Christmas Gift Ideas for Grandparents
Grandparents are something special.
For many of us, visiting Grandma and Grandpa ranked right up there with other universally-adored childhood moments, like the last day of school and the night before Christmas.
After all, the average grandparents tend to be much more — let’s say “flexible” — when it comes to their grandkids. (What happens at Grandma’s stays at Grandma’s, right?)
As we grow up and our grandparents grow older, our relationship also experiences growth. We become more thankful that we still have our grandparents around to enjoy.
So how do we parlay that feeling of gratitude into a great gift for our grands? Where do we even begin? Don’t grandparents already have everything they could ever want?
The best gifts show that you put thought into them. Instead of “I got this for you,” meaningful gifts say, “I get you.”
Start by spending a little time thinking about your grandparent. What do they like? What do they need? What do they believe? Where do they come from? What’s important to them? If you start with what you know, you’ll be on the right track.
Read on for some thought-starters that’ll help get you gifting. Ready? C’mon, it’ll be fun!
An out-of-the Ordinary Experience
Brighten up a grandparent’s day with an event or activity they don’t regularly do. Book a lunch or dinner cruise…hire a personal chef to come to their home to prepare a meal…organize a lunch or dinner with their friends and prepay the bill.
Are your grandparents active? Take a guided hike at a nearby garden or park…enjoy a day trip to a local historical site or attraction…go fruit picking at an orchard or farm.
Give your grandparents the gift of family — schedule a photo session for their entire brood and include a framed portrait.
My grandfather grew up in the south and loved a good backyard barbecue. When he moved up north to raise his own family, he bemoaned the lack of honest-to-goodness BBQ meat. When I found an online delivery service that would ship a full barbecue meal to my grandparent’s home — from an actual Mississippi BBQ restaurant — I knew he would love it. Nothing beats good food, and nothing’s too good for my grandpa!
A once-in-a-lifetime Adventure
Give your grandparents something they never even knew they had always been missing: a high-octane (or high-altitude) experience like whitewater rafting…a hot air balloon ride…flying lessons…or driving a Ferrari.
More sedate choices could include a guided kayaking trip…a fishing charter…a horse and carriage ride…a limo ride (combine with show tickets)…or taking a class (painting, pottery, photography, cooking, jewelry-making, beer-making, wine-making, floral design, ballroom dancing, glass blowing, carpentry, etc.) (Tip: If you’re not participating along with a grandparent, consider bringing a camera to document the fun, then turn the memories into a commemorative photo book.)
Spending time with grandparents is a gift in-and-of-itself, as it shows them that they are a priority to you. Think about your grandparents’ likes and energy level (and yours), and plan a fun outing with them.
Do you have on-the-go grandparents? Consider passes or memberships to national parks, state parks, amusement parks…or museums, gardens, aquariums…or sporting events, community centers or clubs. Take them out on the town with tickets to a play, concert, lecture or cultural event. Plan an overnight or weekend stay at a state park…nearby waterpark…or local bed and breakfast.
Go all-out and fill a calendar with a year’s worth of visits, such as dinners out, game/movie nights, Sunday brunch, trips to the ice cream parlor, and more.
You can’t go wrong with gifting memories. They make the heart happy and — bonus! — they’re clutter-free! Get the whole family in on the memory-making fun by asking everyone to write a note to the family’s patriarch and/or matriarch. Compile the letters, add some photos, and create a memory book online.
Are your grandparents social creatures? Plan a get-together, hire a caterer, and invite their friends over to their house for a very special evening of friendship, food and fun. Are you crafty? Make a memory quilt or pillow or wallcovering using favorite family photos. How about restoring a beloved possession — like a piece of jewelry, a toy, a tool, or a musical instrument — or salvaging the good parts and repurposing into something new? You can also create a memento around a special memory.
My grandmother went to a Beatles concert when she was a teenager. Her girlfriend had won a bunch of tickets on the radio and took a whole group. It was a very special moment in my grandma’s life — she always talked about that concert! One year, I decided to make a memento for her Christmas gift. I scoured the internet to find ticket stubs and the concert program. I also found a copy of the Beatles album that the tour had promoted. I arranged everything in a nice frame. The gift brought back a flood of wonderful memories for my grandma — she was overwhelmed and overjoyed. It was incredible to watch her reaction!
For the grandparent who has everything…a meaningful gift might be to give to those who don’t. You could make a donation in a grandparent’s name — to a favorite charity or cause or organization…or to a church…or to their alma mater. Volunteer together. Or adopt a family at Christmastime.
Your own grandparent could even be the beneficiary of your helping hands. Make homecooked meals that are individually packaged for easy freezing. Or offer to do chores or projects around the house or yard, such as weeding, planting, raking, mowing, organizing, purging, etc.
My grandfather attended an all-boys school that he loved. Subsequently, his sons (my father and uncles) and grandsons (my cousins and I) attended the school. The institution has a very strong alumni base, and my grandfather has always been supportive of the place. During the school’s 100th anniversary, my family got together and made a large donation in his name. To this day, he considers it the most thoughtful gift he’s ever gotten.
Depending on the grandparent, sometimes an actual gift item will be the way to go. Think about what your grandparent needs or likes. What might make their days brighter or easier?
How about an assortment of greeting cards along with stationery, stamps, pens, and a calendar with important dates written down?
Another thought is a new version of a household item that’s wearing out — towels, sheets, a comforter, casual dinnerware, pots and pans, or flatware. Make a themed gift basket filled with items for spending time together — tea party treats, ice cream sundae-making, cookie baking, or gift certificates for a monthly dinner out.
Give them gift certificates for places they already frequent, such as the hair salon, grocery store, gas station, restaurant or community center. How about selecting a dozen gift cards to restaurants around town that you can use together for a monthly dinner out?
Or give them something to look forward to, such as a monthly subscription for candy, cheese, coffee, tea, fruit, wine, flowers, snacks, meals.
Buy A Digital Gift Card
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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