Grandma and Grandpa. Nana and Papa. Tita and Tito. No matter what you call them, there may be no greater personification of love, support, and plain ol’ fun. When we get a chance to show our love and appreciation for a grandparent—our own or anyone else’s—doing so with the right gift just feels right. But what do you give to the Grands who have everything? Here are some tips and suggestions for what you can give to the persons who give so much to us.
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There is no one category that covers a grandparent. In every variety, they are present in our lives. Give some consideration to these aspects of their world when planning a gift:
Age and activity level
Jogging shoes or streaming subscriptions? With some starting in their 30s and going into their 100s, people can be grandparents for more than half their lives. Some grandparents are sure to be more mobile and more active than others, and they would appreciate gifts given accordingly.
Some grandparents have careers and steady work, and others enjoy their retirements. Some are married, and others live on their own. Some even have children the same age as their grandchildren. What they do with their days can play a part in getting the perfect gift.
How grandparents live varies as widely as who they are. Whether in the city or off the beaten path, in a longtime home or a new location, in a neighborhood or a senior community, the type of gift you choose should be well suited to where it’s likely to be kept or how it will be used.
Whether arranging dinner at a favorite restaurant or booking a whole-family trip to celebrate a milestone event, some gifts are much more valued when they can be shared. When choosing one, keep in mind how often you’re able to be with grandparents to enjoy the gift together.
When little visitors are expected, stock grandparents up on what they’ll need:
- Diapers and wipes
- Disinfectants and cleaning supplies
- Baby clothes (casual or gently used are fine)
- Linens, towels and washcloths
- Furniture items (bassinet, crib, nursery station, playpen)
- Car seats and booster seats
When older kids visit and want to be entertained, offer ideas for fun inside and outdoors:
- Tickets, discount codes or schedules of events or new attractions in the area
- “Welcome basket” filled with sweets and snacks
- Homemade baked goodies from favorite family recipes
- Gifts or loans of card games, board games or videogame systems
When grandkids of all ages aren’t able to visit often, help grandparents stay connected:
- Recordable storybooks and recordable plush toys that let them add voice recordings or photos—or carry recorded messages from their grandchildren.
- Help with making shareable audio and video recordings of them reading books or singing songs—or send them recordings of their favorite little ones.
- Show them how to connect with social-media accounts or real-time video calls.
Whether for birthdays, milestone occasions or just because, gifts of all kinds can brighten any grandparent’s day. In selecting a gift for grandparents (or for anyone, really), consider these ways of making any choice more meaningful to them:
Show you know them—Choose something that reflects a certain lifelong interest, a favorite hobby or a connection to anything they hold as significant.
- Outdoorsy interests? Sleep under the stars while camping at a favorite campsite or simply in a tent pitched in the backyard.
- Create a streaming playlist of songs from your grandparents’ past that you especially like, and share reasons for your choices in a note.
- Make a playlist of contemporary music you believe they would really like. Share your reasons why in a note they can read while they listen.
- Give an ornament that captures their hobbies, favorite movie or TV shows, sports teams and more.
Share some quality time—Find ways of being present with them with activities or even conversation.
- Sit down and watch favorite movies as a family, whether in person or remotely via movie streaming services.
- Turn movie nights into full-blown watch parties with props and costumes as well as sing-alongs and quote-alongs with family favorites.
- Set up apps that allow grandparents to plan video calls that connect family from all parts of the world.
- Make a date for coffee in the park or a meal on the porch or even just a ride around town to run errands and share conversation.
Preserve a moment in time—Give something that represents a specific time or place in their lives or captures a treasured memory.
- Organize and transfer photos, videotapes, audio recordings and other media to an easy-to-access digital archive or photo album.
- Choose a family memento or treasured collectible to protect in a frame or display case.
- Create a new memento by collecting signatures and comments on anything from a serving platter to a matte for a frame or an oversize greeting card.
Perform acts of service—Whether simple tasks for one or larger efforts by many, offers of help always feel good to receive.
- Organize a work day for lawn care or minor home improvement projects.
- Create a smorgasbord dinner featuring favorite dishes from a variety of restaurants.
- Plan a day trip to a favorite place to visit or to the old hometown and past neighborhoods for bringing up some favorite memories.
Add a piece of yourself—Offer something that reflects your unique self. It can be through your flair for creativity in art, craft or the written word, or even a photo or recording of yourself.
- Create art or photos or writing to share in any medium.
- Paint pictures, sing songs or read your original writing (or perform someone else’s) on video.
- Put together scrapbook pages with photos, written memories, original art and anything else that you would like to share.
Put some extra thought into it—Show off something beyond just the shipping box that adds an extra layer of fun as well as suspense to revealing your gift.
- Wrapping paper (store-bought or recycled material)
- Gift bags, especially those customized with your own flair
- Decorative containers that can be repurposed
- Don’t forget cards for grandmothers and grandfathers or both with a note that shares how you’re feeling or details a favorite memory of any time you have shared together.