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Planning Retirement Online

Unusual Ideas

This page of the Guide suggests maybe slightly unusual or unconventional presents to give to people. They are presents that will not be for everyone but, on the other hand, for the man or woman who has everything, they might fit the bill.

Choosing Presents links

Choosing presents can be very difficult and we like to believe that the person to whom we are giving will appreciate the present. If you're unsure, you might be better off with one of the ideas on our Safe Options page but if you know the person quite well or can gain some clues with one of the ways suggested on the front page, then something more unusual can surprise and delight people. So here are a few ideas to get the brain thinking:


- Give a donation: You can donate to a charity, a hospital, an animal sanctuary or some other good cause in the person's name. It's a good idea if you can then get the beneficiaries of the donation to use the money to provide something tangible and then have a plaque made showing who provided the money for it. The Globe Theatre in London, for example, has bricks showing the names of people who have donated money to its cause. You can approach the local hospital or veterinary surgery, for example, to see if they would be interested.

Many charities will track where specific donations go, or they will use them for a specific project that the donator holds dear to their heart. So you need to know what it is that the recipient of the present is keen on and then make the appropriate donation. All the charities have websites, so you can easily find their contact details.

Alternatively, you could pay for a year's membership of a charity that you know the person is keen on. For example, friends of the earth costs £3 per month to belong to, so for £36 you could pay for a year's subscription.

- Sponsor a Child: Or an animal in the person's name. You can sponsor a child through actionaid and the person will receive drawings and messages from the child. Alternatively, go to World Vision and sponsor a child through them.

If you think that the person would rather adopt an animal, you can do so through the World Wildlife Fund. You receive a welcome pack and then quarterly updates on how your adopted animal is getting on.

- Rent a Row of Vines: You can rent a row of vines in England, France or Italy as a present. The person can go and see the vines, attend tastings, dinners and harvest celebrations and get free personalised wine labels with each vintage. Go to Vintage Wine Gifts to see how it all works.

Or you can buy the person a vine that they can grow either indoors or out at their own home. Go to Vines for Wines or Plants4Presents to see a selection of vines that will produce either red or white wines.

- Collectibles: You could buy something that might start the person collecting things. People collect all sorts of things, very often starting from when someone gave them something that they really liked and so started to collect. There is a fascinating website called World Collectors Net, with information about collecting all sorts of things. The link will take you to a page with a huge list of collectibles; one of the items on the list might appeal to the recipient of your present.

- Driving Lessons: If we're buying for a young person, driving lessons are an excellent idea. Almost all people want to learn to drive, so anything we can do to expedite that wish will be appreciated. There are hundreds of driving schools but for a reputable, nationwide one, try the AA or BSM.

- Other Lessons: There is a section about lessons on the Think About Hobbies page. But there are many other sorts of lessons that get people started on something perhaps more exciting than things they have traditionally done. For example, how about flying (Flights4all), gliding (the British Gliding Association), or ice skating (your local skating rink)?

- Activity Breaks: You could pay for a short activity break, where the person can go walking or climbing, for example. Or they can can get an introduction to watercolours, Italian cookery, pottery and so on. Just Google activity breaks and find something that you think will appeal to the person for whom you're buying it.

- Treasure Hunt: For children of all ages (including grown-ups!) you could get 10 or so small presents and hide them around the house with suitable clues. The person then has to follow the clues to find the presents.

These are just some of the perhaps slightly out-of-the-ordinary presents that we might buy for people. If none of these appeals to you, then at least they might have got you thinking along the right lines.


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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