Buying Christmas Gifts for the Visually Impaired
It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas!
We got our first snow in the midwest in November this year, so really it’s been looking a lot like Christmas for a while. It’s officially time to bundle up in our scarves, gloves, and hats for the winter season.
The many hats I wear
Getting out our winter gear made me think of the many different ‘hats’ we all wear in our lives. I wear the mom hat, teacher hat, wife hat, aunt hat, sister hat, daughter hat, friend hat, writer hat, researcher hat, nurse hat, chauffeur hat, and even the dog and cat poop cleaner-upper hat. The list goes on and on for all of us.
My favorite ‘hat’ though, by far, is Santa’s hat.
Wearing Santa’s hat
I love, love, love to find THE perfect gift for every special person in my life. Especially during the holidays. Something about it just makes me feel really happy, though sometimes it’s really hard to think of what each person wants, what I can afford, or what I have time to create for them.
I can’t be the only one that really wants to find the perfect gift but struggles to do so. So, I thought I’d try to help anyone looking for the perfect holiday gift for their loved one with vision loss.
Give the gift of FUN
Did you know that many of our favorite classic games have been modified for the visually impaired? From Monopoly to Checkers, and from Scrabble to a deck of playing cards, many different games have been adapted for the visually impaired! Some games are printed in large font or have other modifications such as braille on cards or pieces, and can even have instructions that can be read aloud to us. Now you know!
There are also some really awesomely fun ‘giant yard games’ that don’t have to be played in the yard. Giant Jenga (stacking and tumbling blocks) or giant Checkers? Yes, please!
Give the gift of FUNCTION
Could your loved one use some new nightlights for their hallways and bathrooms? How about some push lights for their closets or food pantry? ‘Dots’ for their microwave buttons? A telephone with larger numbers? A reading lamp next to their favorite chair? A magnifying device? The older I get, the more I love practical gifts that I'd not normally purchase for myself. The gift of function is one that I have a fondness for.
Give the gift of COMPANIONSHIP
Is there a better gift than spending time with one another? We all live busy lives and sometimes stopping for a visit or taking someone out for an evening isn’t always at the top of our lists. Want to give your loved one something REALLY special? Consider taking them to dinner or to a show that you’ll both enjoy. How about spending an afternoon sipping coffee or tea and just catching up?
Give the gift of TIME
Does your loved one need help with transportation? Can you pay for a month’s worth of train or bus fare? How about teaching them how to get an Uber or Lyft? Is it possible for you to show them how to make the font on their mobile devices bigger or darker? Or can you help them change the color scheme or lighting on their cell phone? These things can seem scary to do at first, especially for anyone who isn’t comfortable with technology. Taking the time to help someone learn how can be a really big deal (and a wonderful gift!).
Can you drive them, yourself, to the store or a doctor appointment? There are so many ways your time can help visually impaired loved ones! Get creative.
Other time giving ideas:
- Read aloud to your loved one
- Share jokes
- Tactile (things associated with touch) games/activities: Tic Tac Toe or Dominoes
- Join a weekly or monthly social group
- Watch/Listen to a movie
- Enjoy a cup of coffee together
- Go on a walk
- Make and enjoy a meal together
Quick Tip: It’s important to ask your loved one about their health, but remember that isn’t all that we are...we have so many other things going on in our lives too and sometimes it feels good to not have to think about our struggles with vision. When spending time with us, try not to dwell on our vision.
Get a list
Don't forget, you can always ask your visually impaired loved one if there is something specific they want or need this holiday season. Can't go wrong there!
Have any awesome gift ideas you'd like to share with us? Please do in the comments below!
Enjoy your holidays with your loved ones,
Do you find it easy to advocate for yourself?