15 Cheerful Gift Ideas for Nursing Home Residents

Finding the perfect gift, especially for senior citizens and nursing home residents, can be a challenge. Ultimately, it’s not about spending a lot of money or going overboard, but about being thoughtful and picking something simple.

Since a little humor and cheer can brighten most days, we’ve come up with 15 gift ideas that are fun, bright, and happy, and will be sure to bring joy to your loved one. Consider a gift that will fit your loved one’s personality, remind them of great memories, or encourage a little fun.

Clown Nose

Who can get away with NOT smiling when someone has a clown nose? If your loved one has a silly sense of humor, this is a great gift idea that’s super simple and unique. Consider selecting a set of red clown noses and encourage your loved one to wear one and pass them out to friends and neighbors at the nursing home. And, they can double as Rudolph noses during the Christmas season!

View red foam clown noses on Amazon

Birthday Fortune Telling Book

A fortune-telling birthday book will be appreciated by a loved one who enjoys remembering facts about family and friends. It’s a special gift because it keeps on giving throughout the year — with a new fortune each day. Your loved one can ask friends, family, and neighbors to share a signature on the page with their birthdate and have fun reading the fortunes together.

View fortune-telling birthday books on Amazon

Personalized Cards & Fun Pens

If your loved one enjoys writing notes or sending cards, consider a set of monogrammed note cards and unique pens. Bright or funny ballpoint pens will add an extra touch of joy any time your loved one writes a note.

View monogram note cards on Amazon

View floral ballpoint pens on Amazon

Fun Colorful Socks

Colorful socks are a cheerful and useful gift for friends or family members in nursing homes, bringing both warmth and style as temperatures fluctuate. Choose an animal print, art-inspired socks, or an American flag print, depending on your loved one’s interests.

View dog-themed socks on Amazon

View art-themed socks on Amazon

View flag-themed socks on Amazon

Dried Lavender & Vase

Flowers are a popular go-to gift and can be an instant mood lifter. Unfortunately, fresh-cut flowers only last so long. Consider high-quality dried lavender — it’s beautiful and stays fragrant for a long time. You can display a bunch of dried lavender in a vase on a windowsill, table, or any surface in your loved one’s room. Choose a vase made of thick-walled glass for extra durability.

View dried lavender bundles on Amazon

View vases on Amazon

Digital Photo Frame

Photos and videos can help uncover a lot of great memories. Consider making your loved one a custom slideshow or series of slideshows featuring awesome pictures and videos to display along with a new digital photo frame. This kind of gift will be appreciated because those memories will be even easier to cherish when they are easily accessible. Choose a photo frame that comes with a remote control so your loved one can flip through the memories at his or her own pace.

View digital photo frames on Amazon

Essential Oil Diffuser & Happy Oil

Different blends of essential oils are said to help boost moods. An essential oil diffuser and happiness-themed oil will add a relaxing vibe to your loved one’s room, scent the room nicely, and hopefully lift their spirits. Look for scents with fruity notes like grapefruit and lemon or blends that contain peppermint oil.

View essential oil diffusers on Amazon

View happiness-themed essential oils on Amazon


Colorful jigsaw puzzles can be great gifts to help encourage activity and fellowship with neighbors and friends. When days seem long in the nursing home environment, games and activities can be a good way for folks to have fun together. Choose a beautiful scene of songbirds, a seaside landscape, or any other design you think your loved one will enjoy.

View jigsaw puzzles on Amazon

Fun Bath Puffs

Brighten up your loved one’s daily routine with something fun! Shower or bath time can be mundane, so think about surprising your loved one with a pack of colorful, kitschy exfoliating puffs that will bring charm to any tub or shower. The loofahs below look like different pieces of fruit — equal parts useful and adorable.

View shower puffs on Amazon

Bulletin Board for Photos and Fun Push Pins

Help your loved one bring a little more style and fun to their bedroom. A cork bulletin board is not only useful for pinning photos and cards, but it can also help add a focal feature to the room.

Pair the bulletin board with some printed photos and a pack or two of bright, fun pushpins. Pushpins come in a great variety of colors, shapes, and patterns, from animal themes to retro polka dot prints.

View cork boards on Amazon

View animal pushpins on Amazon

View bright and patterned pushpins on Amazon

Fun & Happy Pillows

Super goofy pillows are perfect for bringing some laughter and fun to a nursing home environment. Plus, they can easily be moved around any time to adorn a bed, couch, or chair. Think about buying a fun pillow or two that would make your loved one smile.

A bright and happy emoji pillow is a cheerful accent. If your loved one loves sweets (or is a sweet person), a giant cupcake pillow could be the perfect gift. And, if your loved one loves animals, a pillow featuring a dog or cat’s face will bring smiles and chuckles each time they look at it.

View emoji pillows on Amazon

View cupcake accent pillows on Amazon

View cat pillows on Amazon

Looking for a non-material gift idea? Perhaps one that will last a long time? See our article detailing how much it costs to buy a star and how to do it.

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  • Many of the residents where my parents live receive no gifts at Christmas. My brother, sister and I would like to make sure every resident gets a gift. What is something you would recommend to give to someone we don’t know or don’t know well?



    • Hillary M. Miller says:
      First Quarter Finance logostaff

      Hi Marcy,

      That’s a wonderful idea! For non-personal, fairly universal gifts, I know a close friend of mine who did a Christmas version of the “dried lavender in a vase” gift to make little holiday-themed vases or jars for all of her coworkers. These can be used to hold flowers, decorative branches, or tealights (real or battery-operated). Pinterest abounds with variations on this theme. Another great option is the increasingly popular hot cocoa mix ornaments, maybe along with a fun holiday mug. These are both pretty simple to make or buy and I think they would be great holiday gifts for people that you don’t know very well. I hope this helps (and thank you on behalf of those residents)!