Smiling elderly lady in a rocking chair with a unexpected Christmas gift.
Surprise Christmas gift brightens the life of an elderly lady.

The Forgotten Ones

After many years of trying to brighten the season for needy children, my husband and I happened upon an Angel Tree for nursing home residents -- the often forgotten fragile, lonely ones in our society.

Some have outlived their children, others have children not willing to travel across the country, while some have no family or friends whatsoever. They are left to languish alone on our holiest holiday.

These are ones we owe so much -- they are survivors of wars that kept our country free. Many suffered during the Great Depression simply trying to put food on the table for their families. They are all strong folks that could teach us much and deserve our absolute respect! Most of them did not have easy lives and in their final years. Many are the "forgotten ones." In my eyes, nothing could be more shameful!

My husband, Jerry, instantly grabbed a card for a gentleman from that very special Angel Tree, while I selected the name of an older lady. Then we launched into an all-out shopping spree. The only information we had was first names, ages, and two wish lists. Never have I given such thought to each and every purchase. Making Christmas special for these two older kids became an obsession for both of us on a cold winter's afternoon.

The gentleman had simply asked for music CDs. There was no mention of what type of music or any particular singer he enjoyed. We were both perplexed and then it hit us like a rock! Doing a little math we figured out what years he'd have been a teenager and took it from there. We purchased several CD's of hits from that time, as well as hits on into his twenties and thirties.

The dear lady had requested only a robe. After some thought, I knew it must be washable, warm and of durable fabric to withstand being washed at the nursing facility. I located a lovely, plush, terry cloth robe with a bit of pink "girly" embellishment down the front -- the tag even said it could be bleached. But, what woman wouldn't enjoy new house slippers to match her robe? I tracked those down as well!

Jerry and I were so wound up at that stage of the game that we couldn't stop with simply the items that had been requested.

"What's Christmas without a box of fine assorted chocolates?" Jerry asked.

I giggled and agreed, but as we headed to the candy department I realized one of them could possibly be diabetic. We found wonderful sugar-free assortments of chocolates that could satisfy anyone with a sweet tooth.

Still, it seemed something was lacking.

"I wonder how long it's been since this little gal enjoyed a bottle of nice perfume!" I wondered.

We sprayed and sniffed until we found a mild scent that seemed suitable, and so hoped she wouldn't be allergic. I also included hand and body lotion. In my heart I knew she'd once again feel spry and beautiful as she pampered herself with the delicious aroma.

Then, Jerry piped up, "Boys are never too old for toys!"

After studying every small-scale model car and truck in the store, he chose several that would have been popular when the older gentleman likely purchased his first "set of wheels," and possibly his first family auto as a young married man. They would be nice remembrances placed on his bedside table or dresser to remind him of "the good old days."

I took great care in wrapping all items. The packages had to be beautiful. All the while I envisioned the sparkle in their aged eyes when opening each gift, and prayed our efforts would create a very blessed and Merry Christmas for two genuinely deserving people.

No, that year they were not forgotten! In fact, they are never forgotten in our home. Each holiday season we discuss the joy that filled our hearts that year as we attempted to sprinkle the Christmas season with a bit of bliss for two aged, forgotten, souls.

In remembrance of two nursing home residents who, every year, remind us of the reason for the season.

~ Kathleene S. Baker ~
Copyright © 2011
Lnstrlady at

Kathy and Jerry reside in Plano, Texas. Kathy has contributed to magazines, online ezines, newspapers, Chicken Soup for the Soul books, and writes a weekly column entited Heart of Texas. You can visit her website here:

[ By: Kathleene S. Baker Copyright © 2011 (Lnstrlady at -- {used with permission} ]

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