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Gifts for Grandparents Day

What We Want and What We're Not Crazy About


If you want some ideas about gifts for Grandparents Day, grandparents are the best ones to ask, right? When I asked my dad for his idea of the best gift for a grandparent, he said, "A visit." So by all means, if you can visit grandparents on their special day, the first Sunday after Labor Day, do so. If you want to add a gift, or if you live far away and have to be content with sending a gift, here are some ideas gleaned from other grandparents.

1. Photographs of Grandchildren

After a visit, the most-favored gift is probably a family photograph or snapshot. Framed photos are especially nice, as we don’t have to remember to buy a frame in the correct size. For those grandparents who don’t display family photos or who are running out of room, a photo album or photo book should please. One of the nice things about this gift idea is that it works for both grandparents, or for grandparents of either gender.

2. Something Handmade by the Grandchild

When it comes to handmade gifts, there are two kinds of grandparents. The first will love anything made by a grandchild and will find a way to display or wear it, even if it is a coffee can covered with macaroni and spray painted gold. The second type will enjoy something handmade only if it looks fairly attractive. Both types would enjoy a handmade greeting card, since it doesn’t have to be permanently displayed. If you are not a crafter, lots of stores sell kits which come with explicit directions for making items such as picture frames or personalized plates.

3. Something With a Personalized Message

I always smile when I see my oldest grandchild’s picture in a frame that says, “I will love you forever.” What a great message for a grandparent! Since many of us are trying to go green and take our own bags to the store, how about a canvas bag with a photo or the grandchildren's handprints and a personalized message? T-shirts are perennially popular and available with lots of cute sayings. For grandmothers, they are even available in cuts that are more fitted and flattering than the classic T-shirt.

4. Something to Help Us Keep Up With Things

Not that we’re in our dotage, but most grandparents will tell you that we have a harder time remembering things and keeping up with things than we used to. Shopping list pads, a key rack to hang inside the back door, a basket for all the remotes, eyeglasses holders—all of these could make our lives easier.

5. A Book to Share

This can be an inexpensive children’s book, or something more expensive, such as a nice anthology. I especially like the Little Big Book for Grandmothers and the Little Big Book for Grandfathers, for their mixture of games, projects and stories, along with beautiful vintage illustrations. Whatever book you choose, be sure to write an inscription, or have your child write an inscription, on the flyleaf. My grandchildren love to see books in my collection with inscriptions from many years ago.

6. Something to Use Daily

Most grandparents enjoy receiving small gifts that they can use daily. When we see the items, we think of our grandchildren, and that’s a good thing. Choose a coffee mug, pencil cup, pocket knife or writing pen. Specialty coffees or teas are great choices for who enjoy them.

7. A Collection of Classics on DVD

Lots of vintage TV shows are now available on DVD. You can choose from collections of classic cartoons, comedy shows and westerns. There are even collections of classic commercials. Choose something that grandparents and grandchildren would enjoy watching together, like classic Looney Toons or Disney cartoons, or masters of comedy like Laurel and Hardy.

8. What Lots of Grandparents Don't Want

Most of us have far too many candles, lots of them purchased as school fundraisers for the grandchildren! Most of us don’t want candy because it doesn’t fit our diet. Most of us don’t want knick-knacks as we are tired of dusting. Although we probably love flowers, we’d rather have a hand-picked bouquet or a inexpensive bunch from the grocery store than an expensive arrangement. Most grandparents are notoriously enthusiastic about anything that has to do with their grandchildren and will receive most any gift with genuine joy.
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