Christmas Gift Ideas for Grandchildren
If I had known how wonderful it would be to have grandchildren, I’d have had them first.
—Lois Wyse, Cleveland-born advertising exec and author
The transformation from “parent” to “grandparent” might be one you can wrap your head around — but good luck preparing your heart!
Unconditional love. Mutual adoration. Utter delight. These are just some ways to describe that time-honored bond between grandparent and grandchild.
Grandparents are some of the most generous people on the planet, willingly gifting wisdom, patience, time and attention to their grandchildren. But what about when it comes to traditional gift-giving?
It’s a whole new world today, especially with technology. Choosing the right gift can be tricky, especially as grandchildren get older. Luckily, coming up with appropriate gifts doesn’t have to be daunting. You just need to know your grandchild, summon up a bit of creativity, and be open to the possibilities.
We’re here to serve up some ideas that should help make things easier on you. Let’s get started!
Some grandparents may be in the fortunate position to help their grandchildren financially. There are a variety of ways to go about that. You could fund a 529 plan for college or an IRA for their future, or buy a share(s) of a stock that pays dividends and set up an account for automatic reinvestment of those dividends. Starting early means the savings could really add up.
If your grandchild is older and out of college, you could make his/her car payments or college loan payments for a period of time…or how about providing the money for a down payment on a house or another significant “life” purchase?
Perhaps the best gift of all would be an investment in your grandchildren’s own fiscal responsibility. Sharpen their financial acumen by giving them money management books or classes. After all, you can’t put a price tag on the peace of mind that comes from financial security.
(Note: All financial-giving situations are different. Consult with a financial advisor to see what might be best for you.)
Lighten The Load
Most grandparents have “been there, done that” when it comes to working and raising a family. So why not take some of the pressures of life off your grandchildren’s shoulders, whether logistically or financially (or both!) Give them that rare gift of time by offering babysitting services…or purchasing housecleaning services…or preparing and packaging family-sized home-cooked meals that are easy to freeze. Contribute toward a new big-ticket item for their home (furniture, large appliance) or a costly home improvement. Or just make those everyday necessities a snap to buy with gift cards for groceries, gas, etc.
The urge to splurge is strong in grandparents. After years of careful planning and responsible money management, it’s a privilege to be able to treat your beloved family — especially your grandchildren!
Plan and pay for a special dinner. Arrange a “fun-and-food day” — for example, a movie with concessions included…an afternoon of mini golf followed by ice cream…an evening of bowling with pizza afterwards…or a trip to the museum complete with lunch.
Surprise them with an event that they don’t often get to do. Purchase tickets to a show, concert or sporting event…arrange a fishing or hunting trip…attend a lecture series together…enroll together in a class…go on a shopping excursion…visit a spa or nail salon.
Want to do something more extravagant? Plan and pay for a family trip. This would be a once-in-a-lifetime gift that’s remembered forever!
Package a gift basket full of all the items needed to do something fun together — for example, the ingredients needed to make a favorite family recipe. Or choose 12 different restaurant gift cards for a monthly dinner together.
Gift cards for a “guilty pleasure” (e.g. coffee, ice cream, bakery) are always appreciated, especially when that treat is on someone else!
Last year, our granddaughter, Mary, announced she was cancelling Christmas. As a single mother of four and a full-time nurse, she was burned out, and she admitted the thought of holiday preparations made her feel like running away. Mary’s grandfather and I, along with her great-aunt and great-uncle, decided to take the whole family on a cruise in lieu of Christmas. We paid for the cruise and my sister and brother-in-law paid for airfare. Mary said afterwards that it was the best gift she had ever gotten, and it completely rejuvenated her spirits toward the holidays.
—Eileen and Grant
In these days of constant communication and instant gratification, is it likely that a grandchild will want “something to remember you by”? Yes! As grandchildren mature, they come to appreciate and value family and history.
One of the most treasured items you can give to your grandchildren is a memory book / journal written by YOU. Write down your personal story so family history is not lost. Another idea is to organize old photos in frames or albums, or create a photo book online.
How about handing down a family heirloom such as a watch, jewelry, scarf, tools, glassware, books, recipes, or piece of furniture?
My grandson, Philip, was very close to his Grandpa Joe. They were best buddies, always fishing and wandering in the woods on our property. So it was especially hard on Philip when his grandfather passed on. Joe always wore flannel shirts, even in the summer. One Christmas, I decided to make Philip a ‘memory pillow’ from one of Joe’s shirts. Talk about memories!I will never forget the look on Philip’s face when he unwrapped it. We both had tears!
What if your grandchild is away at college or doesn’t live locally? Sometimes a traditional gift works just fine — especially if it keeps a grandchild warm, safe and/or happy.
How about a cozy gift such as a fleece blanket and warm socks packaged with an oversized mug and hot cocoa? Or a fun household accessory like a single-brew coffee maker or new bed pillows? Even in our digital age, board games are still fun to play — add a gift card to a local pizza place or sandwich shop to make it a full-fledged game night.
For the grandchild away at college, cold weather clothing and accessories for walking across a frozen campus would be very welcome. How about a gift card to their favorite specialty clothing retailer? You could even give them an assortment of greeting cards to help them keep in touch while away.
Items like a car emergency kit or a basic toolkit are other options to consider. While they may not be necessarily “fun,” grandchildren will certainly be thankful for them when they are needed.
And, of course, in our tech-laden world, you generally can’t go wrong with electronics. You may just have to do a little detective work to uncover the latest device your grandchildren are longing for : )
Hopefully, you are feeling inspired (not overwhelmed) with the gift ideas suggested here. Odds are, your grandchildren will appreciate whatever you choose for them. But if you manage to come up with that perfect gift that makes their holiday that much brighter, then everybody wins! Good luck!
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In a rush? No time to visit stores in search of the perfect gift? Pair a digital gift card with a personalized Christmas ecard, for fast delivery to the recipient. Simply select the retailer you’d like to purchase a gift card from then you’ll enter the name and email of the recipient and send. If you’re an AG member you only pay the amount of the egift card. We also have a checkout as guest option for a $1.99 fee. Browse our selection of retailers to choose from including Sephora, Nike, Starbucks, Fandango, Target, and more!
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