You want to give your grandchild an amazing gift that they are crazy about but don't know where to start, it hasn't gone well in the past, or you find the amount of options overwhelming.
You want them to feel known, loved, celebrated and remembered. You want to show your grandchild's family that you went the extra mile to find a thoughtful present and that you are taking a genuine interest in their life and the life of your grandchild.
If you find yourself racking your brain every time you need to buy a gift for your grandchild, this is your guide to everything you need to know about how to become the best present giving Grandma, Grandpa, Nana, Papa, Abuela or Abuelo.....EVER.
#1 GATHER INFORMATION
Find out as much information as you can about the kinds of toys your grandkids already like
This may seem like the most obvious thing to do, and for some grandparents it is. If you already do this, give yourself a high five. You would be surprised how many people do not. Keep in mind, what you DO with that information will be key. Write it down (even the tiniest details). You will be using it ALL. If you have limited information to work with, that's okay. Just do what you can and take your research to the next step. For more detailed tips about how to do this, check out the Pro Tips List at the bottom of this post.
#2 Keep The Family In Mind As Well As The Child
#3 Find A UNIQUE Gift
Where to Buy a UNIQUE Gift (In-Person)
- Locate your nearest small toy shop that sells children's products exclusively Not only do these small shop owners spend their blood, sweat, and tears curating the best gifts for children, but by shopping small you also support your community and help small businesses to thrive in your town.. Unlike some large stores, the owners of these small shops are also VERY knowledgeable about their toys and will listen to you and help you find something that would a great fit for your grandchild within the budget you have and many times even wrap it! We love the small shops that carry our flexible roads and would be remiss if we didn't share our store finder, but you can also just search for a small shop near you and even call ahead to get details about what kind of toys they carry!
- Holiday Trade Fairs and Festivals- Especially around the holidays, there are often pop-up shops and fairs with local artisans selling things you would never find at a big box store. These items are often very unique and even one of a kind. Take the opportunity to do something festive and do a little Christmas shopping while you are at it!
- Small Shop Gift Cards- If you are at a small shop or trade fair and still can't decide on a gift, keep in mind that they almost always offer gift cards for the recipient to use later. Unlike generic gift cards, giving one to a beautiful toy shop will give your grandchild the chance to buy something they love and show them that you went out of your way to create a meaningful experience for them. You could even go with them, take them to lunch, and make a day out of it!
PRO TIP: If you are giving something like a gift card to a small shop or an "experience" like a annual pass to the zoo for your main present, pair it with an inexpensive smaller gift with the same theme so they still have something to open that reminds them of your larger gift.
Where to Buy a UNIQUE Gift (Online)
- Smallable- Ever see all those super cool kids toys that are never carried at regular big box stores but don't know where they come from? Start with Smallable. The best of small businesses from around the world, shipping right to you (or your loved one). You can search for just about any category and immediately see items that are well made, support small businesses, and are so very unique. I one received a box of items that someone sent me from another part of the world for a new baby, and it was one of the most beautifully packaged, thoughtful gifts I've ever received.
- Etsy- You have probably heard of Etsy, but may have never tried searching there. You can search for things in wide categories or for specific things. Although personalized items like leather journals, sport team yeti cups, and personalized jewelry are just a few examples, you can find all kinds of treasures there and if you really want to show that you did your research and bought something specifically with their interests in mind this is one of the best places. Keep in mind that shipping usually takes longer than most other websites because most items are made to order.
- Uncommon Goods- This website specializes in things that you won't find other places. From unique niche memorabilia to personalized lamps, this is a great place to get ideas for kids and adults alike.
- One category that is many times forgotten is gifts that are more experiential than physical. Many families would LOVE an annual pass to a local zoo, botanical garden, aquarium, science museum, or even concert series but might not have the funds to splurge on one they would love to have. Gifting something for the WHOLE FAMILY can help you not only give them something they can use again and again all year, but you are essentially gifting them family time. Pair it with a great themed book they can read before going to that place or an open-ended toy to re-create their experience once they get home, and though the kids may not understand how amazing the gift is (at first), the parents will be bragging about your gift to everyone they know.
- One unique and potentially life-changing idea for a family who wants to cut down on physical items in their home is to offer to PAY for your grandchild to participate in a sport for a year, take music lessons, or cross off a bucket list item like riding a horse for the first time. As parents, extracurricular activities for kids add up quickly, and though we would love for one of our kids to be able to do Karate, having help with the cost might be the difference between us being able to do and it and it being out of the budget.
- Are you on social media? Check out your grandchild's Facebook, Instagram, or the holy grail, (their Pinterest account) for interests and ideas. To make it easier ask their parent or even your grandchild to send you links directly to their social media profile. One of the best presents I have ever received was from someone who had looked at my Pinterest account and purchased something I posted there.
- If your grandchild has siblings, enlist them for help and advice. Often siblings know even more than parents about what would be a total home run or maybe more obscure interests that would help you get a great gift for one grandchild while at the same time getting closer the one helping you! Taking a little extra effort with communication and showing that you are really trying and want to learn about the interests of your grandkids might open up a new door of further communication and relationship.
- Ask the parents (or grandkid) directly for some categories of things they are interested in or hobbies they have if you don't already know. What do they do in their free time? Do they love to read? Do they play sports? Do they love building things? Hiking? If you want your gift to be a surprise, this can be in the form of a casual conversation where you are just catching up with your grandchild or their parent and showing interest in their life.
- Because many families struggle with having too many toys and too much clutter as it is, one idea is to get a larger gift for all the children that is a joint gift like a trampoline, play kitchen, family size open-ended toy, or basketball hoop. Of course for something larger it's always best to check with the family first to see if they want or need the item. Many times families would love help purchasing larger play items that they would feel guilty splurging on.
- Think outside the...house. Remember to think about outdoor gifts as well as things made for indoors. Most parents are constantly trying to get their kids to spend more time outside, and something specifically to be played with outside could be an interesting category to look into.
We hope that this Grandparent Guide has been helpful to you, and stay tuned for part two where we share even more specific ideas and tips for each age group.
Enjoy the Journey!