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Planning Retirement Online

Think About Hobbies

Buying something that reflects someone's hobby is always likely to be very popular. It shows some thought and it is something

the recipient is likely to find enjoyable, useful and/or helpful as they pursue their hobby.

On this page are just some ideas to get you started along this line of thought. There are obviously hundreds of hobbies that people might have, but here are some things to get your brain working along the right lines. Think about what you can do for people who have one of the following hobbies:

Choosing Presents links

- Reading. Have a look at the Safe Options page of this Guide to read about books, magazines and book vouchers or tokens.

- Puzzles. Many people like to do puzzles of various sorts to keep the brain active and, of course, because they enjoy them. If they do, there are many things that you can buy them. You can buy books of crosswords, sudoku and other sorts of mind games at any bookstore, including W H Smith. Also, look on the Penguin website or the Happy Puzzle Company for a whole range. You might even buy them a Nintendo Wii and the Big Brain Academy game to put on it. For all sorts of puzzles, including jigsaws, go to Bits and Pieces.

- Lessons. Whatever the person is interested in, they might need lessons to get better at it. For example, if they are learning a musical instrument, you could buy them a series of lessons on it. If you go to your local music shop, they will probably have a list of local teachers. They might want to learn bridge, for the social element of it or to keep their brain alert. You can get online lessons at Bridge Doctor. Learning a language is popular, especially amongst newly-retired people, so think about lessons at the local college or with Rosetta Stone software. Improving IT skills is also very popular, so people can take advantage of the Internet and so on. So you could pay for a learndirect course on some aspect of computing, which the person would do either at a learndirect centre or at home because they're all done on computers.

- Models. Many people, especially the male sex, are interested in models. Some make them, some like radio controlled ones to operate and some just like looking at them. Model train sets are, of course, especially popular! For all sorts of radio controlled models, have a look at Wonderland Models or Bits and Pieces. For train sets, you need look no further than Hornby's. If the person likes making models, have a look at Craft Fair, which gives a comprehensive list of all kinds of suppliers, accessories and so on.

- Sport. If someone has a sporting hobby, this provides a rich source of potential presents. You can buy clothing or equipment that will help, or you can buy tickets so that they can go to watch their favourite sport. You might even buy an entry into a competition if they do the sport competitively. For tickets, go to Ticketmaster or to Get Me In . If you are buying kit or equipment, go to a specialist shop rather than a highstreet sports shop if you want to get something a little bit better than the ordinary. For example, if the person is a runner, Sweatshop is a good place to go because it specialises in that one sport. If they like walking, you could buy them a subscription to the Ramblers' Association.

- Crafts. Crafts are becoming very popular again and many people like doing them. You might get some hints and ideas from the laterlife Guide to Arts and Crafts. There are all sorts of creative things that people like to do and buying something that will help them do this will always be popular. For a comprehensive look at what's available, go to Hobbycraft, where you will find ideas for all sorts of home-based crafts. If the person likes wood turning or carving, buying them tools is a good idea. However, unless you are an expert it's probably better to tell them what you are thinking about buying and let them guide you. However, if you do want to make it a surprise, either find your local specialist shop or go to Thomas Flinn or ASK Tools.

- Gardening. Gardening is hugely popular and if you want to buy a present to do with it, there are lots of things you can do. You can take the person on a garden visit or buy them membership to the RHS so they can visit all the gardens, such as Wisley or Savill Gardens, whenever they wish to free of charge. Have a look at Gardens-Guide to see many more gardens you can visit. You could pay for a subscription to Garden, the Royal Horticultural Society magazine or you can buy vouchers for a garden centre (see the Safe Options page to this Guide). You can buy books (through Amazon or at a garden centre or book shop), equipment, plants or shrubs. These last three are probably best bought at a garden centre. You could take the recipient of your present for a day out to a garden centre, buy a present and have a nice meal, too.

- Genealogy. Genealogy is becoming increasingly popular, partly driven by television programmes about it. If the person is keen to trace his or her family, you could buy pay-for-view credits to see records on or you could take them on a visit to the National Archives where they can see exhibitions and have a meal in the restaurant - paid for by you.

Clearly, only a small sample of hobbies are covered on this page, but if the person pursues some other hobby, hopefully it has provided food for thought about the possibilities. Some people are passionate about their hobbies and anything we can do to feed that passion is bound to be gratefully received.

If you would like to help make this Guide even better, either fill in the feedback form or visit our Forum and tell us any ideas you have. In particular, tell us about the best present you have ever given or the best one you have ever received. We'll then add your ideas to the Guide.

Now read the rest of the Guide by clicking on the links in the box. It will ease the dilemma of trying to choose the perfect present.

This Guide to Choosing Presents is written by Retirement Specialist Dave Sinclair supported by members of the LaterLife team. As well as writing on retirement matters Dave is Training Director at LaterLife and responsible for the content and continuous improvement of LaterLife's Retirement Courses
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