Give the grand­est of all gifts


CHRIST­MAS is a time of giv­ing but it’s im­por­tant to think about what we are gift­ing our grand­chil­dren. Nan­nas and gran­dads ev­ery­where are mak­ing lists and check­ing them twice with their chil­dren be­fore they hit the shops be­cause they know the pres­sure’s on to find the per­fect gift for the grand­kids. Know­ing what to buy a grand­child who’s grown 30cm since you last saw them can be quite the chal­lenge. And the thought of adding an­other toy to a col­lec­tion that’s al­ready over­whelm­ing can feel like a waste of money. But we want to show them how much we love them, so off to the shops we go. Statis­tics show many peo­ple are about to spend money they can’t af­ford on gifts no­body needs. That is lu­nacy no mat­ter how old you are. At our age we should not only know bet­ter, but also be bet­ter at show­ing our fam­i­lies there are other ways to ex­press your love. Here’s my guide to thought­ful gift-giv­ing: Don’t just hand over movie tick­ets – take the kids to the movies and watch it with them. Don’t just buy a book – buy a copy for your­self, read it and then talk about it with them. For the gen­uine reader, buy a book you en­joyed at their age. Give them an “old-fash­ioned” in­vi­ta­tion to an out­ing just for two (or more) the next time you see them. A trip to a cafe, park or lo­cal tourist at­trac­tion can be­come a spe­cial mem­ory if you don’t see them very often. Dig out some pho­to­graphs of you as a young per­son and put them in a frame – it’s im­por­tant our grand­kids re­alise we were young once too. Write each grand­child a let­ter about the things you want them to re­mem­ber about you, about what’s im­por­tant in life and what you wish for them. Cre­ate your own gift voucher for les­sons in a spe­cific skill you have – sewing, knit­ting, frame build­ing, paint­ing, chang­ing a bike tyre, us­ing power tools or bak­ing a cake. De­sign a sim­ple project that can be com­pleted in an af­ter­noon so they have some­thing to take home with them. Shar­ing your time, sto­ries and life might not be some­thing your grand­kids have put down on their Christ­mas lists, but there’s ev­ery chance gifts that come wrapped in love will be­come trea­sured mem­o­ries. Re­sist the temp­ta­tion to buy an­other “thing” or hand over cash. That “thing” will break, be for­got­ten and the money will be spent or pos­si­bly saved, but giv­ing some­thing of your­self can’t ever be re­placed and hope­fully it’s never for­got­ten.

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