers. They help hold fingers in a comfortable position and make it easier and more comfortable to grip.
Available at Amazon US for US$13.87, Amazon Canada for CD$11.81 and Amazon UK for £15.00.
Extreme Gel Pencil Grips
If keeping the pen or pencil in your hand is the challenge, these soft and squishy grips will help. They are not too cushion-y. There are 12 assorted colors and textures in each package.
Dycem Non-Slip Material
Dycem tends to be a bit pricey, but it works so well – for coloring and a lot of other uses. Simply place a sheet of the Dycem on the coloring surface (lap desk, table….) and put the coloring book or page on top; the book or page will not budge, making it much easier to color. Dycem is also ideal for physical therapy uses, under tableware, stabilizing items in the kitchen, and beneath feet and on seats to help standing or sitting. The latex-free material is reusable and easy to clean. The material comes on a roll, and you can cut it to size.
Do you have any other great ideas for coloring-related gifts for seniors? Let us know in the comments below!