Memorable Gifts that Show You Care – Even From a Distance

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.



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  1. NYRR Open Run

    February 19 @ 9:00 am
    February 19, 2017  |  9:00 am - 9:00 am
    Conference House Park
    Join New York Road Runners for free weekly runs in your neighborhood! Open to all ages and experience levels. Walkers, strollers, and dogs on leash are welcome. Cost: Free, no advance registration required. Sign up here.
  2. Living with White-Tailed Deer

    February 19 @ 11:00 am - 12:30 pm
    February 19, 2017  |  11:00 am - 12:30 pm
    Blue Heron Nature Center
    Explore Blue Heron Park with the Urban Park Rangers in a search for deer. Learn about deer ecology and behavior as you look for clues of deer presence. Join a discussion about the impacts of deer in an urban environment.
  3. Hieroglyphs in the Art studio

    February 19 @ 1:00 pm - 4:00 pm
    February 19, 2017  |  1:00 pm - 4:00 pm
    SI Children's Museum
    Arts vocabulary; Hather,Hake and Horos- can you find these Egyptian gods in hieroglyphs? Learn this ancient form of communication and create your own Pictographs.
  4. Sea Shanty Sessions

    February 19 @ 2:00 pm - 5:00 pm
    February 19, 2017  |  2:00 pm - 5:00 pm
    Noble Maritime Collection
    Led by the Folk Music Society of New York, this program is really gaining in popularity and offers a great opportunity to experience authentic, time-honored maritime songs in an appropriately historic setting. The sessions are free and family friendly, and
  5. Animal Time

    February 19 @ 2:00 pm - 3:00 pm
    February 19, 2017  |  2:00 pm - 3:00 pm
    SI Children's Museum
    Join us for this daily program and meet one of the animals from our living collection. Check the white board at the museum for details.
  6. Story time

    February 19 @ 4:00 pm - 5:00 pm
    February 19, 2017  |  4:00 pm - 5:00 pm
    SI Children's Museum
    Join our staff in Portia’s Playhouse and hear a heart warming tale. All books will feature a letter of the alphabet. Time is subject to change. Call Museum for more information
  7. Presidents’ Day

    February 20
    February 20, 2017  |  12:00 am - 11:59 pm

  8. Historical Craft

    February 20 @ 11:00 am - 4:00 pm
    February 20, 2017  |  11:00 am - 4:00 pm
    SI Children's Museum
    Make an historical craft and design a gold coin in honor of Alexander Hamilton founder of the Federal Reserve, the First Bank of the United States.
  9. School Holiday Break

    February 20 @ 1:00 pm - 3:00 pm
    February 20, 2017  |  1:00 pm - 3:00 pm
    Staten Island Museum
    Enjoy drop-in activities during school vacation including family tours and art activities.
  10. Kids Week Staten Island: Living with Deer

    February 20 @ 1:00 pm - 2:30 pm
    February 20, 2017  |  1:00 pm - 2:30 pm
    Bloomingdale Park
    With the Urban Park Rangers we will look for, learn about, and discover the signs of white-tailed deer.