Are you wondering what to get your grandparent, parent, favourite aunt/uncle or special loved one this Xmas?
If your loved one is at the stage in their life where it is more about downsizing than upsizing, maybe you notice they have lots of stuff in their home or they have mentioned to you they are a little overwhelmed with their “things”, then please think carefully before giving “stuff” presents to them for Xmas – gifting of yourself and your time may be the best gift of all.
As I work with clients in their third age, what they seem to love most is good company and a good listener – a good talk, a good story, a good laugh, visits from their loved ones.
So maybe a gift of your time would be what they would love most.
I’m not talking about a 15 minute visit where you rush in, then talk about yourself. Although they will love to hear about you and your successes, the goal is to enjoy this time with each other.
If you’re not sure what to talk about for 1-2 hours, then do something together –
- A visit to their favourite cafe or garden centre
- A few hours to help them sort through photographs
- If they have lots & lots of photographs, sort into keepers & photographs that should be passed on (if they agree, you could take charge of passing photographs around the family). Is someone in the family in charge of “family history”? If not, is it time that someone is?
- Help them to explore a cupboard they haven’t looked through in years
- Take a journey with them through their beautiful crockery
- Help them to sort out their jewellery draw, boxes …
- For the guys, a journey through their tools in the garage
- Is there something special in their home they would like assistance with?
It is amazing what you may learn about a loved one you never knew
Be non-judgmental and patient … listen, listen & listen. Even if you have heard a story several times before, it is significant to them and they maybe searching for something in the story – an understanding of what happened, a realisation, finding forgiveness, peace or an easing of long-held grief or hurt.
Remember our things are not our memories, but can be prompts and clues to our memories. Once the story behind the “thing/item” is lost, it is gone forever. So if there are photographs, special treasures or stories in your family, make sure you have a record of them. Take videos of your loved one telling the story behind a family treasure or explaining who the faces are in family photographs.
Above all, enjoy each other – isn’t that the greatest gift of all?
Mary J Harnan BBus, Owner – founder – allsorter – 3a organiser
Based in Balwyn North, Vic, I have sorted 100’s of homes & helped 100’s of clients. I am an expert member of the Australasian Association of Professional Organisers & have achieved certificates in Chronic Disorganisation, Aging, Life Transitions & Hoarding from the Institute of Challenging Disorganization (USA). I regularly speak about smart downsizing, rightsizing & farewelling the family home