Gifts from Grandparents


So many friends discuss the joys and struggles of receiving gifts from grandparents. Some grandparents overdo it and steal some of the parents joy with the amount of gifts they give the grandkids. Others may not buy too much, but they purchase items the parents may not want their children to have. Yet others purchase items the children don't want or need.

I have heard grandparents gloat that choosing how to 'spoil' your grandchildren is one of the perks of being grandparents. On behalf of parents who do not want to hurt feelings, a conversation about how to express love in a way that partners with the parents would be a blessing.


One of the most thoughtful gestures from my mother-in-law was to ask what the kids wanted for Christmas every year. It was wonderful for them to receive gifts they wanted, even if it wasn't what she wanted to purchase for them. After a few years, she offered her credit card number and a limit per child so I could find the best prices on gifts and ship them to her. For years, we added to our game collection, purchased another big ticket item off of the kids list, or even coordinated gifts with our purchases. She set an example that I am forever grateful for and will practice with my own grandchildren when the time comes.

While she often gave us a gift certificate for dinner which was greatly appreciated, a few years ago, we had shared a different request. We were curious and interested in the AMC A-List movie subscription, but it never made it into the budget. Instead of a gift certificate to dinner, we received memberships to the movies one year and the Air Fryer the next. Both are gifts that we still use. Sometimes, we can take the element of surprise too seriously with gift giving. If you have not been around the person you are buying for recently (many have not with the pandemic), before showering them with gifts, ask what they want. Maybe their perfume preference changed or they no longer need scarves. You can always ask for a list and include a maximum price so you are not thinking about a museum membership and they are thinking floor seats to a concert. After a time in which so many people spent time ridding their houses of unused, unwanted, or unneeded items, be mindful not to tempt them with the lure of excess items.

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