5 holiday gift ideas for hard-to-buy-for boomers

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If you didn't buy all your holiday gifts on Black Friday, here are a few gift ideas for those boomers on your list who want to live long and prosper in their retirement years.

Idea #1: For a different take on the secret to living a long life, think about gifting a copy of The Longevity Project: Surprising Discoveries for Health and Long Life from the Landmark Eight-Decade Study, by Howard Friedman and Leslie Martin. Instead of discussing the benefits of eating broccoli, getting your medical tests, taking vitamins, or jogging, this new book discusses the habits, personalities, and characteristics of people who have already lived a long life.

Idea #2: Buy a favorite toy or game from your recipient's youth: Think Lincoln Logs, pick up sticks, a yo-yo or top, a Hula Hoop, a Frisbee, a jigsaw puzzle, Scrabble or Monopoly - something without an on-off switch and definitely nothing digital. They can invite the grandkids over to play. Playing games with their grandkids will make them happy and help them feel young.

Idea #3: If someone on your list has young grandchildren, buy one or two CDs of popular childhood songs that they can take them with them when they're visiting their relatives and sing along with. Think "Old MacDonald Had a Farm," or "The Itsy-Bitsy Spider." This will put a smile on their face - and on their grandchildren's. Smiling often is good for their health -- and longevity.

Idea #4: Has your friend or loved one ever talked about wanting to take a class on a new or favorite interest? Buy a gift certificate for them for a class at their local community college - or just pay for the class if the college doesn't offer gift certificates. Learning new things is one of the best ways to keep a mind sharp.

Idea #5: Purchase tickets for them to a local play or concert, and include yourself and/or friends and family. An interesting experience shared with loved ones might be more appreciated than just giving more stuff.

Bonus idea: For the grandparents out there, think about purchasing an iPad 2. The iPad 1 made it on my list last year, but the iPad 2 offers a camera so grandparents can kick back on the couch and Skype with their grandkids. And they can still read books and shop for Christmas gifts, all from the comfort of their favorite recliner.

For even more ideas, check out my two posts from last year that shared gift ideas for boomers. The ideas are timeless and would still make good gifts this year.

12 Christmas gift ideas for retirees
Christmas gift ideas: 12 books for retirees (and those about to retire)

Happy shopping!

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    Steve Vernon helped large employers design and manage their retirement programs for more than 35 years as a consulting actuary. Now he's a research scholar for the Stanford Center on Longevity, where he helps collect, direct and disseminate research that will improve the financial security of seniors. He's also president of Rest-of-Life Communications, delivers retirement planning workshops and authored Retirement Game-Changers: Strategies for a Healthy, Financially Secure and Fulfilling Long Life and Money for Life: Turn Your IRA and 401(k) Into a Lifetime Retirement Paycheck.