What do you buy a 80 year old for a gift? You want it to be special, but at the same time, do they really need anymore "things".

My mother-in-law is turning 80. She has been lucky, with reasonable good health, and still lives in her own little house. She says she doesn't want a big fuss for her 80th, but we have known her long enough, to know, she would be disappointed if some kind of celebration didn't take place.

Here are a few tips and gift ideas for the 80 year old:

British Goody Basket

 1.  Specialty Food Gifts and Baskets


My own mother loved this idea!  Simply pick a theme of foods that they would find to be a treat.  My mother is from England so I found a British store and filled a basket with treats I knew she would not buy for herself.  

You can do this yourself or find them online at sites such as Amazon.  If your senior loves tea you can get tea themed food and gift baskets, if they like coffee or chocolate, even health food is available.  Anything that is consumable rather than something that will sit on a shelf is a good idea, and they love going through all the goodies and trying them out!


Share a Cup of Tea - Spend Time With Them

2.  Gift Of Time

Most often, they would love to spend some time one on one with a relative, so as a gift you may want to take them for lunch, or go for a walk, or to a matinee on a Sunday afternoon. My mother-in-law, loves this.

Share a cup of tea or coffee with them and simply enjoy.  You could purchase a cute tea set just for this purpose and add a hand written note with a date for tea.

Digital Frames and Add Scanned Photos

NIX Advance 8 Inch Hi-Res Digital Photo & HD Video Frame with Hu-Motion Sensor (X08E)
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(price as of Sep 16, 2018)
you can load a lot of pictures from old albums and a few new ones onto these frames for them to enjoy.

3.  Digital Frame - Rather than Albums - Load it Up with Old Photos

 Remember, as much as you would love to give her a huge photo album or "things" most seniors, do not want or need more clutter. They tend to be very practical at this age, and will make comments like "I will be just giving it back to you soon" Or "More things to deal with when I am gone".. which is practical and true.

But if you like the idea of photographs, then here is a brilliant idea that will work well for any senior who loves to head down memory lane without having to haul out the photo albums. 

Find as many old pictures as you can and then scan them into your computer and then onto a memory stick.  Then purchase a digital frame and load it up with the pictures.  These memory frames simply plug in and pictures automatically do a slide show.  This would be nice to have on the kitchen counter of anywhere they can see them. 

Airline Gift Card

Southwest Airlines Gift Card $200
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(price as of Sep 16, 2018)

4. Vacation Packages or Discounts for Vacation or Airlines

 Depending on their health, you can all get together and send them on a trip that have been wanting to make, but were scared to spend the money. If they are in good health, this a great gift for an 80 year old. As more and more seniors are watching their health, you are seeing them still travel into their late 80's.

5. Help them with some chores, or cleaning, or sorting..

This may not seem like the "wow" gift you were thinking of, but just a few of the closest relatives or friends getting together for an afternoon for a garage sale, or helping your 80 year old clean or move heavy furniture around is something that my mother-in-law would absolutely love.

They will quite often drop hints, like "I have some book shelves that need putting up" or I "want to move that couch over here or there"… and you may get around to it some day, but if you combine some work around her place, with a nice dinner out, or bring in a take-out or someone bring a picnic to the home, and spend time with them, they will absolutely love it.

So, keeping all of this in mind, and depending on the personality of your 80 year old, you need to come up with ideas that are not "things". Unless there are some "things" they really need, or want.

So, you have to shop with this in mind. As much as you might want to purchase that nice knick knack or yet another framed family photo, think of something more in person.

At 80, you don't know how many more birthday celebrations there will be, and you should take time out of your life, and spend it with your senior. Your time is more important to them then any "thing", and since you can easily run out to Wal-Mart and buy anything quickly on the credit card and send it to them, they totally understand the commitment when you come and spend time with them.

6.  Birthday Bash - If They are the Social Types

Rent a space and give them a big birthday and invite friends and relatives for the joy.  You can get all the fixings needed for this type of party online.

80th Birthday Party Supplies Online

This should not be just reserved for special birthdays, you should try and make a point of taking them for a coffee or a meal, or just visit. At 80 years old, they have a lot of history, you should listen to.

7.  Help Write Their Memoirs

Another great gift, that worked well for my father-in-law, was to have help writing his memoirs. This lets all the family know, about the personal history of your senior, and what a great gift that would be. A legacy to pass on, a history of their life on paper.

Even if it is only published for the immediate family. We did that, and were grateful for it, as he passed away shortly after. But we have a printed memoir of his life.

This would be a great project for a grandchild, this way they get to listen to the history of their grandparent or grandparents, and hear what the "old days" were about, and put it to paper. How they started their career, how they got to where they are now. Just come up with a list of questions and then do a taped interview. My son did this for a project at school, and was amazed at the accomplishments of his granddad.


Help Write Their Memoirs

Buying a gift for an 80 year old, is easy. DON'T. Don't buy them anything, spend some time with them, take them for lunch, listen to what they have to say.. Enjoy their company, and this will be a special present for them. My mother-in-law, is thrilled that her four grown children and families are coming to her for a celebration dinner, of informal food. (I think we are getting together for trays from the grocery store) hanging out, and catching up.

We were all trying to come up with "wow" ideas, something sensational to celebrate 80 years on this planet, but finally we decided to just ask her.

When we asked her about all the things she wanted for her 80th birthday, that was what she wanted. No special restaurants, no big spending, just some sandwiches and all of us for a day. How hard can that be?