Is there anything better than giving gifts to our grandkids? It might be one of the best things about the holiday season.
As grandparents, there needs to be a balance between the joy of showering them with gifts and not going too far, where our gifts begin to push them toward materialism or become a burden for their parents. We want them to feel special and loved, but not entitled or self-absorbed.
Here are three suggestions for meaningful gifts you can give them this year, which could be instead of or in addition to other gifts on their wish list:
Give them your time. This might be the greatest gift you can give. For Christmas, this could mean wrapping up a coupon for a trip with you to their favorite restaurant, a movie outing some afternoon, a zoo excursion in the coming months, or something related to one of their interests. You probably know what they enjoy, so let that guide you. (And that time away might also be a gift to their parents.) A gadget might be broken or obsolete in a few months, but a gift of an experience could easily become a long-cherished memory.
Give family togetherness. More than anyone else, grandparents help to unify the extended family. So during whatever time you may have with your grandkids, organize some family events that bring everyone together. Play games or other activities that will keep people off their devices and encourage interaction. Maybe even set up a time to volunteer at a local charity. Gift exchanges are fun, but make sure the focus is on family time, not just the stuff they receive. Although that quality time can just happen spontaneously, often it will take some effort and intentionality, and you’re in a good position to lead them there.
Give something significant. It’s fine to give grandkids things they want, that you know will bring smiles to their faces. Giving gifts can also be a chance to go beyond that and send a positive message or convey special meaning. You can give a grandchild something that affirms or supports a talent, interest, or endeavor—like a new ball glove, markers for art class, a camera, or a musical instrument. Or maybe you’ll want to pass on a family heirloom: something like a coin from your collection or a necklace that your grandmother gave to you.
Sometimes small gifts can have big meanings. Be intentional about bringing meaning to your grandchildren’s Christmas this year.