For the elderly, giving effortless food is a winner

Christmas shopping for 90+-year-olds whose home is overflowing with stuff is a challenge. For years I gave my parents gifts from Omaha Steaks, but they still had to cook the meat, along with side dishes. As they’ve gotten older, it seems better to reduce their work.

This year I decided to check into whether Omaha Steaks has gifts that need only to be unpacked and microwaved. Searching for “microwavable” on the Omaha Steaks site yielded dozens of possibilities. There were choices like beef stew, pot roast, and lasagna that don’t need side dishes except maybe a salad, as well as full meals with vegetable sides and even dessert. My parents are getting beef stew, mini meatloaves, chicken breasts, “smashed” potatoes, and desserts, all microwavable.

This isn’t intended to be a promotion of Omaha Steaks; there are plenty of other companies that sell food gifts, prepared and not. Omaha Steaks works for me because I can pay with points earned through credit card and bank accounts.

Continuing in the food vein, I also got Mom and Dad a gift card to Bakers Square, where they frequently eat dinner on free-pie Wednesdays. That, too, was bought by redeeming bank card points. It feels good to use the points I forget about the rest of the year on gifts that will be consumed.

The pluses of food gifts — likely to be used, environmentally responsible — make me think about baking Christmas cookies, although I’m not sure whom I’d give them to. Maybe the doormen at my building. I wouldn’t want friends to think they need to reciprocate. The friends and I who used to exchange Christmas gifts made mutual decisions to stop. The last one with whom I was exchanging suggested that we each make a contribution to a charity in the other’s name. Great idea.

Christmas doesn’t have to be a commercial glut.



When you buy over the Internet, you get on the companies’ email lists, and boy do they bombard you at this time of year. Omaha Steaks, which vegetarian me isn’t going to patronize except to buy for my parents, was sending several promotions a day until I unsubscribed. It seems like every time I check my email, Amazon, Target, Petco, PetSmart, Chewy, Grubhub, Groupon, CVS, and eBay all have sent a new promotion. I could unsubscribe from their email lists as well, but when I buy again, I’ll be back on, so I just delete.

Some charities, too, have been irritating at this time of year. I won’t name those I support, but I wish they would think that I might be more inclined to continue automatic monthly contributions if they didn’t solicit me for more money.



The eulogies for George H. W. Bush were unintentionally a rebuke to Donald J. Trump. Bush was praised for humility, dignity, kindness, public service, patriotism, courage, and loyalty — none of which describes Trump. It was too much to hope that any of the tributes to #41 made Trump think about changing. The day after Bush’s burial, Trump was back to tweeting insults, calling Rex Tillerman dumb and lazy.

According to RealClearPolitics, press coverage of Bush’s funeral included twice as many mentions of Trump as of the former presidents. I gleefully gobbled up reports about whom Trump did and did not shake hands with, and his not reciting the Apostles Creed. But after reading about the disproportionate focus on Trump’s behavior, I did question whether those stories were really news.

Greater minds are thinking about how the press plays into Trump’s designs by keeping him the center of attention. It’s good that media outlets are discussing this problem instead of reacting defensively, even if a solution seems unlikely.



“[George H. W. Bush] knew exactly what he was doing by opting not to exclude Trump from his funeral; he controlled the uncontrollable."
— Rick Wilson, Republican political consultant and Daily Beast columnist

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