Life Is Grand: Where Did the Year Go?

Enjoying Life as a Staten Island Grandparent

Enjoying Life as a Staten Island Grandparent

I’m not sure how the holidays crept up on me so quickly, but alas they are here. The family grows and that is a beautiful thing but the question remains: What do you give when you have no idea what to give?

If you are like me, I prefer to pick up gifts for the children and grandchildren throughout the year. As I travel or even locally, I inevitably find gifts that match personalities so I believe in stocking up before the pressure is on. Now though, with the holiday season upon us, it’s crunch time for the rest of the list. Instead of resorting to toys or expensive electronics, here are some ideas for more creative, memorable gifts from grandparents:

Family membership to local learning institutions. Help promote your grandchildren’s education through fun family experiences. We have so many cultural institutions and museums in Staten Island (including a zoo) that offer family memberships at a discounted price. Pick one and let your clan look forward to a year of visits.

Custom Gift Cards. Create a gift card telling the kids that you’ll take them, and perhaps a friend or two, to the next blockbuster movie they want to see. If you could, add a pre-movie pizza stop and a post movie ice cream. Present it in a festive box filled with their favorite movie snacks. This should work well with preteens but perhaps with older children a Broadway play or even a concert would be appreciated. Some of today’s teenagers do appreciate our old-school music.

Diaper Delivery. If you have a grandbaby, a coupon redeemable for disposable diapers and wipes by the case will be greatly appreciated. Print out a certificate with Expect Delivery By ______ on it. Then you can order online through websites like Amazon, Toys R Us, or Target and have it sent directly to their home.

Think Outside the Season. If your grandchildren like camping or hiking, pick up gear or gift certificates to stores that carry such equipment. Sleeping bags, backpacks, or camping gear are fun to use indoors as they wait for camping or hiking season.

Being a grandparent shouldn’t only be about what you can give, it is also about what you can teach. Besides sharing your cooking or crafting skills at home, why not sign up for some craft lessons along with the children? Perhaps a cooking, flower arranging, or a craft class would be fun. A search online or the SIParent calendar of events will show you options to attend with the children. If you have talents such as playing an instrument or artistic abilities, consider setting up a time each week for private lessons.

One of the greatest gifts you can give is to teach children to help others. As your grandchildren get older, their awareness of the world grows. Kids who express a passion for the environment should be exposed to the Greenbelt Conservancy here in Staten Island. The Greenbelt includes New York City’s largest remaining forest preserve, offering peace, quiet, and solitude. It is also home to wetlands, forests, meadows, and rolling hills that offer visitors a glimpse into the natural heritage of Staten Island. The Greenbelt is an extraordinary natural resource visited by over one million people annually with many opportunities to participate in events or volunteer. Check them out online at sigreenbelt.org

During this season of giving, make it your responsibility as the elders to teach to give back, keeping these four simple rules in mind:

• Be a Role Model
• Start Small
• Make It a Tradition
• Make It Meaningful

Life is Grand is the place for today’s generation of active, involved grandparents and seniors to get more smiles, have more fun, and create more memories during time they spend with their families.

By Staten Islander Marianna Randazzo, who is an author, educator, as well as a newly minted grandmother. 

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  1. Opera Classes

    October 18
    October 18, 2017  |  12:00 am - 11:59 pm
    Garibaldi-Meucci Museum
    Lou Barrella. Class meets weekly from October 11 to November 15. Please contact the museum for more details.
  2. THE LEGO® Americana Roadshow

    October 18 @ 10:00 am - 9:00 pm
    October 18, 2017  |  10:00 am - 9:00 pm
    Staten Island Mall
    Staten Island Mall in New Springville will host THE LEGO® Americana Roadshow, a highly visual, educational and free traveling installation of larger than life LEGO replicas of some of our nation’s most beloved landmarks. Ten one-of-a-kind, large scale models of
  3. Greenbelt Peepers

    October 19 @ 9:45 am
    October 19, 2017  |  9:45 am - 9:45 am
    Greenbelt Nature Center
    Mighty oaks from little acorns grow. Through hands-on activities, crafts, and stories, two year-olds and their caregivers will become familiar with the sights and sounds of the forest. Space is limited. Registration required. Fee: $3 per child/Free for Greenbelt Conservancy
  4. THE LEGO® Americana Roadshow

    October 19 @ 10:00 am - 9:00 pm
    October 19, 2017  |  10:00 am - 9:00 pm
    Staten Island Mall
    Staten Island Mall in New Springville will host THE LEGO® Americana Roadshow, a highly visual, educational and free traveling installation of larger than life LEGO replicas of some of our nation’s most beloved landmarks. Ten one-of-a-kind, large scale models of
  5. Greenbelt Tree Tots

    October 19 @ 11:00 am
    October 19, 2017  |  11:00 am - 11:00 am
    Greenbelt Nature Center
    Mighty oaks from little acorns grow. Through hands-on activities, crafts, and stories, three and four year-olds and their caregivers will become familiar with the sights and sounds of the forest. Space is limited. Registration required. Fee: $3 per child/Free for
  6. Tot’s Time Plus

    October 19 @ 11:00 am - 1:00 pm
    October 19, 2017  |  11:00 am - 1:00 pm
    SI Children's Museum
    Your pre-schooler will create artwork, sing along and listen to stories.
  7. Bouncing Babies

    October 19 @ 11:15 am
    October 19, 2017  |  11:15 am - 11:15 am
    West New Brighton Library
    Come for playtime, stories and songs for babies and their caregivers.
  8. Science Time

    October 19 @ 2:00 pm - 3:00 pm
    October 19, 2017  |  2:00 pm - 3:00 pm
    SI Children's Museum
    Join us for this daily program on problem solving, inquiry and creative thinking. Activities include meetings animals from our Bugs exhibit, playing with solar cars, solving puzzle and games or building structures. Time is subject to change each day
  9. Homework Help

    October 19 @ 3:00 pm - 5:00 pm
    October 19, 2017  |  3:00 pm - 5:00 pm
    Port Richmond Library
    Need help completing your homework assignments? Stop by during homework help hours. We are here to help with basic questions!
  10. Art Around the World

    October 19 @ 3:30 pm
    October 19, 2017  |  3:30 pm - 3:30 pm
    West New Brighton Library
    Educators journey around the world with students exploring unique artistic styles and mediums from different countries and cultures. CMOM’s creative arts programs support the student’s own creativity and nurture a love of the arts. Using a variety of art media,