Why I didn’t get my grandkids anything for Christmas

Yes, you read that right. I didn’t get the grands anything for Christmas. Not even a candy cane. First year ever. Lack of funds was only one of the reasons — I mean, seriously — there’s nine of ’em and at $20 a piece, that’s a good chunk out of a tight budget.

I worked the numbers every which way I could, $20 for those eight years-old and over, $10 for the younger ones. But then the younger ones’ options were slim at $10 or under. I considered going to the dollar store or the one-step up, Five and Under store, but then thought…why am I throwing even a dollar away for something that’s going to break, tear up, get lost before the end of the day?

Then I started hearing bits and pieces of what the kids were getting from their parents, other grandparents, and that jolly ol’ elf. After spending a chunk of back-breaking time every week day picking up pieces of play castles, toy cars, microscopic swords and tea cups, Barbie shoes and dresses, stuffed animals ranging in size from the hand held to the giant furry things…I decided there wasn’t a darn thing they needed coming from me that would come from a store.

So I decided to give each one, individually, my time.

I know — being with them sometimes 12-hours a day seems they have enough of my time. But honestly, they don’t. They don’t have me. They have grandma the waitress — which I’m quite good at if I do say so myself — I can balance six plates filled with PBJs on both arms and only drop the occasional chip. They have grandma the disciplinarian — which I’m also very good at. I get tickled at people who say they could never spank their precious little grand. Spend the amount of everyday, regular ol’ time with them that I do and see if you change your mind.  They get grandma the diaper changer or bottom wiper or nose wiper or pick me up from school taxi cab.Shaw Photography Group

But they don’t get grandma.

So my gift to them is my uninterrupted time and my full attention. One at a time. One on one. Emma’s looking forward to a mani/pedi, Landon, a movie, Ava, maybe one of those painting dates…whatever they want to do (within reason — yes, I’m still the grandma that puts limits on things). Even the little ones. A picnic at the park sounds good to me. It may take half the year to get these Christmas presents delivered, but I’m looking forward to each one of them.



  1. I think time is one of the best gifts of all. Who gets anyone’s undivided attention these days? I believe they will treasure this far more than any plastic toy

  2. That’s awesome. I once heard Shari Lewis (remember her?) asked what kids most love to play with, and without hesitation she said, “Their parents.” I think that can be extended to their grandparents, too. Well done, Gramma!

  3. Julia C. Hoffman

    January 5, 2015 at 8:55 am

    Wonderful present, I may steal that idea.

  4. Beautiful kids! Great idea. They’ll remember the experiences more than the gifts.

  5. Sounds like all of yours are local. That makes you a lucky Grandma! Great idea. They’ll store those memories away forever. They’ll never break or run out of batteries and won’t have to be picked up off the floor.

    • Lynn

      January 4, 2015 at 6:52 pm

      Yes, Kaye. We’re all within about five miles of one another so it does make it easy to grab one for a few hours on a Saturday. And the only batteries that will run down are mine LOL

  6. Welcome to the club, Lynn. I haven’t bought Christmas gifts for my grandchildren for the past ten years. Early on I looked at the flood of gifts they received from their parents, aunts, uncles, cousins, and other grandparents. I decided not to add to the deluge. Instead, like you, I give them my time throughout the year. We parked beside a dead deer next to the road once and had a Grannie-Lesson-in-Science, wherein they learned to approach a dead creature from upwind!

  7. What a brilliant post, Lynn. Thoughtful, realistic and with lots of material for stories.

  8. Joanne Harrelson

    January 4, 2015 at 1:35 pm

    This is awesome Lynn.. You know, in years to come, your grandchildren will remember this gift as one of the most special moments in their life…unlike the $20 gift~ Great idea…!

  9. Lynn, what a TERRIFIC post! You have given so much of your time this year to those precious kids, and you’ve dedicated characters and whole books to them (that you’ve written while babysitting! incredible!). The experiences you share and your written words will outlast those Barbie dolls by far. Thanks for sharing what is so hard to say and do in this materialistic world.

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