Three Christmas Gifts for Grandchildren:
Am I a Grinch or Practical?
I might be a little bit of a Grinch at Christmas, or maybe I’m merely practical. I bought my children way too many Christmas presents, so this blog may seem hypocritical. The spin I am putting on it, and I believe my spin, is that I learned my lesson. The results of too many presents may provide a beautiful picture on Christmas morning, but it also creates lots of trash, too many toys spilling out of the toybox, a depleted budget, and spoiled children.
Why did I go overboard on the material gifts? Here is my superficial answer- it was fun, and I loved seeing the excitement on their faces on Christmas morning. My profound psychological response is that maybe I was trying to compensate for the guilt I felt being a single, working mother. I couldn’t give them the Norman Rockwell picture-perfect family, but I could create a mountain of pretty, shiny presents.
Now that I’m a grandmother, I have a chance to start over and do for my grandkids what I wish I’d done for my kids. I am sticking to the “Three Gifts Christmas.” There are different versions of this concept. In past years, I have done the “One gift for the body, one for the soul, and one for the spirit.” This year I’m going with the version of “One they want, one they need, and one to read.” It still leaves a lot of room for interpretation, but I like the idea.
One they want
This is the fun category! My grandkids are at great ages to buy toys, stuffed animals, and dolls. I could easily go overboard, but I promise to limit it to one gift in this category. I know my three-year-old grandson, Callister, has his eye on a steam-breathing dragon, and two-month-old Sylvia is keeping her secrets close, but I’m guessing she wants a musical stuffed animal.
When I am unsure what is developmentally appropriate, I ask the people at my favorite toy store, Kiddlestix. The staff is knowledgeable and helpful. They have a strict mask mandate, which is a significant plus for my Covid-19 comfort level! Tulsa Toy Depot is also locally owned and has a great selection of toys! Both places offer free gift wrapping, a service that is very much appreciated!
One they need
This category is open to lots of interpretation. When I was a child, my parents had four children and not a lot of money. Santa brought us clothing, and we were excited about it! Because my children’s parents take care of the “needs” category in terms of food, clothing, and shelter, I can fulfill this category with educational toys. Callister is working on fine motor skills, so I’ll find something fun and helpful to enhance this area of development.
Some other ideas might be investing in a college fund for your grandkids, paying for lessons or experiences, or maybe braces or glasses for older kids. Many families are experiencing financial hardship during this time, so assisting the parents with a little cash, a bag of groceries, or help with the rent can be indirect but necessary gifts for the children.
One to read
I love this category! I can’t imagine Christmas without books! Reading has been a lifelong passion for me, and I am thrilled to pass this love on to another generation! I feel like it’s ok to cheat a little in the category and buy several books.
We have several wonderful locally-owned bookstores in Tulsa that I recommend. I am in love with Lavender’s Bleu Literacy Market, a magical place to visit and shop. I also love Magic City Books in downtown Tulsa. You can shop for children, adults and, while you’re there, sneak a little present in for yourself! Magic City also hosts fantastic authors, and many of the events are free of charge! At this point, they are all virtual events, a great way to spend an evening safe at home! I have not been to Eleanor’s Bookshop in Mother Road Market yet, but it is on my list for my post-Covid-19 era adventures!
As a grandparent, it is essential to check with your grandchildren’s parents to make sure your plans for gifts are aligned with their wishes. That is especially true if you’re thinking of buying something that takes up a lot of space, is extravagant, or makes too much noise. Most parents appreciate grandparents limiting gifts to three, so their house is not overwhelmed with toys.
If you can shop local, please do so. For so many small businesses, it has been a financially challenging year, and support is appreciated. Every dollar spent in your city benefits everyone that lives there.
Whether you buy your grandchildren zero gifts or go all out and buy a dozen, the true spirit of Christmas doesn’t come wrapped. Our best gift to give is love, or as the Grinch said (via Dr. Seuss) “Maybe Christmas, he thought, doesn’t come from the store. Maybe Christmas… perhaps… means a little bit more!”