Q: I’m on a limited budget. Do you have ideas for inexpensive gifts?

A: What a great question! My mom was just telling me the other evening about a recent conversation she had with a friend. The two of them were discussing special gifts or ideas that had an impact on their lives. My mom’s friend recounted a very trying time some years ago, when she was presented with a “jar of gratitude.” Each day, she was to write down one thing she was thankful for. It could be as simple as being able to go for a walk, or as big as the birth of a grandchild. On days she struggled, she would open the jar and take out the slips of paper she had placed inside. Opening one after another, the difficult day would invariably turn around, as she was reminded of the good in each day.

Gifts like the one just described are not store bought. They often involve more thought and creativity than dollars. You probably know from experience that such gifts are particularly cherished. Read on for a few creative gift-giving ideas!

Gather a bouquet: If you have access to a garden or nature, take a walk and create a bouquet. Find an interesting container or tie a ribbon around it and present the natural gift to your loved one. Not only will they be surprised with the bouquet you gathered just for them, but you will reap additional benefits from spending time in nature.


Set a date: Commit to a date or activity with your loved one. Whether it is a weekly Sunday bike ride, spaghetti dinner at your place, or planning to attend an upcoming play, the anticipation of a good time is a fabulous gift.


Gather recipes: If you have special recipes for different occasions, compile a “cookbook” to share with family and friends.

Produce a video: Your iPhone is amazing! Ask family and friends to share videos or images of loved ones and assemble a video. Not the techie type? Create event-themed mini albums (vacations, weddings, graduations and holidays) with favorite photos from years past.

Offer your time: Create a coupon for a parent or caregiver, offering a break for a specified block of time.  This valuable gift lets them take a little breather for themselves.


I’ll leave you with a line from Dr. Seuss: “Maybe Christmas (he thought) doesn’t come from a store. Maybe Christmas–perhaps–means a little bit more.” — The Grinch


One Senior Place is a marketplace for resources and provider of information, advice, care and on-site services for seniors and their families. Questions for this column are answered by professionals in nursing, social work, care management and in-home care. Send questions to, call 321-751-6771 or visit One Senior Place, The Experts in Aging. Lisa Conway is a Registered Nurse, Certified Dementia Practitioner and a Certified Care Manager for Senior Partner Care Services, Viera. Ms. Conway hosts a monthly seminar, ‘Senior Health Friday with Nurse Lisa.’