Peer Advisors Offer Their Favorite Holiday Gift Ideas

A shopping cart full of winter holiday decorations
‘Tis the Season to Shop!

The VisionAware peer advisors, Maureen Duffy, Social Media Specialist,VisionAware, and Neva Fairchild, National Independent Living Associate, AFB, have all contributed to this post. Also be sure to read our new holiday gift guide for people who are blind or visually impaired.

Neva’s Suggestions

  • A music box
  • An electric razor along with tips for shaving
  • Craft kits such as leather or bead projects along with some ideas about setting up a craft area
  • Touchable art such as figurines or plaques in themes special to the person you are gifting
  • Recordable ornaments, picture frames or photo albums
  • Appealing consumables such as nuts, candy, cheese, or popcorn (be careful of the needs of people with allergies or diabetes)
  • Adapted games such as chess, checkers, backgammon or tic-tac-toe so the recipient can play with other adults or with the children in their lives. This checklist may help you choose.
  • Whimsical items such as talking stuffed toys or key chains with funny or inspirational messages
  • Spill proof travel mugs for on-the-go and to limit spills at home
  • A personalized coupon for an afternoon of errands or other assistance such as organizing clothing by color, marking spices, or reading mail. These gifts may costs you a little time or gas money, but such gifts are priceless to a person with vision loss.
  • A day of house cleaning or handyman chores is another wonderful gift.
  • Dinner and a movie at a theater with descriptive video
  • If your gift recipient lives in north Texas, consider a trip to Esther’s Place in Dallas to see the products and model apartment or visit the web version of Esther’s Place. Also, most urban areas have a rehabilitation center for people with vision loss that you can visit and find through VisionAware Directory of Services.

Peer Advisors’ Gift Bucket List

  • Thermometers. There are several different types from oven thermometers to clinical thermometers. They come in talking and large print versions.
  • Measuring tools like a ruler, tape measure, measuring spoons and cups are also available in braille or large numeral versions.
  • Elbow length oven mitts
  • Pocket slates and styli for taking quick braille notes or small digital voice recorders
  • iTunes gift cards for the smart phone owner
  • Audio-described DVD movies
  • Alternate format items like braille or large print calendars and braille or large print books
  • A subscription to BookShare or Audible
  • Bone conduction ears-free headsets
  • Gifts for dog guide users like items depicting their current dog breed and collapsable bowls

Where Can You Find This Great Stuff?

You can find most of these products and many more through VisionAware’s Helpful Products Section which has links to the AFB product database as well as to specialty catalogs. Tip: most of these catalogs or stores have gift certificates.

Two of Deanna Noriega’s Favorite Websites

  • Make Scents is a shop that will add braille labels to your orders. To quote their website: “Makes Scents is your place to revel in the wonderful world of scents and aromas. Enjoy! They can also blend scent free products if your allergies make scents a problem.” Their number is 800-250-2290.
  • Coffee-anyone provides braille labels.

To find out about navigating websites, check out the latest AccessWorld article, Holiday 2013 Gift Giving.

Maureen Duffy Adds Her Picks

  • Online Etsy shop with personalized braille ornaments. The shop owner’s son was diagnosed with a rare genetic retina causing condition called Leber’s Congenital Amaurosis, at the age of 4 months. He was born blind in both eyes. She started making braille ornaments as a fundraiser, and all proceeds benefit research.
  • Alice Lynch’s braille jewelry that really holds up to daily wear and tear.
  • The Curve, the best, simplest clock that I’ve come across in my years as a Vision Rehabilitation Therapist.
  • For people who have a hard time keeping up with their TV remotes, glasses, pens, almost anything small, I recommend a bed or arm chair caddy, available through Walmart, Amazon, and other vendors.
  • Finally, I wholeheartedly recommend Sue Wiygul Martin’s new book Out of the Whirlpool: A Memoir of Remorse and Reconciliation. Sue has written a deeply honest and moving account of the rebuilding of her life after a desperate, impetuous act in her youth ended in traumatic blindness. which she describes as “the story of a suicide survivor and the rebuilding of a life.” Available in audible and print formats, the price includes shipping. Sue is a VisionAware peer advisor and frequently writes and answers questions that people have about living with vision problems. Read more about the book on the VisionAware blog.

Make a Lasting Gift

People with vision problems can face the future with confidence when they have access to the right information. The new VisionAware™ Getting Started kit provides hope and help to people experiencing vision loss by assisting them in handling challenges caused by visual impairments.

Thanks to our partnership with Reader’s Digest Partners for Sight Foundation, we are making the following offer: for a donation of $30 or more made by December 31, 2013, we will mail to you a large print copy of the kit.