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Gift-giving suggestions for financially challenged grandparents

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The holidays should be magical, filled with moments of gratitude and joy, a time to remember that it’s not the getting, it’s the giving. Unfortunately, that's not always the case. The holidays are often tough on grandparent "Santa Claus-wanna-be’s" who have the heart but not the means.

With the holidays imminent, grandparents everywhere are scurrying to provide their precious progeny the best of the best – to the best of their abilities. But when it comes to gifting, what, exactly, does that mean? Buying and wrapping up the most popular electronic devices, apps, and games? The most popular toys, books, music, movies? The latest in designer creations? Gift cards for any or all of the above? Trust moneys?

The answer is probably YES to one or more.

Less than about gift-giving and more about sharing, tradition and love, Chanukah, Christmas and Kwanzaa are less about competition or who gives more or better presents than acts of kindness. Regretttbly, for most grandkids, that’s a hard concept to grasp.

No matter how lofty the wishes are to please their grandchildren, not all grandparents have the wherewithal necessary to comply. Coupled with the “competition” factor of the “other” grandparents, what’s a not-so-wealthy grandparent to do?

Speak the truth. Don’t be set up for failure. The holidays are neither a time to be timid nor a time for false pride. Celebrating the “reason for the season” should signal that this is a time to be thankful for all you have and to celebrate all that is good. Being truthful with your children is the first step.

Being direct with your children may be the best thing you can do, and hopefully your children are not only sensible but sensitive -- to not only their children but to you.

Gift suggestions from grandparents who love and care, but don’t have a lot of money:

1. Set a per-grandchild budget, notify your kids and ask for gift suggestions.

2. Let your kids’ fingers do the walking and talking and ask for suggestions on where to find “best buys” on gifts requested by grandchildren.

3. Ask your kids for meaningful “coupon” suggestions that can be gifted, like an hour of story-telling, reading, “how to” paint, shoot, hunt, etc. instruction.

4. Tablets and notebooks are expensive, but credit card-type cards are readily available in any denomination and can be purchased to provide your grandkids with the downloads and apps they want, from music to games to artistic interaction.

5. The gift of love – who can put a value on this? Have your message engraved on an everlasting plaque, glass, pen or piece of jewelry.

“It’s not the gift but the thought behind it.” So while you’re doing your holiday shopping, remember -- Love is not meant to be quantified and neither are gifts.

If you like this, you may also be interested in these articles:

Top 10 techie gift ideas and reviews for your favorite senior.

Top Toys for 2013 and where to find them online for less.

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