If you’re one of the many who still have to get a gift for an older relative or friend, it isn’t necessary to plan a huge shopping trip. Sometimes, a visit to a corner store or post office is all that’s needed.

Through the years I’ve listened to my peer group, and here are some of the things they’ve suggested they’d be happy to receive: Postage stamps, a box of assorted cards, including sympathy cards, a good magnifying glass, wool socks and knee socks, gift cards and magazine or newspaper subscriptions.

My late father was one of those who gave “sensible” gifts, not ever wrapped up with a bow on top, but valued so much. He was a carpenter and cabinetmaker, so at Christmas we’d often receive such things as wooden toys, sleds and even a bobsled one year. Later, we received jewelry boxes, clocks, tables, breadboards, tool boxes and rolling pins. When I was living in South Dakota and caring for a new baby, at Christmas he sent a handmade cradle. In our older years, he switched to really sensible things such as snow tires, fire extinguishers, a Triple A membership and fuel oil.

Recently we wrote about the convenience and usefulness of Meals on Wheels for the housebound and a reader reminded me that a wonderful gift would be a donation to the Southern Maine Agency on Aging to be designated for this program – or for another of the many vital services they provide.

There are many ways to donate: Cash gifts can be designated as unrestricted or restricted for a specific Southern Maine Agency on Aging program; tribute gifts can be made to honor or remember a friend or loved one. To find out more, call 396-6583 or 800-400-6325.

Perhaps you’d like to take an older friend (or yourself) out to lunch where you can depend on the diners being ?all of a certain age? and probably neighbors. Try a Community Cafe?, hosted by Southern Maine Agency on Aging. These are dining sites located throughout southern Maine and serve delicious and nutritious meals at noon on specific days. They are great gathering places for elders and offer not just meals, but also, in many cases, regular events like card games, activities and always companionship.

Call individual locations for more information and always 48 hours in advance for a reservation. Local sites include: Westbrook Community Center, 426 Bridge St., 878-3285, serving on the last Tuesday of the month; Peoples Methodist Church in South Portland at 310 Broadway, call 767-2255, erving every Thursday; and in Windham, at Unity Gardens on 124 Tandberg Trail. Call 892-3891. Meals served Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday.

Whatever holiday you celebrate, the gift of time is priceless – so take a few minutes, make a phone call or write a note and send a card. No emails on holidays, please.

Kay Soldier welcomes reader ideas for column topics of interest to seniors. She can be reached by email at [email protected], or write to 114 Tandberg Trail, Windham, ME 04062.