How To Buy Gifts for Grandparents

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Buying Christmas gifts for grandparents can be a bit tricky. More than likely, they don't need any of the typically "useful" gifts, but on the other hand, you don't want to get them another knick-knack to sit on a shelf gathering dust - and possibly, getting broken by the grandkids! Here are some ideas to delight even the most difficult-to-shop-for grandparent.

  1. Pictures. Almost all grandparents love to get pictures of their precious grandchildren. And, with the prevalence of digital photo studios, there's almost no limit to the type of photo gifts available. If you have your kids' pictures taken at a studio, they may be able to create a black-and-white photo for a classic look. Or, if one of your children has inherited Grandma's bright blue eyes, you may want to get a black-and-white photo with that feature accented in color. A photo studio may also be able to create a photo that looks as if it has been oil-painted. Some studios will even transfer your child's photo onto a full-size cotton throw, so that the grandparents can proudly show off their darling to anyone who stops by. If you are handy with a camera, you can take your own photos and upload them to a website such as Shutterfly or Snapfish. From there, you can order items such as mouse pads, coffee mugs or t-shirts with your child's picture. If you are especially crafty, you can even create a one-of-a-kind scrapbook for a grandparent.
  2. Handmade crafts. If your children are old enough, Grandma and Grandpa may love a clay flowerpot that their little ones made, or refrigerator magnets, or picture frames.
  3. A gift for a service. For some grandparents, some chores around the house are harder than others. They may not think about hiring a lawn care service to mow the lawn, or a housekeeper to do spring cleaning, but they will appreciate it if you do.
  4. Gift cards. Although giving a gift card may seem like a lazy, no-brainer way to get out of buying a real gift, there is an art to it. Your goal should be to find a gift card to a store that they would really enjoy, but probably never shop in on their own. To determine where this might be, think about what their interests are. If Grandma loves to sew, a gift card to an out-of-the-way fabric store may be just the ticket. If Grandpa is always reading, he may love a gift card to a store such as Barnes and Noble or Borders. If the gift card comes with the promise of an afternoon out with you or the grandkids for lunch, too, that's even better.
  5. What not to buy. Unless your grandparents are especially tech-savvy, stay away from electronics. If they feel overwhelmed by the amount of studying that it will take to use a gift, it will probably just sit in the box forever. The exception is if you are willing to spend the time that it will take to teach them, and they have expressed an interest in such a gift.

If you don't know your grandparents well, or they live quite a distance away, stick with gifts that are easily returned. Remember, sometimes the best gift of all is the gift of time. Make a point to visit Grandma and Grandpa more often during the holidays and throughout the year if possible!


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