How sweet was yesterday’s Kelly post about Henry and Meredith’s snow globe? Today it’s my turn again as I bring you day six of:
Partners in a Pair Tree – Kelly and Mo Celebrate December
In the almost 15 months since I became a grandmother, I’ve come to realize a few things about grandparent gift giving. Now remember, my 10 Commandments are just my thoughts and suggestions and are not meant to come across as bossy.
Although calling them commandments definitely reads “BOSSY” in all caps.
Oh well, here goes.
1. Parents get veto power – always.
As noted in my grandmother manifesto, this is the golden rule of grandparent behavior. Sometimes we think it is our prerogative to spoil or grandchildren and buy them things their parents say no to. Not a good plan.
Please seek input from the parents before buying a drum set or a chemistry kit or some toy with 10 million pieces.
2. Follow the age guidelines on packages.
Of course we all know that our grandchildren are profoundly gifted and capable of tasks far beyond their years but keep in mind those age ranges are put on toys for a reason. It might be that there are small parts that would be dangerous in little hands or the toy might require assembly that would create unnecessary frustration without the right level of fine motor skills development.
3. Always include batteries.
Actually this should be a guiding principal for all gift giving.
4. If thank you notes are important to you, let the parents know.
Writing thank you notes is a wonderful and valuable skill to learn. But it’s up to the parents to teach and encourage that skill. Don’t blame the kids if they’ve never been taught. And maybe don’t make thank you notes a condition for future gifts. That’s a little passive-aggressive, no?
5. Quality not Quantity is important.
Your grandchildren will not measure your love by the number of packages under the tree. What’s important is your thoughtfulness.
6. Don’t play favorites.
I know that girls are easier to shop for than boys and that younger children are easier to shop for than teenagers but that doesn’t mean that you should shortchange your 16 year-old grandson in favor of his 3 year-old sister. No favorites – even if you really do have a favorite – which you shouldn’t. (Boy, the bossy-meter is really lighting up on this one.)
7. Time with you is sometimes the best present of all.
Consider a gift of a special day with grandma and grandpa. Maybe you can start a new tradition of a trip to the zoo or out to lunch. Your grandchildren get your undivided attention and their parents get a little time to themselves. It’s a gift for both.
8. Consider a gift for the future.
Does your grandchild have a saving account? Or a college fund? How about contributing a little to that each year. Even at today’s super low interest rates, money left in a savings account for 18 years will grow and grow.
9. Start a gift tradition.
As my kids were growing up, Peter’s parents gave them an ornament each year. Each one is a sweet reminder of their childhood. My friend Nora’s sister gave each of her nieces and nephews a set of Christmas pajamas every year (and not the pink fuzzy bunny footie pajamas that Ralphie’s grandma gave in The Christmas Story). These are the kinds of traditions that are appreciated by children more and more as they grow up.
10. Whatever you do, do it with love.
No matter your budget, no matter your circumstances, all that is really important is the love you show for your grandchildren. They will feel it and it will bring them great comfort and joy.
Love, comfort and joy. Isn’t that what the holiday season is all about?
Did I miss anything? Be honest, was I too bossy? Do you have a gift tradition in your family?
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