Editor’s Note: This is Marianna’s last Life is Grand! column. We at Staten Island Parent hope you join us in thanking her for all her wonderful insight, advice, and tips for our Staten Island Grandparents, and wish her all the best in her future endeavors experiencing the grand life!
Being away from grandparents during the holidays shouldn’t take away from the meaning of sharing and caring about each other. With today’s technology and a few trinkets from the Dollar store or a souvenir shop, a lot of love could be shared on any day of the year.
Here are a few ideas for giving back and forth between grandparents and grandchildren:
• Stay away from toys that will have little meaning to them within a few months. Consider an ornament that has a special meaning. It may be from a trip you attended, something especially inscribed, or a menorah from somewhere special. If possible, date it so that every year as the child grows the collection will have meaning.
• Buy a ticket to a one-day experience with you. When you know you will be visiting the children or they will visit you, have tickets ready to an event such as a play, sports event or musical performance. If the price is out of your range, a gift certificate to a favorite restaurant for just grandparents and grandchildren will give everyone something to look forward to. Time spent together is not soon forgotten.
• Although for some people, books have moved to the side by eBooks, a small collection of classics is something a child may like to have in his or her library. Perhaps the inspiration will lead to an interest in the masterpieces. Most bookstores have beautiful collections especially during the holidays.
• Art supplies are an all-time favorite with kids of all ages. Along with the supplies, add the stipulation that the children send you their artwork or a picture of it. When you run out of room on the refrigerator, use an old fashioned photo album, or a binder with sheet protectors to collect all their artwork. (Tip: put child’s name and year on all art work).
For a gift that keeps on giving, consider monthly care packages with snacks and little gifts like gloves and hats or books, age appropriate, of course! Let the kids know that they will be getting a small package from the “Grandkids of the Month Club” exclusively set up for them!
Another way to keep the fun of sharing going is when you do get together, leave a bunch of small gifts wrapped for each month you will be a part. (Fun gifts could also be practical too, such as crazy socks, fresh school supplies, etc.). Have the parent put them away and take them out at the beginning of each month to present to the grandchild. Have mom take a picture of the kids opening gifts and send it over to the grandfolks!
I guarantee most of the above gifts will put a grand smile on everyone’s face.
By Staten Islander Marianna Randazzo, author, educator, and a two-time grandmother.