I am on a budget and this past year my children have given me 4 grandchildren. Although I would love to buy them all expensive gifts, I just don't have resources. How do you grandmothers deal with the problem of lots of grandchildren and not a lot of money?
Sherry from Gig Harbor, WA
I'm not a grandma, but one grandchild out of 23. My grandparents always gave us each $10. It adds up to quite a bit, but it saves the hassle of finding a lot of gifts, and spending an exuberant amount! Another good idea that I would appreciate is start writing your life story. Give them what you have done by Christmas, and then pieces of it as you finish it for each special event. A third idea is write a personal letter to each one. As a kid, they may not appreciate or understand the significance, but when they are older it is something they will treasure forever - and it will make it so much more meaningful to know that they aren't "just another grandkid" but they as an individual are special to you!
I would love it if my children's grandmas would read books they loved as children onto cassettes for my children to listen too. I also wish they would tape all those wonderful family stories that are going to be lost, and make a special family tree notebook. Even tape stories of how you felt the first time you saw the grandchild anf other times that were special for the two of you. If you feel like you must include more McDonalds gift certificate are inexpensive and kids LOVE em!
Homemade items! Mittens, scarves, blankets, cookies, or cross-stitch their names and put it in a frame. You might also consider McDonald's gift certificates or a "gold" dollar. How about making up a booklet of the story of your life, including pictures of you as a child? It would mean so much to them in the future.
Jann McClain - Abilene, TX
I am a grandmother on a budget. When the grandchildren started to come along we made the decision not to buy toys. I refuse to buy clothing because I hated getting that from my grandmother. So I make things. Brownies, crocheted items, etc. Throughout the year I pick up crayons, books etc. and have those on hand for little presents. If the children are older, gift certificates for a special night at
grandma's house might work.
depending on the age of the child. there are various ways to do something for each child. You could make a little pillow for them to lay of the floor and put thier name on them.
ages2-7 likes these. ages 7-14 send them a 10$ gift certificate to wal mart or K mart. they can buy what they want. for ages older than 14, I made a scrapbook for them with old pictures(which we all have a collection of many the same ones) like pictures of grandparents, g-grandparents, parents, themselves, brother/sisters, cousins and date of picture name of person and how they are related. It make a great ancestry background for them to go on. Seems everyone is tracing there background now a days. That makes a wonderful gift to them. Or give the children something of yours that you would like for them to keep and hand down thru the generations make sure it is dated and who it came from. I made tooth pillows for the tooth fairy for ages 4-8. Children love them I put a little hook on the back and they can hang it up on thier wall until they loose that tooth. then the tooth fairy can replace the tooth with money. without the hassle of trying to find the tooth when they are alseep. My 14 year old still has his after 11 years. and if the child is a christian, most churchs give bibles away, and a bible with a childs name in it(personalized) with some family background info in it is a wonderful gift to give.
I'm not a grandmother, but I have some ideas...
Homemade gift baskets....color books, crayons, markers, reading books, etc. (you can even print coloring pages form the internet.)
Craft baskets are fun too. (different color paper, markers, glue, scissors, pipe cleaners, eyes, pom poms, etc)
If your grandchildren live close enough, overnight coupons or afternoon coupons. include the things that you will do such as a lunch date-(either out to a restaurant or teach them how to make a lunch.), baking cookies, movie and popcorn, tea party, etc. I know my daughter has always loved doing things like this with grandma and she has learned to cook as well.
My grandmother had 13 grandchildren. We never got birthday or Christmas gifts from her. But every once in a while you would get a box from Gram and it would be full of gifts. It was always a surprise and that made it even more special. We each had our own crochet motif (mine was a butterfly). She would use up her bits and pieces of crochet cotton and crochet your special motif. Clothes were passed from grandchild to grandchild - but the rule was that your motif was sewn onto the shirt, dress, whatever when it was handed down to you - that made it "yours". My other grandmother opened a bank account for each of us - she added to it on each birthday or Christmas - it might only be a dollar or two but by the time college came around it was a nice sum.
Our grandchildren are college age. Buying them clothing is out of the question. Their tastes and ours are worlds apart. Our answer to occasional gifts is home made cookies and/or fruit in season. Each time they're home for a week-end or holiday. They take their "gifts" back to school and share with roommates. They seem to enjoy these treats and it's economical for us.
I am not a grandmother, either - but I have given my nieces and nephew Xmas presents for years when very broke. By starting in September and giving myself time to look around and pick up trifles on sale, and in thrift shops and so on, I usually had a nice variety by Xmas. I also love to give books and very often very nice ones can be found used - or at discounted at a book store like Barnes & Noble. And today we have Amazon, too!
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We have thirteen grandchildren. We also have four other small children that we are very close to. Birthdays get really expensive! We can't afford them anymore. However, children don't really understand why they don't get a gift from us. So I found a way they get something from the heart and doesn't cost much. I make their favorite cookies, make their card and one or two scrapbook pages of their previous years activities. This way you are adding to their childhood history and it makes it easy to add these pages to a collage when they graduate. It costs nearly nothing.
If you scrapbook or make cards, you can also give a "tea" party for the girls. Get out your scraps to help them make cards or other things. Make tea, give finger sandwiches made from eggsalad, tuna, chicken and cupcakes. They love it! If their birthday is near a holiday, use that theme. Like make ornaments or Valentines or something for 4th of July. You get the idea.
For your daughter or daughter-in-law, make an entire meal and deliver it for her and her family. That way, she doesn't have to cook after working or needing time just to relax.
You can also make care baskets, like you would do for Christmas stockings. Any small personal items. Add dried teas and flowers that you make. Add their favorite jelly or jam or in a man's case hot peppers, etc.
For wedding gifts, make pot holders, soup gift jar that they can make (include recipe), cookie recipe in a jar, make a recipe book of your own and put them in a small inexpensive photo album for the new bride. Wrap your basket in a small homemade table cloth and add napkins you make to the package. Get the basket at a garage sale. Or add a "saving money" tip book of your own and get them started in the right way - don't forget to add a "saving money" recommended reading list and your favorite websites.
By Tightwade from West Middlesex, PA
This is a great way of doing birthdays!! What great ideas especially in this economy. Thanks so much for the wonderful ideas.
Great ideas, especially because they're from your heart! Thanks for sharing.