What on earth do I give my grandad for Christmas?
December 4, 2011 7:36 PM Subscribe
What should I give my grandad for Christmas?
posted by hoyland to shopping (25 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
The annual quandary of what to give my grandad for Christmas has arrived. He's 81 and can't really see. My mother gave my brother her one idea: a talking watch. But, as she said, he doesn't need two talking watches. He lives in Yorkshire, but will be visiting us in the US for Christmas, so his presents have to be able to fit in his suitcase (and not weigh much).
I suppose our great fear is that he'll sort of give up on living because many of the things he likes to do have become difficult as his vision has gotten worse. Part of me wants to come up with some amazing present that will make him more excited about life, but what that is, I have no idea.
He used to read a lot (lots of mysteries and thrillers--Dick Francis, Clive Cussler, Inspector Morse, Tom Clancy, John Grisham, etc.) and still does, but at a much slower pace. (A year ago, he could read large print without additional magnification, but he can't get large print books at home--the library's rubbish and they're expensive to buy.)
He's into opera and would go to London several times a year for the opera, but again that's gotten difficult. We seem to have exhausted the opera-related presents, though. He's got a recording or DVD of every opera he likes, it seems, and what seems like all the opera books in existence.
At one point, he was into cooking and would make all sorts of elaborate thing. He stopped, though, as he'd invite his friends round and use that as reason for making elaborate desserts or whatever. But they weren't the sort of people to be impressed by his creations, so he stopped. (I think those friends have either died or moved away now, as well.) I don't think he really cooks for himself much, anymore.
Long, long ago (like before I was born and before I can remember) he was into travel and photography. When my mother was a kid, they'd go on walking holidays. He likes going new places and trying new things. (At the age of 76 or so, he had Thai food for the first time in Berkeley. He still goes on about it and made my mom and cousin go to a Thai restaurant when they were in London. I have no idea how many times I've been told it wasn't as good as the one we went to in Berkeley.) He used to knit and do needlepoint, but stopped when I was little. (I don't know why he stopped, but he can't see to do it in any case. He 'taught' me to knit by simultaneously kibitzing and saying 'Don't ask me, I can't see it.')
Oh, he's got a computer with broadband. He uses it for email, looking the occasional thing up/planning trips and watching the soap operas he misses when my uncle phones him on Tuesday evenings. He had an iPod at one point. It may have died, I'm not sure. Trying to get him a Kindle is a thought. A US one would certainly be cheaper, but would it be able to buy books in Britain? Of course, then the cost of books adds up.