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Shopping with Grandma


What is the best way to help Grandma shop for the holidays? She desperately wants to go out shopping each year, though taking her is an exhausting journey. Grandma does not walk well, so a wheelchair is a must. It is not that easy to navigate some stores, and she is so indecisive and unprepared that the project takes multiple trips to the mall.

With a family of my own, a job, and a home to maintain, taking Grandmother holiday shopping is just too much. How can I make this process easier? 


Multiple shopping trips during such a busy time of year can certainly be exhausting. Your desire to improve the holiday shopping process with Grandma is certainly justified.

From what I have seen and heard, most elderly individuals simplify gift-giving as they age. They might give money, food, or something easily obtained. It is common for some to give everyone the same gift. Some elderly have even embraced the unbelievable convenience of online shopping. It sounds like your grandmother is a bird of a different feather, so to speak. While it is not easy for her to get around, she wants to be out in the hustle and bustle of holiday shopping. It is likely a lifelong pattern that she does not feel compelled to stop.

Now enter the inability to browse/shop independently, requiring that she be escorted and pushed around while you watch. It is understandable that her holiday shopping habit is causing you distress. It is time for you to get creative with Grandma so that this process does not make you a frazzled mess each year.

Set Boundaries / Limits

Let Grandma know in summer that this year you are going to limit shopping trips to downtown, the mall, or wherever the two of you usually go. Tell her you are planning to simplify your life on numerous fronts, and multiple shopping trips are one of the items you are going to cut back on. Let her know how many trips you can make with her for shopping. If it is one, so be it.

Explain to Grandma your strategies for simplifying your life and why this is important to you. They could include things like meal preparation in bulk, grocery delivery, carpooling, or whatever you are planning for an easier, less complicated life. Emphasize that less shopping for the holidays is part of your overall plan for a happier life.

It is important for your grandmother to feel included in this plan. After you share it, ask Grandma how she can work with you to accomplish your goals while still being a part of her holiday experience. Be considerate, understanding and firm.

Do not expect your plan to be supported by your grandmother whole-heartedly. You should feel grateful even if you only receive reluctant support. You are asking her to change a shopping habit that she has developed over a lifetime.  Your plan will require her to materially change how she does things, so do not expect instant success.

I wish you the best with your situation.


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