By Dian Self from Austin, TX
They might like something like a Russian tea mix, that you made and put in a cute little jar. You should be able to find a recipe for something like that on one of the online recipe sites.
Buying their favorite out-of-season fruits or vegetables is always nice. Making a favorite home-made jam or jelly is good. My dad loved tomato preserves and the only way to get them was to make them.
You could make some hot chocolate mix and put it in a baggie, put some mini marshmallows in a baggie, then put them in a Christmas mug. Wrap it up in celephane wrap and add a candy cane or 2. Make sure you put directions on it. Makes a cute, inexpensive gift and who doesn't like hot chocolate on a cold winter day?
Dollar Tree sells some pretty nice socks for only one dollar each pair. Otherwise, you might be able to buy socks at another store in a package and break the package up to divide the socks so as to give one pair to each resident. I don't like the idea of anything in a glass container because glass breaks. You are a good person.
If they have no dietary restrictions and the facility allows homemade foods for the residents you could make an assortment of cookies & bar treats & fudge to arrange in an inexpensive holiday tin, the kind you can usually purchase for a dollar, or even on a holiday disposable plate with plastic wrap and a bow. Such a gift is sure to please nearly everyone.
I used to have a sister-in-law who gave every household in the family such a gift at Christmas and we all appreciated her thoughtfulness and tasty treats. How I miss her!
For those who are wheelchair bound or with poor circulation, leggins and shawls are appreciated. They love warm socks. Check places like orientaltrading.com for seasonal pins or whatnots. Small chapsticks are always well receieved. Little suncatchers are great, too, because they brighten a room.
I worked in an assisted living home and the residents were always asking me for any kind of home made snacks; cookies, brownies, soft candy. One lady asked me if I could make her a salmon loaf, and a gentleman just wanted a nice bowl of home made tomato soup. Check dietary restrictions first, but people really miss anything home made in small batches instead of bulk made meals, and good for you for wanting to give something nice to others!
Cards, 16-20 available at $ tree for $1 with a simple $ gift or a homemade one.
I almost forgot, if you could get a group of kids together or animals, they love this too, my daughters girl scout troop adopted a nursing home a few years back, and for holidays would go and visit, play music, dance with them, just spend some time and talk or listen and make their own cards to give to these people really is a pick me up for them.
Stationary and pens and maybe a few postal stamps. You could buy those cheap hand gloves from discount store and give them a bottle of hand cream. You could make up a couple of those soup in a jar recipes that are microwaveable.
I, too, worked in nursing homes for a long time. I would be restrictive about cookies and goodies because a lot of elderly have problems with diabetes and they might also have a hard time chewing some things.
Fruit, as someone pointed out, is a lovely idea. Maybe a banana and a pack of raisins? Sugarfree mints?
Anything cozy and warm clothes wise is always a hit.
Liquid soap (not bar!) will be used, but might not be cheap enough if you are buying for many.
Nail polish for the ladies and razors for the men?
Hand cream, body lotion, chap sticks, as have been suggested, are all good ideas.
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We picked and assisted living home to sing Christmas carols to, but we would also like a have a gift for each of them. So I need gift ideas for men and women, something they can use and that will make their Christmas a little bit happier. My granddaughter and her friends are going to participate in caroling and help wrap gifts. Nothing too expensive, we do live on a budget.
Fleece throws, toiletry items like deodorant, lotion, and socks are inexpensive items that are appreciated.
Quilted bags that can be hung on a walker or wheelchair to hold personal items.