A Grandparent's Guide To Winning The Holidays

by Rachael Lubarsky
Originally Published: 
Image: Rachel Hudgins Photography

As if figuring out your own holiday gift buying strategy for your children wasn’t stressful enough, when you field that phone call from Grandma on what she should buy the kids, it creates another layer of complicated planning. Whether she wants to splurge and shower your kiddos with expensive stuff you don’t think they need, or she’s demanding a list of gifts that feel relevant and age appropriate, you both need a holiday shopping plan. Here are a few “dos and don’ts” to pass along to grandparents:

  • When it comes to budget, be on the same page. Make sure your own parents are sticking to what you feel is an appropriate amount to spend on your kids. (Like, no real ponies, please.)
  • The holidays are not a competition. We all know the season should be about family and shared experiences as opposed to wanton materialism. More gifts doesn’t = more love, obviously.
  • “Value” can be different than “cost.” Look for gifts that provide educational value, or support creativity, as opposed to something expensive that may be tossed aside.

Need some great gift ideas for grandparents to grab? We asked Valerie Ireland, a Scary Mommy mother-in-law and grandmother of four to weigh in with her picks. She is seriously committed about holiday shopping:

“I plan for months. I read reviews. I check out toy stores and gift guides. I start discussing it with my daughter and daughter-in-law long before they are ready to turn their attention to Christmas. It is a bit of a family joke.”

Sounds like a lot of work, but Valerie enjoys Christmas much more as a grandma:

“I don’t have that level of exhaustion I used to have when my kids were little. I’m not Santa. I’m Grandma! I get to watch their beautiful faces as I sip my coffee. It is truly one of my happiest moments of the entire year. I love them and I love toys!”

Here are some of Valerie’s top picks:

Check out even more great holiday gifts inspired by Valerie’s picks!

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