The Christmas season is upon us and it is most delightful with bright lights, beautiful decorations, traditional carols, full social calendars, meaningful volunteer opportunities, as well as special time spent with family and friends.

One aspect of the holiday season that can be a bit daunting and perhaps even stressful, especially for seniors, is gift giving. It can be a difficult time, particularly if you have to adhere to a strict budget.

In many cases, it is also stressful (and seemingly impossible) to come up with gift ideas for your loved ones. Generational gaps add to the pressure of trying to find just the right gift for your grandchildren or great-grandchildren. Should you look for something that is meaningful or give them something that is practical or useful? How do you find something that isn’t going to be re-gifted?

If you have the flexibility within your budget to buy gifts, then the first tip is to not be shy and ask your family members what they would like for Christmas. Be sure to give them a price range and suggest that they come up with three to five items. Then, your shopping trip will be that much more enjoyable and they will get something that they either need or want. Working with a list is always a win-win.

Another option is to make something from the heart. Think about what you’re best known for or ask your family members what they like most – is it your gingersnap cookies, the comfy scarves you used to knit, or the wood ornaments that you are famous for carving?

If everyone loves your baking, then you could always copy your favourite recipes and create a booklet for all of your family members. If you collect antiques, pick small pieces that you think your children or grandchildren might love and gift them the item with a note describing the history of where you got it from, how long you’ve had it, etc. You could also create a photo album of photographs that only you have. The key is to think about your skills, hobbies, passions, family heirlooms, and mementos to come up with ideas to create amazing gifts that everyone will love and cherish for years to come.

And if you’re still stuck, there is the possibility of forgoing gift-giving entirely. While this isn’t always a popular option and it can sometimes be awkward to raise the subject, you may be surprised by the reaction you get. Sometimes (and actually quite often) people are relieved to give up the tradition of exchanging gifts and are willing to simply just enjoy the holidays in the presence of each other’s company.