Ninjabread Men cookie cutters are a good boy's gift
NEW YORK (AP) -- The world is a crazy busy, crazy big place for grandparents and grandkids looking to connect, so why not ditch the slippers for the holidays and focus on gifts grand-kin can enjoy together?
Somewhere between cozy, affordable footwear and the other end of the spending spectrum -- grandparent-grandchild cruises -- lies a wealth of gifts, projects and memory-making activities both can enjoy.
According to a Pew Research Center survey last year, 80 percent of people 65 and older have grandchildren, as do 51 percent of people between 50 and 64. Overall, more than half of grandparents surveyed said they most value extra time with grandchildren and other relatives as a positive in getting older.
Whether they live far away or are on-hand for day-to-day care of their grandkids, grandparents likely outgrew the ubiquitous tie-and-slipper gift tradition long ago. So grandchildren willing to give the gift of quality time as part of their holiday offerings this year can try one of these ideas:
HIKING, BIRD WATCHING
Walking sticks and canes have come a long way in durability and style for a stroll around the neighborhood or hardier hikes. Build the perfect one at fashionablecanes.com, which offers a broad price range, then suggest a regular weekly adventure outdoors. For extra fun, wrap up a handheld GPS device and get the grandparents into geocaching, a high-tech treasure hunt. A new walking stick would come in handy.
How about a pair of binoculars for bird watching, or a kit to build a birdhouse? Backyard-birdz.com has links to bird books, plans for houses, bird feeder kits and pre-made versions.
SNAIL MAIL, PHOTOS
Present a grandparent who lives some distance away with a stack of homemade stationery in a fancy box with some hand-picked stamps from the post office. Include a declaration with a gold seal that you'll write back. Or just buy some fancy writing paper and add a special pen.
For older kids, offer to sit with a grandparent to label and digitize precious hardcopy family photos. You can help ship them out in e-mail to relatives or print multiple copies for snail mailing.
Or suggest working together on the family tree, presenting a special binder as a gift. Zazzle.com has plenty for genealogy projects.
If grandma likes to primp, put together a makeover kit in a special bag filled with her favorite cosmetics (ask mom which ones). Throw in the new ``InStyle Ultimate Beauty Secrets'' for tips and shortcuts. Or buy a perfume-making kit to create a hers-hers signature scent. Brambleberry.com has kits and samplers for DIY scents, soaps, bath products and other toiletries.
Looking to spend a little more? Create matching grandmother-granddaughter pearl necklaces or other pearl jewelry at thepearlsource.com. You can learn about pearl grading, shop by price, and choose your own colors of pearls, along with clasps and
MOVIE HOUNDS, GAMERS
Spring for a Netflix membership, or use your family's membership and schedule a movie night with the grandparents, switching off who gets to choose the movie. Pick up a fancy DVD box set of your grandparents' old favorites and let them be your guide through yesteryear as you watch the movies together.
Declare a game night. Teach a new board game to a grandparent or track down a fancy version of a favorite. Jonathan Adler has a needlepoint and acrylic backgammon set in green, blue and white at Jonathanadler.com. Thingsremembered.com has an affordable playing card set in an engravable silver plate box and two decks of plastic cards with silver-colored backs.
Bang around in the kitchen learning a grandparent's favorite recipes. Offer to write down the ones that never made it out of grandma's head. Littler kids can make a recipe box. Older kids can collect the family history of beloved desserts and savory dishes and put together a cookbook that a grandparent can re-gift the following year.
Baking cookies is always fun, but so are newfangled sandwich, pasta and ice cream makers. Cake molds and cookie cutters come in all shapes and sizes for less expensive gifts. Fred and Friends makes a silicone cake mold in the shape of sandwich bread. Spread a filling like peanut butter and jelly between layers for a giggle, or choose the company's cake mold in the shape of a peace sign. Fred also makes high-kicking Ninjabread Men cookie cutters for a good boy gift.