What's on the Boomers' Holiday Gift List — and What's Not

By The Age of Aging Archives
Cover image for  article: What's on the Boomers' Holiday Gift List — and What's Not

'Tis the season! If you've got a baby boomer that you need a present for or if you're a marketer looking to learn more about what boomers want, here's an insider's glimpse of what boomers really want this holiday season. Here's what made boomers' Nice List and what needs to be exiled to their Naughty List:

The Nice List:

Comfort: The wisdom that comes with age also comes with the desire to be as comfortable as possible at all times. On the top of this list is stylishly comfortable clothing and footwear. The wool we once owned has made its way to The Island of Misfit Clothes, replaced by irresistibly soft and silky cashmere. And then there's cozy bedding. I hear that Boll & Branch has some high-thread-count Egyptian cotton sheets with free next-day shipping. Snuggling up with a super-soft, extra-fluffy, hypo-allergenic, eco-friendly, non-down comforter? Yes, please.

Built to Last: Over the course of their lifetimes, boomers have witnessed the degradation of product quality, with fewer things being made as well as they used to be. Contrary to popular myth, even at their advanced age, boomers are willing to pay more for things that will last a lifetime. For that boomer on your list, take a look at the virtually indestructible clothing and gear sold by Filson — made in America since 1897. For the food and beverage enthusiast, think about an iconic KitchenAid stand mixer or a Waring chrome bar blender. A word to the wise: Enduring quality is the gift that keeps on giving.

Tech Tips: Electronic gadgets are tempting gifts, but when it comes to technology, there's an easy and cost-free way to please the boomers on your holiday list. Give them 30 minutes of your tech-savvy advice; i.e., a personalized Genius Bar.

Even boomers are annoyed by other boomers who make us wait while they scroll through 19,325 photos to find a reunion picture that you don't really want to see. Help them organize their photos in albums or let them know that there's a nifty photos tool called the search function.

Introduce them to the iPhone Tips app that comes pre-installed on their phone or show them how to record and send voice messages. While you're at it, help them with the mystifying world of streaming services and explain how the 5G for their cell phone is different than the 5Ghz for their home Internet. Done well, this could be the best gift of the season, and the price is definitely right.

Events & Experiences: The holidays are that time of the year when the boomers are reminded of how much stuff they own. As they look to simplify their lives by acquiring less, treat them to unique events and experiences instead; the creative possibilities are endless. Think about the newest restaurant in town, wine tastings, concerts, educational travel, or just an airline gift card to get them airborne in the direction of novel experiences that they can record, photograph, and add to their iPhone albums (now that they know how).

Anything Vintage: eBay is a boomer's best friend because it helps them locate well-preserved versions of the iconic items from their past. Don't mistake vintage pieces for antique relics. Owning – and, better yet, wearing – vintage items reminds them that, once upon a time, they were actually trendsetters. Vintage items also have a unique way of making them feel timeless, which is the next best thing to being ageless.

Ask your boomer what their favorite childhood possessions were and there's a better than good chance that you can locate a preserved or restored version online. If anyone's interested, I know where you can get a working version of an Odyssey video game console, circa 1972 — you'll l need an analog television with rabbit ears to operate it.

The Naughty List:

Ties: See the above reference to comfort. Boomers' years of tight ties are over. Instead, give them a life-hack for making practical use of the 92 gifted ties that they already own — most of which are the wrong width.

Socks: If this is your best attempt at creative gift giving, you might want to also rethink your cauliflower fruitcake venture. Nothing says you were lazier about your gift selection than a pair of one-size-fits-all, unisex socks purchased at an airport newsstand.

Himalayan Sea Salt: This was a clever gift the first time a boomer received it, but now they own enough coarse salt to de-ice the runways at JFK. Consider gifting some Persian advieh, black garlic, or Kampot red peppercorns instead.

Bluetooth-Enabled Trackers:Got it. You think boomers are old and forgetful and that they spend their days trying to find their car keys so they can drive to the mall only to forget where they parked the car. And while we're on the subject, no Jitterbug cell phones for seniors either. Thank you.

Holiday Gift Baskets:Please, spare us the generosity of a "gourmet" food basket wrapped in colored cellophane. News flash, after all these years: Boomers are just not nuts about shelf-stable meats and cheese, marzipan, dried fruit, filberts, jelly, and hollow chocolate figurines. Ditto for a box of grapefruits from Florida or pears wrapped in paper. You might as well give them a candle instead, sigh.

There you have it. We hope this insight helps you to please that fussy boomer who already owns too much and doesn't believe in Santa. Good luck, gift-givers, and don't forget to wrap the receipt, too. They'll need that to make the return easier.

Happy Holidays!

Photo courtesy of BoomAgers

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