As gifting seasons go, the biggest one of all is just around the corner. Even so, I wouldn’t be surprised if some of my readers are feeling somewhat irritated that I’m bringing up the holidays again while Christmas is still more than three months away. But I have a reason. The longer you wait to make or buy gifts, the fewer options you’ll have. Last minute shopping is a surefire way to run up mountains of unintentional debt. Been there, done that.
Gifts for grandparents don’t always require a trip down memory lane. Today’s grandparent is more likely to be tapping out e-mail on a tablet than pounding away on a typewriter. So with that in mind, and to help you get rolling early, here are some of my favorite gift ideas for grandparents, ranging in price from $9 to $150, that are sure to delight Nanas and Papas everywhere—even those who are hard-to-buy-for.
1. DIGITAL CAMERA. This versatile entry-level Canon PowerShot SX400 digital camera is one of best cameras out there for quality, functionality and price—and several notches higher than the typical phone camera. Despite its size, this gem is packed with most of the same features and manual controls found on larger more expensive models. Complete with 30x zoom, it takes fantastic pictures. Simple to use, too. About $150.
2. PORTABLE PHOTO PRINTER. Just the other day a friend of mine lamented the fact that all of her grandkids’ pictures are on her phone. “I wish I had prints, but I’m stuck with them on this tiny screen!” What she needs is a simple photo printer. I showed her this Canon SELPHY CP910 portable wireless compact photo color printer and you should have seen her face. She was like a kid on Christmas morning just knowing that something like this even exists. Soon she’ll be printing postcard- and wallet-size photos directly from her compatible smartphone, tablet or camera in full color on photo paper. (Does not include the smartphone). About $85.
3. KINDLE PAPERWHITE. One of the best things grandparents can do is vigorously exercise their brains. Ongoing mental stimulation is a proven method to sharpen mental acuity into ones senior years. And what better way to stay sharp than to read vigorously? Kindles allow easy, instant access to a library of millions of titles. The Kindle Paperwhite is particularly well-suited for the following reasons: 1) It’s easy to hold 2) has ridiculously long battery life 3) the fonts scale easily to make reading simple 4) the visual technology makes reading from the screen easy on the eyes and 5) massive storage to hold thousands of books in memory. About $120.
4. WEBCAM. If there are many miles between kids and grandparents, Skype is their new best friend. Give grandparents the opportunity to see your kids regularly on their computer with this Logitech HD Pro Webcam C920 widescreen video calling and recording computer camera. It’s foolproof and easy to install (seriously, just plug it in). For the money, the quality of this computer camera can’t be beat. About $75.
5. AMERICAN MUSICALS. This amazing two-volume collection contains the complete books and lyrics of 16 Broadway Classics from 1927-1969 including Oklahoma!, South Pacific, Guys and Dolls, Fiddler on the Roof, Cabaret plus 11 other great shows. The Broadway musical is one of America’s great indigenous popular forms, a glorious hybrid that emerged “out of our speech, our tempo, our moral attitudes, our way of moving” (as Leonard Bernstein put it) and more than likely beloved by the grandparents in your life. About $48.
6. CROSSWORD PUZZLES. This book, from the popular Brain Games series, presents more than 80 crossword puzzles in a large-print format. Both the puzzle clues and puzzle grids are enlarged for ease of reading and writing, and each puzzle set is on facing pages. About $10.
7. BIBLE WORD SEARCH. This large-print word search book has 150 puzzles in easy-to-read large print that are challenging without being too hard. Perfect for the word-search fan looking for biblical inspiration. About $14.
8. GRANDKID QUOTES. Remember all those cute things your kids said? The ones that made their grandparents laugh hysterically and conclude they have the smartest grandkids in the universe? They don’t either. But they’ll never forget in the future once they have My Quotable Grandkid: A Grandparent’s Journal of Unforgettable Quotes. This is the perfect diary to record the hilarious and unexpectedly wise things grandchildren say. With a photo window for personalizing the journal this is the perfect gift for grandparents and for cherishing family memories. About $12.
9. GRANDMOTHER FIGURINE. This 5.5-inch figurine from the folks at Willow Tree beautifully depicts the unique love of a grandmother that transcends the years. Also available the WILLOW TREE GRANDFATHER . About $25 each.
10. CUSTOM MAP PILLOW. This is a custom-made item, and boy is it cool. You select the map of choice (hometown, favorite travel destination, mother country or nautical chart) to be created in fabric and fashioned into a sturdy, beautiful throw pillow. Truly a one-of-a-kind heirloom gift that will be cherished for a lifetime About $100-$115.
11. GRANDPA T-SHIRT. Here’s a shirt Grandpa will actually be proud to wear because it’s not dorky. And the grandkids will love it every time he does. So will the mom or dad who made grandpa a dad. About $20.
12. GRILLIN’ APRON. If Grandpa loves to grill, here’s a great gift that will allow him an attitude to go along with it. One size fits all because this apron comes with adjustable ties so it accommodates all sizes. Easily wipes off in case Grandpa is also a little messy. About $9.
13. SEWING KIT. This sewing kit is just what every grandmother wants to keep nearby. It’s compact with the contents neatly organized in its zippered case. Includes: 12 colored thread, thimble, tape measure, seam ripper with safety cover, clear storage hard case with included sewing needles in a variety of sizes for embroidery, heavy fabric sewing or fine delicates. Special easy-access elastic gripper areas for storing straight pins, safety pins, shirt buttons and two needle threader tools. About $12.
14. COOL TOOL. The Stander HandyBar is an awesome 3-in-1 automotive mobility safety tool that helps grandparents—or anyone, for that matter— get in and out of a car safely. It is 1) a powerful window breaker in the unlikely event that is the only way to exit the car in an emergency 2) a seat belt cutter and 3) an automotive standing aid. This tool turns into a sturdy handle that fits into the door latch giving mobility assistance for the elderly, injured or anyone who needs a little help getting out of a car. The Stander HandyBar easily stores in the glovebox or under the seat. Every car needs to be outfitted with one of these very useful tools. About $35.
15. EXPANDABLE BRACELET. This Alex and Ani “Because I Love You” expandable wire handmade bangle bracelet is crafted from recycled materials featuring one “Grandmother” floral pendant and three additional stamped charms. Simply beautiful in either gold or silver finish. About $28.
16. HEART CHARM BRACELET. This beautiful bangle bracelet include a heart charm with a beautiful inscription embossed right into the silver tone finish. Make sure she has a tissue handy when she reads, “Grandma, sometimes the best things in life are often unseen, a moment of serenity, a feeling of security. All this and more you’ve given to me.”
17. STERLING SILVER ADJUSTABLE BRACELET. Beautifully inscribed, “I love you to the moon and back,” this sterling piece of fine jewelry is sure to hit the bullseye of perfect gifts for any grandmother! About $35.
It’s true that when giving a gift, it’s the thought that counts. This year put some extra thought into your gifts for grandparents. It will come back to bless you many times over.