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Gifts for grandparents 2018 – food and drink

gifts for older people

by Kathy Lawrence

This is the edible section of our Christmas gift guide for older friends and family for 2018. In some cases we have been offered samples of these products for review and we make it clear where that has been the case.


Where do you start? Spirits, wines and beers are available in every flavour, size and quality of effervescence, and it takes an expert to make real recommendations on quality. We’re not experts, but we do know what we like, so here goes.

It’s been yet another year of the gin with a twist. From supermarkets to small independent distilleries at farmers’ markets, the choice is massive. Add to that the growing range of mixers available, and there’s a flavour for every palate. As well as a straightforward bottle, you can buy distillery tours and even events where you create your own gin flavours.

Christmas gifts for grandparents cream liqeurCream liqueurs have been a favourite at Christmas for a long time now, and the enthusiasm shows no sign of abating. While Baileys is still finding new ways to flavour and serve their leading product (Smarties on the side anyone?), there are plenty of other options. We tried a Coole Swan Irish Cream Liqueur sent to us as a sample, and it slid down a treat.

A quick word about wine too. Here again taste is so personal. But since a trip to New Zealand earlier this year we have taken notice of the NZ wine available on the supermarket shelves, and the choice has been growing over the last few months. We discovered Marlborough district Sauvignon Blanc while we were away, but struggled  to find any here. A few months later and now the likes of Morrisons and Aldi have three or four, from about £5 upwards.


Hampers are a great idea if you can’t get together with family or friends over the holidays, but would like to send them something edible to enjoy. Or perhaps you’d just like to say thank you to someone for helping your family during the year.

Hampers for Christmas for seniorsEver widening choice is definitely a theme. Find hampers from supermarkets such as Aldi, Marks & Spencer and Waitrose, specialist online retailers such as Partridges, famous department stores and even the milk delivery service. From cardboard boxes to real wicker hampers, there are choices to suit every pocket and taste. Many are based around Christmas fare, cheese, chocolate, wine, meat – whatever you think your loved one would enjoy.

Tea by post

A regular delivery of a variety of teas is a gift that can last through the year. There are plenty of companies offering tea subscriptions that arrive through the letterbox on a monthly basis. We’ve tried Bruu and the recipient tells us she’s really enjoyed trying something different every month. We like it because you can choose the type of tea to suit tastes. There are fruit, spice, black, green and white teas, but you choose what gets included and what is left out. Personally we find discovering new ideas in the black and white tea world a perfect result. Subscriptions are generally available for 3, 6 or 12 months.

Tea in a box

We do like the idea of a selection of teas in a box, and we’ve tried a couple.

We loved the Twinings box we bought as a present to the staff at a nursing home. This is a well-made, good quality, dark wood box with room for 120 sachets of tea, all for a cost of under £30. The box we’ve highlighted here is empty and you can choose and order the contents separately. It’s available from other vendors, some of whom may offer a filled box – but check whether the contents are suitable.

We’ve also just tried out a more personalised tea box from Giftpup.  The box itself is made of very lightweight pine, personalised with a wood-burned message on the front and inside the lid. The box we were given by the company contained a small selection mint, detox, and peppermint & licorice teas. With personalisation this box costs £24.99 plus delivery charges and takes 72 hours to process.


Every cup of tea needs a good receptacle from which to drink it. We suspect we’re not alone in having a cupboard full of mugs, most of which have specific jobs to do – morning coffee, afternoon tea, garden drinks, builders’ tea, and even the middle of the night mugs for the insomniacs. We really enjoy our Alice in Wonderland mugs from Whittards for our post-prandial cuppa. You could also take a look at the Roald Dahl gift website for more ideas if you have a fan in the family.

Bread-making courses

We’ve mentioned this idea in previous gift guides and we continue to think it’s a great idea to buy vouchers towards a breadmaking workshop. While we still love our  fairly ancient Panasonic breadmaker and can’t get dough to rise by hand ever, we have friends who are now far more successful after taking a course. There are a growing number of locations and choice of courses available. We just had a quick look at Bread Angels, and found eight instructors within ten miles of our location here in Surrey.

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Photo by Gaby Dyson on Unsplash

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