Aging Well in the Gorge December 9th 2020

Do you remember Christmas mornings when you were so excited unwrapping presents from under the Christmas tree and discovering the one you had been hinting about since Thanksgiving? But then spending tedious hours the next day returning gifts that were too small or too ugly – at least for your taste. Now with gift cards for every chain store imaginable, long return lines have become a faded memory.

But Christmas is more about giving. And every year you must decide what to give someone you care about. It’s not easy to know. Here are a few suggestions to consider when buying the perfect gift – or at least one they won’t return the next day.

1.) When someone says they like something, listen. They will be surprised and delighted when they receive something they casually mentioned months ago. 

2.) Has the person ever complimented or took interest in something you have? It could be a clue – if they aren’t trying just to be nice.

3.) Don’t be over practical. The point is to delight, not to restock their toilet paper reserve – although that might be appreciated these days.

4.) Sometimes the best gift has no monetary value: a knitted scarf or a lap blanket you made yourself. 

5.) Don’t stress over the specifics. Giving is an act of kindness – not a competition to outdo one another.

But let’s consider the other side of the coin. To give, someone has to receive, right?

So, for Christmas what would you like? Flowers? Chocolate? A Red Ryder Carbine Action 200-shot Range Model air rifle? recently released a report “Top Holiday Gifts and Gestures for Seniors in 2020” after asking 10,000 older adults what gifts and personal gestures would bring them joy during the holidays. (I don’t want anyone asking my wife what would bring her joy! She’d look at me and say, “I want a newer model”.)

Below are the top 10 gifts and personal gestures, ranked in order by how much they are liked by older adults.

Top 10 Holiday Gift Ideas: house cleaning service, chocolate (I imagine this would be at the top of the list for many of you), fruit basket, cash, everyday Items such as shampoo, meal delivery service (which several local restaurants offer), snacks (Does everything have to be healthy?), cheese and crackers, gift cards, and automotive service.

Top ten personal gestures: homecooked meal, an invitation to a restaurant for dinner (take-out these days), help with technology (tablet, phone, kindle), phone calls, help around the home, declutter the garage or basement, handwritten cards, go grocery shopping, revive family traditions, clean and paint the basement.

During this Christmas season, I hope you find joy in giving and receiving. And if you are still struggling to find that perfect gift to give a loved one, you can always give a gift card!                                                                                                   

The author who wrote the touching 1905 short story “The Gift of the Magi” was O. Henry. I received answers from Jeanne Pesicka, Steven Wolpert, Rhonda Spies, Dave Lutgens, Barbara Cadwell, Kim Birge, Rose Schultz, Tiiu Vahtel, Florence Harty and this week’s winner of a quilt raffle ticket Linda Frizzell. And last week I set a new personal record by missing five folks: Jerry Phillips, Cindy Winfield, Anita Burris, Steven Wolpert and Joanne,

Modern artists have covered many Christmas standards from Michael Bublé’s 2011 “I’ll Be Home for Christmas” to the 2019 recording of “The Christmas Song” by NeYo. But nothing can compare to the originals that made them our Christmas favorites. For this week’s Christmas “Remember When” question, what singer, who hosted his own variety show from 1962 through 1971, sang “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year” which was written for his second Christmas Special and included on his first Christmas Album released in 1963? Email your answer to, leave a message at 541-296-4788 or send it with a recording of “Moon River” from Breakfast at Tiffany’s.

Well, it’s been another week ZOOMing from here to there. Until we meet again, to support our communities, shop local, spend local, give local and stay local.

“Life” is a GIFT to you. The way you live your life is your gift to those who come after. Make it a fantastic one.” Ward Tanneberg,


Meal-sites in the Gorge

The Sherman County Senior and Community Center – Call 541-565-3191 by 10:30 AM and leave a message with the number of meals you need and the names of each person.

Hood River Valley Adult Center – For Meals-on-Wheels call 541-386-2060 and ask for Eric. You can also pick up a drive-thru meal from 11:30 AM until 12:45 PM.

The Dalles Meals-on-Wheels – Call 541-298-8333 to sign up for home delivered meals or call before 10:30 AM to pick up a meal at noon.