Discussion Post: What Do I Get Grandpa For His 99th Birthday?

Forget all the other things we have been discussing, streaming versus theaters and nepotism prejudices and online discourse, this is the MOST IMPORTANT DISCUSSION POST EVER. Grandpa’s 99th, what do I get him?

He is at that age where the last thing he needs is more “stuff”. So, a lovely antique clock, for instance, would be a terrible idea. But a mug, a t-shirt, flowers, or of course the absolutely perfect hours of pleasure toy would be great.

He’s 99 so his brain has slowed down a bit, complicated kits are no longer a good gift, or jigsaw puzzles, or stuff like that. Nothing that involves manual dexterity and thinking hard for an hour straight. Still loves to read though, enjoys watching good TV shows, can make jokes and laugh at jokes, it’s more an energy issue than anything else.

He was in the Army Air Corps in WWII, he went to Purdue University for college (engineering degree), he’s a lifelong Cubs and Bears fan, and he really loves anything to do with boats. Oh, and he vaguely remembers some words of German from his childhood.

Previous top hit gifts, a handmade Purdue blanket, a mug that says “I Love You Opa”, coasters with family photos on them, a t-shirt with the engineer cheer (“secant tangent cosine sine 3 Point 1 4 1 5 9”), a framed photo of Grandma. Oh, and a book of bad puns.

Amazon.com: CafePress I Love My Opa Mug Unique Coffee Mug, Coffee Cup:  Kitchen & Dining
I gave him three different versions of this mug, and a wall hanging. All were big hits, but I really think I may have gone to that well too many times. I don’t even call him “Opa”, it’s just an inside joke because it’s what I used to call him when I used him for German practice.

Currently, all I can think of is lame old 99 roses, one for each year. But it’s LAME. Surely I can do better. Surely WE can do better. As a collective. There has got to be more to birthday presents for a very very VERY old man than just flowers and a funny card.

29 thoughts on “Discussion Post: What Do I Get Grandpa For His 99th Birthday?

    • Grandpa only reads the blog on his birthday when it is his special birthday post and Dad shows him how to find it.

      On Mon, Aug 31, 2020 at 3:53 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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  1. I agree with Sister if Grandpa reads the blog then it won’t be a surprise. Begin spoiler alert – A remote controlled boat that you operate in a bathtub. The beginner ones really do not need you do much other than press buttons – End spoiler alert.

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  2. Spoiler alert! Would be like an audio book subscription? It doesn’t have to replace books but might be another way for him to be entertained. Does he have a television in his room or a rocking chair? Also, cozy pajamas were always a huge hit with my grandpa.

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    • The problem with turning 99 is not just that there have already been 99 presents before, but that we’ve already done the Big presents before (assuming it might be our last chance). My aunt got him an amazing state of the art television a few years ago, my parents helped him buy the best most comfortable lazy boy on the market last winter, and we just get him pajamas on a regular basis anyone since we do all his shopping for him. I checked with my Dad about the audio books, another aunt got him that already too.

      On Mon, Aug 31, 2020 at 8:05 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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  3. I don’t know if this will help but for my Grandfather’s 80th, I got him a painting of specific scenery. He would always talk about taking the train from his hometown to the bigger city where he had his first job. He’d take the train home when he had time off. Whenever I visited India, we used to visit his hometown and he’d talk about his train trip and looking out the window and how seeing the landscape made him so excited to be home. I found a few old pictures for reference and commissioned a painting on Fiverr. He loved it.

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    • That is really lovely, such a nice idea. If I had more time, I might be tempted to come up with something like that.

      On Mon, Aug 31, 2020 at 8:57 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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  4. Photo collage with 99 photos of family. Use a site like shutterfly or something to make a poster, he can store it rolled up or put it on the wall. Anu’s idea of a painting is nice, especially one of a house he lived in and loved. I might steal Anu’s idea for my parents for Christmas.

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      • For my parent’s 50th anniversary I made a photo album of their history together with pictures their grandkids drew (we took photos of the pictures, easier than using a scanner we don’t have) combined with memories from me and my siblings. It was about 16 hours of work, not including getting the kids to draw pictures. The hardest part was actually getting my siblings contributions.

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        • You are so lucky to have small children always within your grasp. It’s just not the same when adults draw the pictures.

          On Tue, Sep 1, 2020 at 9:59 AM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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          • ACTUALLY – my sister drew this amazingly detailed pencil drawing depicting the European sabbatical they took us on when she was 5 and I was 2. And then I drew a picture of our first trip to Hawaii (when we were all adults) and my mom was wearing her 70s fancy designer dress that really means something to her and my siblings. My brother then drew a picture of our Mexican vacation in 2019, and all of the memories came from me and siblings. The memories were the heart & guts, the pictures were skin.

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  5. Books are always a good choice, especially if they are packed with photos.The Chicago Tribune has published a couple of neat ones – both available on Amazon. They are:

    Chicago Flashback: The People and Events That Shaped a City’s History
    and
    The Chicago Tribune Book of the Chicago Cubs; A decade – By – Decade History

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    • That’s a good one! I think taht first book, or one like it, is something we gave him a few years back

      On Tue, Sep 1, 2020 at 3:58 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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  6. Two completely different ideas:

    1. For my in-laws’ 50th wedding anniversary, I got my designer friend to create a family tree of their parents, them, their kids, and grand-kids, with photos, which we then printed and framed and still hangs in my mother-in-law’s living room.

    2. My uncle really liked a box set of The Johnny Carson Show we got him a number of years ago.

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    • Oooo, I like both these ideas! Might be too late to pull them together for his birthday, but if he lasts until Christmas, I could try one of them then.

      On Tue, Sep 1, 2020 at 7:44 PM dontcallitbollywood wrote:

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