By BARBARA JENSEN

Business Manager

Senior Center

of Finney County

No idea what to give an older loved one for Christmas? Let seniors themselves tell you. In a national survey, the top gift choice of seniors was a large-print calendar that highlighted family members' birthdays and anniversaries.

Other favorites include:

Gift certificates to a grocery store or pharmacyGift certificates to a favorite restaurant

Cordless phone

A box of assorted greeting cards and postage stampsAn enlarged favorite family photographA new easy chair or reclinerA heating pad or water bottle

SlippersA large-numbered TV remote

The desire for companionship and items seniors can use in their own homes to maintain their independence played prominently in survey results. The prevailing message from the survey was that you don't have to spend a lot of money to make your senior happy. More than half of the respondents said a gift of $25 or less was the most appropriate.

Seniors also reported that they would rather skip these gifts: chocolate-covered cherries, a dress tie, jewelry, candles, replacing a missing piece of china or silverware, antiques or collectables, a basket of treats, toys for the pet, fire extinguisher or personal service coupons from grandchildren to do chores (because the kids rarely follow up and do the chores).

On the other hand, if you are a senior looking for a gift idea for a member of your family, consider passing on some of your family treasures now, instead of waiting for the family to fight over them at your death. If your cupboards and closets are full of things that you rarely use and intend to give to others someday, then Christmas would be a good time to start. No newly purchased item could ever compare with a family treasure someone has admired for years. Not only will you please this person, but giving such gifts has the added advantage of providing needed space and releasing you from their care. Win/win.

Wreath class

Looking for an easy-to-do Christmas craft idea? Patti Thummel is teaching a wreath class beginning at 2 p.m. Thursday. The cost of the class is $5. Space is limited, so call 272-3620 to sign up.

We will provide the wreath and other trimmings. Bring five or six photographs you want to display on the wreath. If you have a glue gun, bring it also. Take home a finished product ready to hang.

Medicare sign-up day

The Senior Center and KSU Extension are planning another Medicare Part D sign-up day. Senior Health Insurance Counselors of Kansas (SHICK) will be available from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Dec. 10 to do research, help you decide on a plan and sign up. No appointment is necessary on that date. Join us for snacks and insurance counseling. Remember, Dec. 31 is the last day to make any changes in your prescription drug plan. Do not delay.

Scheduled activities

Thursday: TOPS meets at 8:30 a.m. The art class meets at 10 a.m. Autumn Chandler, Garden City High School senior, will present information on her Buff Project on diseases of the brain. Join us at noon for this interesting information. A Domino Tournament is planned for 1 p.m. The Ambassador Singers will meet at 1 p.m.

Friday: Line dancing starts at 8:30 a.m. STEPS exercise class is at 10 a.m. St. Catherine Hospital will offer a health services nurse to do screenings from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. Bridge is played at 1 p.m.

Monday is Pearl Harbor Day. The exercise group will meet at 8:30 a.m. STEPS exercise class is scheduled at 10 a.m. Humdinger Band will meet at 12:30 p.m. Double pinochle is played at 1 p.m. Upbeats will practice at 3 p.m. Duplicate bridge is played at 7 p.m.

Tuesday: USDA commodities distribution begins at 10 a.m. Bring your 2009 Commodities Card and a box. The Craft Shop meeting is at 10 a.m. Pitch is played at 12:45 p.m., duplicate bridge at 1:15 p.m., bridge at 7 p.m., and 8-Ball from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m.

Dec. 9: Foot clinic provided by St. Catherine Hospital begins at 8 a.m. You must have an appointment. Finney County Public Library will have a representative in our building beginning at 11 a.m. Carly Smith can get you set up with books to read, books to listen to and videos to watch. Check it out. "Completely Unraveled" works from 1 to 4 p.m. The dance begins at 7:30 p.m., featuring "The Last Resort."

Lunch menus

Lunch is served at noon.

Thursday: Ham and beans, cabbage, tomatoes, corn bread, blueberry crisp.

Friday: Pork roast, mashed potatoes and gravy, California blend vegetables, peach slices, French bread.

Monday: Beef and macaroni, carrots, cauliflower, citrus fruit, wheat roll.

Tuesday: Spaghetti with meat sauce, tossed salad, green beans, sherbet, French bread.

Dec. 9: Meat loaf, mashed potatoes, peas and carrots, strawberries and pears, wheat roll.

Visit the Senior Center of Finney County Web site at www.seniorcenterfc.com.