Including Experience Gifting and Almost an Almost Free Gift Guide
The Hubs likes to say that “Grandchildren are our reward for not killing our own kids.” While that sounds a bit dark, grandbabies are most definitely a bright spot in our lives. If you don’t have any, I highly recommend it. 😉 I’ve put together this Gift Guide for Grandchildren including gifts that have been winners with our six little fellas or ones that might be under Mom Mom’s tree for them this year.
If you have grandkids THIS cute, you want to give them EVERYTHING! But this year we’re more intentional and frugal with our gift giving. Most gifts are well under $50. Plus, I’m giving you suggestions for almost gift giving for those precious grandbabies.
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Dialing Down the Gift Giving
Grandparents are often out of the loop and don’t know what toys are popular with the little ones since we are no longer privy to the T.V. commercials played during Saturday morning cartoons. And if you think there are STILL cartoons played specifically on Saturday mornings, you’re REALLY out of the loop.
When it comes to gift giving to our grandchildren, we are generally guilty of lavishing them with gifts we may not have been able to afford to give their parents. I know we have done it. But hold up!
We have to remember that we’re not the only ones giving them stuff. Between the other sets of grandparents (and lots of kids have more than two sets of grands now), and aunts and uncles, they are suffering with an overabundance of toys.
My sons’ homes can only hold so much, and that’s why this year we are gifting more “strategically.” That means slowing our roll when it comes to giving gifts to the grands.
Each of my boys had three sons and most of this year’s physical gifts will be given to the set of boys — kind of like a community gift.
Group gifting works best when children are the same gender but if you’re talking about DVD’s, board games, creative activity sets (science experiments, Play-Doh, etc.) and imaginative play like dress up costumes and kitchen sets you don’t need to be gender specific. My boys have a kitchen set, baby doll, cash register and grocery cart here and will take turns portraying the “mom” without bulking.
Holloway & Sons Approved Group Gifts
Tried and True Gifts
Here are a few gift ideas that stand the test of time. In my experience, kids love Legos, Nerf guns, helping in the kitchen, messing with technology and anything that makes butt-toot noises.
Experience gifts are having a moment in our family, and I don’t see that ending anytime soon. These gifts require no storage space, and they provide the entire group with something to look forward to. All the while they are creating fun family memories. That’s a win, win, win!
Two years ago, just before we moved into the Cedar Palace, we gifted the boys with swimming lessons since the new place had a pool. We gave each boy a cute shark pool towel and gave the gift certificates to the parents separately. They learned confidence in the water and we gained a little more piece of mind.
Holloway & Sons Approved Experience Gifts
- Movie Passes – Fandango || Carmike || AMC
- Bowling Passes
- Skyzone Gift Card
- Dave & Busters Gift Certificate
- Skating Rink Passes
- Membership to Your Local Zoo – Most will include a list of reiprocal zoos – like this one
- Lessons: Horseback Riding, Swim lessons, Music Lessons
The above links are not commissioned but are provided for your convenience
Check with the parents before deciding what kind of experience gift to give as you are committing them to either participating with them or transporting them.
Cold hard cash is ALWAYS an excellent idea, of course. Even if it’s not much, don’t underestimate the joy (and learning experience) $5 and a trip to the dollar store could give a kid.
Savings bonds or contributions to a 529 college fund might not be a gift the kid even has to know about, but their mom or dad might appreciate it. Just wrap a little something up for your special boy or girl to open when they get to Grandma’s house.
Almost FREE Gifts
I realize there are grandparents on fixed incomes and or who have lots of children to “get for.” Most children or at least the ones NOT on Santa’s Naughty List won’t care how much is spent on a gift.
My “Hard Candy” Christmas Story
Both of my parents came from large families, and my grandparents had multitudes of grands. I had one set of my grandparents who, to my memory, never gave gifts to us on birthdays or at Christmas. And my other grandmother was a widow, on a very fixed income but would divvy up her Christmas Club money to each of us. We would usually receive a card with $2 and some little craft she had made for us. Over the years we received bookmarks made of yarn, crocheted slippers or vests (They’re “cool” now. But then…). But my favorite gifts were the little hand painted canvases on small wooden easles. She’s no longer with us, but I still have the paintings!
It never occured to me to value my grandparents less because of the gifts given or not given. We loved the way we were thought of or how they spent time with us. So if finances prevent you from giving any-THING, consider creating memories through experiences. You could even wrap up a handmade “coupon”.
- Have a cookie baking day.
- Make bird feeders out of pine cones, peanut butter, and seed.
- Decorate gingerbread houses made of graham crackers and dollar store candy.
- Fish together.
- Hike together.
- Plant and care for a garden with your grandson or daughter. Set a weekly date.
- Become their old-fashioned Pen-Pal with actual paper, pen, and stamp. Even if you live in the same town. Give them an inexpensive stationary set and some stamps. Kids love getting mail!
- Create something for them using your hobby. Like my grandmother did, draw, paint or knit something.
Let’s Wrap This Up – Get it? 😉
The best gifts are always the ones that include your most valuable commodity, your TIME. Take the time to be present when you’re with those precious ones, no matter how old!
Tell me what you think. What type of gifts do you get your grandkids? Do you go CHRISTMAS CRAZY with your bundles of JOY?
Remembering the true meaning of the season,
I’m with you. I love to spoil my two grandbabies but always keep in mind that Grandma’s house isn’t their “main” Christmas and I have to be respectful of Santa and their parents.
I try to go by what my mom did, something to wear, something to read, something they need and something fun. And now that their house is getting so overwhelmed with toys, the something fun things might just stay at my house this year.
My youngest son just took his older two boys (ages 3 1/2 and almost 6) and let them spend some of their Christmas money. They had a great time and learned a little about the value (and limit) of money. Even my son said it was fun for him to see them do it.
We also did the recordable book for each set of grandsons. Their parents loved it as much as the kids.
Hope your Christmas was great.
Love lots of these ideas, but I especially love the idea of becoming your grandchildren’s pen pal. Most kids today don’t have any idea of what a sweet handwritten note is all about! Love, love, love this! Hope I remember this when I have grandkids someday!!
Glad you enjoyed it.
My oldest grandson (8) has been into writing us notes these days. They are definitely something we will treasure forever.
Paula, this is so good. Since 2 of my 3 grands actually live with us, I am so OVER buying them a lot of crap that will now live in MY house! LOL! So we are going small. And we opened 529’s for each of them when they were born, so we always put a little something in on their birthdays and the holidays. Great post.