From mittens to makeup, senior center members make Christmas wish lists


It's a seasonal dilemma: what to give a grandparent or parent who seems to have everything -- including last year's present still in its original box.

At the Florence Bain Senior Center recently, several seniors offered guidance for those seeking the right gift for older relatives and friends.

Their suggestions range from the practical to the whimsical.

"I would like a photograph album and some film," said Lois Jewell, a 70-year-old Columbia resident. The volunteer "photographer-in-residence" takes photos of various events at the center and frequently exhausts her supplies.

Camille Jaglinski, a 75-year-old resident of Columbia who volunteers at the Miller branch library in Ellicott City, wants a bookcase for her many books.

"I have one bookcase, but I could use another," she said.

Jerry Musser, a 68-year-old Columbia resident, said her wish list includes "a plain old gray sweat shirt and warm mittens" to wear on her daily walks.

And Violet Eldridge, 64, another Columbia resident, said she "keeps hinting" at a new winter coat and a pair of boots.

Adding to the list are gift ideas from local retailers and people who work with the elderly.

John Bean, merchandise manager for Caldor in Ellicott City, listed a few items popular with seniors during the company's 10 percent senior discount days on Wednesdays.

Houseware items include toaster ovens, coffee makers, foot massagers, air purifiers and humidifiers, he said, and clothing preferences include gloves, thermal underwear, flannel robes and pajamas.

For pampering senior women, Sonya Fink, owner of Creative Nails and Hair in Ellicott City said that facials and body massage seem to be popular among her older clients. That store and others offer gift certificates for manicures, pedicures, hairstyling and makeup.

The Body Shop in the Columbia Mall, offers a line of bath products in which seniors can indulge.

"Many of our older clientele purchase things to soak in," said Felicia Frieseman, sales assistant. Popular items include shower gel, lotion, body talc and bath salts.

Margaret Deian-Smith, recreation coordinator for senior adults for the county's Department of Parks and Recreation, suggested gift certificates for trips, activities and classes offered by the department.

She also mentioned an unusual stocking stuffer: free tickets for grandparents who want to take their grandchildren to the musical "Little Red Riding Hood," presented by the Parker Playhouse of Ocean City.

The musical will be performed at Howard High School Jan. 16. For further information, call 313-2762.

And for the senior who really does have everything, Dorothy Keczmerski, a coordinator at Florence Bain, suggests a donation in the person's name to the center's Senior Peer Resources: Individuals, Networks and Groups program.

For a contribution of $5 or more, the honoree will receive a certificate acknowledging the gift, which will be used by the center's various support groups.

Beyond all the ideas for tangible gifts, many seniors would love to receive things that don't come in boxes.

Among the seasonal gift wishes expressed by those at the Florence Bain center recently: "family fellowship," "good health and seeing all of my friends" and "peace all over the world."

And, on the lighter side, the seniors at Florence Bain mentioned "a driver's license," "a reduction in my friends' bus fare, which has doubled" and "my two front teeth."

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