What Boomers Want for Christmas

This column is written for a Baby Boomer, by a Baby Boomer. It uses nostalgia to bring readers back to where it all began and then gets answers from personal finance experts to help navigate best routes for a healthy and prosperous future. E-mail your questions or topic ideas to thefoxboomer@gmail.com.

‘Twas the night before Christmas and all through the house, not a creature was stirring not even a mouse. Well, I was always stirring, trying to sneak around the house to see if Santa had come yet.

The train sets, the sleds, my sister’s baby dolls -- all part of this Christmas tradition that brings out the kid in all of us. So, my Boomer friends, as I approach my 60th Christmas I began thinking about what gifts would be appropriate for us "older folks.” Consumer Reports and AARP put together a list that is indeed appealing.

I also spoke with Matt Thornhill - the founder and president of the BoomerProject.com, to get his take on what boomers need this year, and his suggestions weren’t so cut and dry.

One of the key points Thornill shared about boomers is that we are now at a stage of life where we actually don't want more “stuff.” What we want are better and more enriching experiences. I couldn’t agree more.

An example: If you have a boomer father/husband/friend who likes to do outdoor activities, there are various stores that have affordable training seminars and workshops. You could buy the gift of an hour of personal training on fly fishing or hunting. You can buy a cooking class for boomer men and/or women, even for those who’ve been around their share of kitchens – you could offer them a new trick with the gift of a specialty class.

Those are a few things you might want to give the boomers in your life this holiday season and into 2011.

Furthering this theme, a boomer is sure to enjoy anything that is hobby or educational related.You can buy a class at a local technical college or community college, maybe a class on photography. Some boomers are starting to struggle with the thought of “What is my legacy?” And we’re not so much interested in getting more for ourselves, but rather focused on how much more we can give of ourselves. There are countless opportunities out there. Instead of giving a Christmas gift to a boomer, make a donation in his or her name at some local charity. Such a wonderful gift for those who have “everything we need.”

Another gift idea for the boomer women in your life would be financial-counseling courses. Some women have made it to our age without ever taking control of their finances because of the ways of a now-archaic society.

So, if you’re hunting for a last-minute gift for the baby boomers in your life remember this: It’s not about “stuff.” Instead, for those of us with experience, it is all about experiences.