Sunday, September 26, 2010

Gifts for your Grandchildren

Everyone is sitting around the table watching a child open their gifts and are waiting to hear “this is the best gift ever!” in reference to their gift. Wanting this reaction can lead people to spend more money than they can afford. Most of us have done it - we buy that “big expensive gift”, it is opened, they barely look at it or spend more time playing with the box, and next thing you know it’s in a garage sale with a $1 sign on it -- but you don't need to spend a lot of money to get the "perfect gift".

I see it all the time, grandparents with their carts loaded up so high that they can’t see over it. You want your gift to be special, but it doesn’t have to be the biggest or the most expensive. Children love boxes (or containers), so fill them with smaller items. It’s probably not a good idea to get too many toys way in advance because if your grandchildren watch TV at all, they are probably going to change their minds about what they “really, really want”, several times throughout the year. Remember to look for the age on toys and find one that fits into your grandchild’s age-group; this is important.

I like to buy some clothing as well, because this is something they usually need anyway (tops, pants, PJ’s, etc.). I always ask my daughter-in-law for help when buying clothing though because at least if she is picking them out I know it will be something that is liked, and most importantly it will fit!

Also, maybe there is something that your grandchildren have admired in your home that you want to give them as a gift. Remember though, once you give it to them, it’s their’s, and remember to consider the age-appropriateness of giving a child something that is glass or breakable, or even jewelry.

How about considering getting your grandchild a recorder and putting your voice on it. There are also books that you can record your voice on – can you imagine the surprised look on your grandchild’s face when they hear your voice reading them a bedtime story!

You could also make them something, but be aware of hazards like small buttons, etc. and if you are painting something make sure you use the appropriate paint and make sure those nails are pounded in.

Also, you can talk to your grandchildren about giving to charities - even at an early age. Approach it in a way they can understand and as they get older, they will “get it” and be proud of the fact that they were involved in giving to charities at an early age. Helping others in the world (or in your own area), is a valuable lesson to teach any child.

Gift certificates are also a great idea when they get a bit older, but it might be a good idea to ask your grandchild to write you a little note (or e-mail), or better yet, call you, to tell you what they bought. The parents can help with this if the children are too young to write it themselves. It’s sometimes hard to feel comfortable about giving a gift certificates instead of a “real gift”, so if they tell you what they bought with it, it will make you feel better about giving a gift certificate as a gift.

Gift-giving should be fun and not stressful or financially draining. Bottom line is that you don’t have to spend a lot of money, if you don’t want to. If you want to spend more money then maybe there are bigger items that your grandchild can use like a new musical instrument, a bed, a “chest” for their room to put their toys in and later on they could put special “grown-up” treasures in it – these things could be something that lasts them a lifetime (maybe even have their name engraved on it, for the personal touch). Either that, or save your money for important things like University/College funds, savings accounts, etc. That’s something they may not appreciate when they are young, but you can be sure that everyone will appreciate it when they are older…

Talk to their parents about gift-giving. If you let them know your budget, they could probably steer you in the right direction on what to buy. They may even have a “list” of things that they are considering buying (or a list of things the children want), and you can take things off that list.

Spend your money on something that you've actually spent time thinking about and you will be happy to write "With Love from Grandma and Grandpa"...

1 comment:

  1. I wouldn't feel bad. I'm not a grandparent (just stumbled here looking for the investment forum which must not exist anymore). I still remember being a little kid and I really wanted gifts! Keeping in touch wasn't on my mind at all. Kids are self-centered and that's part of being a kid. Just send your letters or e-mails and do your best. I think they may be really excited getting real snail mail. Maybe put in the cheapest little gifts you can find, a fun pencil, stickers, whatever. Just getting that in the mail will be a fun treat and keep you on their mind..., and here is my site adress i hope it will contribute to you as well as you did to me"