Dear Grandparenting: This grandparent is a last minute shopper. I always struggle with what to get my three grandchildren. One is a boy, 6. My granddaughters are 10 and 11. In the past, I have asked their parents. They must think I am made of money. The things they suggest are way too expensive! If I ask my grandchildren, they shoot the moon too. One year, my oldest granddaughter actually asked me to buy her a live pony!
I want to keep the lid on instead of busting my bank. What are your suggestions? I would like to think my grandchildren will get some use out of my gifts. I know they have short attention spans, but four days is ridiculous. That’s how long it took my grandson to get bored with the kiddie car I gave him last year. It cost me $91. Ms. S. Claus. Dayton, Ohio.
Dear Ms. Claus: While we’re happy to help, we make no promises or guarantees that our suggestions will hit home with you or your grandchildren, much less provide hours of enjoyment. That’s why we always save receipts for returns or exchanges, and usually buy several moderately priced gifts for each grandchild, on the theory that it increases the odds of success on Christmas day.
So you’re feeling like your family thinks you’re the cash cow come Christmas? According to an AARP survey of more than 1,900 grandparents, 36 percent think it’s their job to spoil grandchildren by spending too much, while 31 percent think that is a bad idea. Instead of throwing money around every Christmas, we believe grandparents should save it for when it’s really needed. Grandchildren who come to expect bigger and better gifts at Christmas won’t be grateful for anything less. That’s not our idea of Christmas spirit.
In case you were wondering, this year’s top gift ideas for grandchildren include toy spin-offs from popular movies (“Minions,” “Frozen,” “Jurassic World”), interactive toys that children can control and beauty and fashion gifts for granddaughters — a winner every Christmas.
Now for a few ideas: Thanks to the film, “Hunger Games,” archery is cool. The Airstorm Fitetek Bow from Amazon lights up and whistles as it shoots foam arrows more than 100 feet. Reasonably priced remote controlled drones and helicopters sure appeal to the child in us. Fashion is always a good bet for granddaughters. One that caught our eye — Duct Tape Bangles from Alex — is a do-it-yourself kit that comes with five rolls of patterned duct tape and six plastic bangles. Why not give your grandchildren a game they can all play together? Scrabble, the classic board game where contestants compete to form words using wooden letter tiles, is inexpensive and educational.
GRAND REMARK OF THE WEEK
Perfect love sometimes does not come until the first grandchild — Welch proverb.
Dee and Tom, married more than 50 years, have eight grandchildren. Together with Key, they welcome questions, suggestions and Grand Remarks of the Week. Send to P.O. Box 27454, Towson, MD, 21285. Call 410-963-4426.