One of the joys of being a grandparent is spoiling them with things they want. Most likely, the grandparents are in a better place financially than they were when their own kids were that age, and they can buy things “just for the heck of it”. Caution should be taken when taking this approach however, because the child’s parent should have the final say on whether it is right or not.
Certain toys may be on the top of the list for Christmas presents, but it might just be something that the parents had looked forward to purchasing for their own child. The first doll for that special little girl, or first bike might be at the top of the parents’ own Christmas list. Before you buy any present ask them if it is on their list, or someone else’s. Or, if you know it is something they really want to get for their child, and it may be a strain on their finances, ask if you can just give them money to help them make the purchase so “they” can give it to their child.
Now speaking of those other lists: Just remember that, most likely, you aren’t the child’s only grandparent. There are also aunts, uncles, and other special adults in the child’s life. It is only polite and a way to keep peace in the family to consult with the other grandparents or special adults in the family to see what their plans are for Christmas. Sometimes, parents can help with this, so you might talk with the child’s mom or dad about what you would like to do before you go out with check book or credit card in hand.
Another thing to consider is whether the gift is appropriate for the child. Don’t buy something that is too old for the child, has too many pieces to keep up with, or something that you think is pretty or cute, but may not interest them. It is a good idea idea to talk with your own child, or his/her spouse to make sure it is something the child wants, or will enjoy.
If you are planning to buy clothes for a present, make sure you know what is the right size, color, and style. While grandmother might like lace and frills, that granddaughter might be more inclined to blue jeans and cute shirts. Don’t buy something that a child can “grow into”. When a child gets a gift, they don’t want to have to wear pants that they roll or or sleeves that hang down past their finger tips. Let them enjoy something that looks nice on them and fits correctly when they get it.
While having the talk about gifts, ask the parent is fhey will play the game or sport with the child if it requres more than one player if there are no friends or siblings close by to enjoy the activity. There is nothing sadder than a child with a game for two or more, but no one to play with. Many games require an adult to supervise or teach the rules. Make sure at least one of the parents will be there for any activity when the child needs help.
One of the best suggestions I have heard came from my friend, Patricia. Her son, who is in the military in Italy, posts gift lists for her granddaughter on Amazon. She can go on there to see what here little granddaughter, Lillianna, might like. After checking the list, she can order there, or elsewhere, and check it off, so others know that someone has that purchased. And, if you order from Amazon, you get free shipping if the purchase exceeds twenty-five dollars.