I need gift ideas for my grandfather who is turning 80.
March 22, 2007 10:31 AM   Subscribe

I need gift ideas for my grandfather who is turning 80.

We're having a party for my grandfather this weekend and I need to get him a gift. He is turning 80 years old. I don't have any ideas so far. Here is some background info:
- he's a widower who lives alone
- he had a stroke and is not very mobile these days, but he still drives
- he's taking a trip to Jamaica next month because he "always wanted to go there"
- we're not particularly close so I don't know much about his interests

I'd like to keep the gift in the $20-30 range. Thank you for your suggestions.
posted by disaster77 to Grab Bag (14 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
posted by DU at 10:36 AM on March 22, 2007 [2 favorites]

In all seriousness, I'd suggest a battery-powered handheld card/ solitaire game (with extra batteries), he can use it on his flight as well and it fits in your price range.
As a point of reference, I had someone in the over 65 age range approach me today on a bus while I was playing a card game on my DS. He asked a multitude of questions, sounded like he was interested in one for himself.
posted by Laura in Canada at 11:08 AM on March 22, 2007

Music or books on CD? In my grandfather's old age, he had trouble reading but loved listening to big band jazz and radio programs.
posted by gnutron at 11:16 AM on March 22, 2007

My dad is 83, and doesn't have very many outside interests, per se. He mainly likes to sit in his favorite chair and watch TV and read the latest tabloids and work his crossword puzzles. To be honest, though, one thing he truly seems to enjoy is when Mr. Adams and I stop by and take him out to lunch, even if it's only at the diner in his neighborhood that he goes to four days a week. We listen to his stories (that we've heard a thousand times already), and he enjoys "showing off" to us that the waitress knows his usual order. Sometimes we'll take him for a drive, and to a different restaurant (to him, Cracker Barrel is a big treat). My mom has told me that after one of these excursions, Dad is animated for the next day or two and goes on and on about this or that that he saw or we talked about. Dad is definitely the curmudgeonly type, and certainly not usually very social, so for years I thought the "best gift is yourself" schtick was just a cliche, and that he wouldn't want to leave his favorite chair long enough to go out for a drive. But he truly seems to thrive on these outings. Maybe you could give your grandpa a birthday card at the party with a gift card inside from a local restaurant (all the chains have gift cards available), and then include a note in the card that that card is for lunch for the two of you - pin him down then as to what day/time is good for him, and then follow through.
posted by Oriole Adams at 11:23 AM on March 22, 2007 [1 favorite]

Best answer: It's too late for this option... but the White House Greetings Office lets you order a card signed by the President for those turning 80 years old or above...
posted by MrBCID at 11:23 AM on March 22, 2007

Get him a really bitchin' beach hat. It'll keep the Jamaican sun from frying his (probably) bald bean, and it'll keep the sun out of his eyes. He'll look good, and it's practical, fun, and within your budget. One size pretty much fits all.

You should probably spend more time with your grandfather.
posted by iconomy at 11:48 AM on March 22, 2007

Definitely spend some time with him Take him out to lunch sometime; things like that. I think a lot of people that age don't really want more material things; about the only thing I'd buy my grandmother would be books.
posted by 6550 at 12:36 PM on March 22, 2007

Perhaps a travel guidebook to Jamaica? Or as many throwaway cameras that $30 will buy? Some travel slippers or other small, packable comforts for the trip? (If he's not a frequent traveler, he might not have all the tiny bottles of shampoo, shaving cream, toothpaste etc and he probably could use some non-perishable snacks to ease the flight, especially now that an airline's "meal" consists of .5oz bag of pretzels, if he's lucky).

And yeah, get to know him if at all possible. Grandfathers aren't around forever.
posted by jamaro at 12:45 PM on March 22, 2007

Second disposable cameras and maybe a photo album to put the pictures in when he returns. You could help him get them developed and then oooh and aaah over them with him.
posted by BluGnu at 1:20 PM on March 22, 2007

Best answer: Reminisce Magazine. I just got it for my grandparents and they love it.
posted by orangemiles at 1:53 PM on March 22, 2007

What Oriole Adams said, about the "gift of yourself." My Mom is 83. She can't do a lot of the things she used to enjoy because of losing most of her vision to macular degeneration. She has every material thing she needs and wants. Simply visiting and spending time with her and taking her out for Cajun food (reminds her of her youth) is the biggest treat.
posted by Robert Angelo at 3:43 PM on March 22, 2007

On my father's 80th he was in Las Vegas so we gave him a stack of 80 $1 coins. You could get closer to your budget if you went with fifty-cent pieces. I suspect there are slot machines in Jamaica. Do they take fifty-cent pieces? I dunno.
posted by cairnish at 3:47 PM on March 22, 2007

Thank you all so much for making me miss my grandmother. It's all very well for you. I'm currently lying here on a bed around 6000 miles away, and probably won't see her for months (silently cries).

Are you close at all to your mom or dad? They might know what he likes.
posted by Deathalicious at 4:31 PM on March 22, 2007

Knee-pads! As people get older they like to do the hobbies or chores they did when they were children. Weeding out in the yard is a favorite for children from 80 years ago. Kneepads might be an enjoyable incentive for outdoors exercise, call it gardening!
There are soft foam knee-pads with Vel-Cro straps for sale on eBay running about $15 to $20. They are small enough to fit in a suitcase, but they probably wouldn't be of much use on the beach in Jamaica, although you never know.
posted by kapec at 7:03 PM on April 5, 2007

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