Since Christmas is not that far off, and I am already starting to think of Christmas gifts, I thought it might be helpful to give a list of gift ideas for the couple of young children. Here’s the list that they don’t have the courage to give you but would love nevertheless. The list contains everything from free to expensive so surely there is a gift idea in here that you may have never thought of you but that your adult children have.
1. Option A: Gift certificate to their favorite restaurant with $ for a babysitter.
2. Option B: Gift certificate to their favorite restaurant and you offer to babysit (if you can physically and live nearby)
3. Gift certificate to the young mother’s favorite hair-dresser and spa
4. Gift certificate for a pedicure
5. $ for Blockbuster Express rental and box of popcorn and option of adding a warm fleece blanket (couple size)
6. Offering to babysit while they Christmas shop. Another option: $ to pay for a babysitter so they can Christmas shop and have a date night.
7. A homemade gift certificate for ironing their clothes (You could make a few of these to be redeemed at their choice.)
8. A homemade gift certificate for mending
9. A homemade gift certificate for weeding their gardens (if physically able)
10. A gift certificate for flowers and mulch. Additional option: A homemade gift certificate, offering to plant the flowers for them.
11. A homemade gift certificate offering to watch children while young mother cans fruit, jams, or veggies (if she likes to can)
12. $ to pay a babysitter so young mother gets a day off to clean, run errands, sleep, or do whatever
13. Gift certificate for the young mother’s favorite clothing store (Moms need a new wardrobe piece every so often to feel energized.)
14. Gift certificate to Victoria’s Secret (for young mother). Your son or son-in-law will be thankful.
15. $ discreetly given to your son or son-in-law to buy a piece of jewelry or roses for the young mother
16. $ for your son-in-law to attend a game of his favorite sport’s team
17. Gift certificate or $ for a Bed & Breakfast stay for the young couple, along with an offer to babysit or $ to pay a babysitter.
18. $ for them to hire a professional cleaning service to clean their windows once-a-year or offer to do this yourself
19. $ for hiring a professional cleaning service to come once-a-year to scrub hard areas: ceramic tile floors, light fixtures, radiators, fridges (behind them), stoves (tops, behind, inside) or Option B: Offer to do this yourself.
20. Offer to do touch-up painting.
21. Homemade gift certificate, offering to help your son or son-in-law with whatever household projects he wants to get done on a Saturday.
22. Homemade gift certificate, offering to trim bushes and hedges
23. Spending $ for both — a lot of young couples don’t have any extras to feel like they can buy stuff like flowers, mulch, clothing, games, movies, toys, shoes, accessories, decorations, hobbies, books, etc…
24. $ for grand-children’s college accounts.
25. A well-written note of encouragement — no criticism is allowed. In fact, avoid criticism as much as possible or altogether. At this stage in the game, you are a resource for them to seek when they have questions. If they come with a complaint, sympathize, very carefully offer advice, give lots of support and encouragement.
26. Notes of encouragement to your grand-children, along with specific prayers. Avoid criticizing or “parenting” them. Your relationship will stay positive as you do what grand-parents should do: “spoil.” “Spoil” in the sense of being generous with your time, resources, praise, love, physical affection, words of encouragement, prayers, play-time, and gifts.
27. Avoid any gossip about your adult children or grand-children among other family members or among outsiders. “What goes around comes around.”
28. Homemade pre-mixed cookie ingredients (minus cold items) for easy making and baking or Option B: Pre-make cookie dough that they can freeze and use at their discretion.
29. Avoid giving grand-children over-doses of candy and sweets. Some sweets are okay though (like homemade cookies).
30. Offer to take a grand-child on a special outing (e.g. ice cream or to park). Even one less child can make a mother’s day easier. Plus, it is connecting with your grand-child.
31. Always affirm your adult children and never correct or criticize their parenting in front of the grand-children. If there is an area of major concern, pray heartily and then with much wisdom seek to positively help in the situation.
32. If there are major discipline issues, when parents are talking about it, you can offer to pay towards counseling sessions if they feel that would be a help. Again, avoid any implications that you are criticizing them or their parenting or their children.
33. The dry ingredients pre-mixed or prepared for a soup meal, along with $ for meat to add if the recipe requires it.
34. $ towards a family vacation for them
35. Gift certificate for their favorite pizza place
36. Gift certificate for a game of mini-golf (couple or family)
37. Gift certificate for ice cream (Ritas, etc…)
38. Gift certificate for bowling (couple or family)
39. Gift certificate for a new set of towels and wash cloths and her favorite scent of body wash and lotion
40. $ for a new electronic gadget for the young father
41. Gift basket of fresh fruit, snacks, and chocolates
42. A new set of sheets for them (You’ll have to know their bed size and what colors/styles they like. Don’t go for the cheapest. Go for quality. They’ll appreciate the difference when they crawl between the sheets.)
43. A family Bible if they don’t have one.
44. $ for family pictures. Go professional — not the cheapest available.
45. Pay attention to any comments about furniture, rugs, whatever that they apologize about. It may mean they feel badly about that item and would really appreciate a replacement. You’ll know whether this is something they could use or not. Offer $ to replace, if this is within your budget.
46. Homemade gift certificates to offer babysitting (there could be a few of these for them to redeem).
47. Homemade gift certificate to make supper for them sometime (if you live close-by)
48. Homemade gift certificate, offering to do a day’s worth of laundry
49. Homemade gift certificate, offering to clean bathrooms
50. “His” and “Her” mugs, with hot chocolate packets or tea packets.
51. A packet of 10-20 crafts or more. You assemble the supplies, cut, paste, whatever needs to be prepared, type instructions, and then put them in Ziploc bags with titles written on them. This is a great idea for the busy mom who would love to do crafts with her kids but dislikes shopping, preparing, planning, and paying for them.
52. Two new dishcloths and two new dish-towels, with a homemade gift certificate attached. The gift certificate should be an offer to wash a meal or day’s worth of dishes.
These are just some ideas. Don’t feel that you have to do these or you are a terrible parent/grand-parent. Just do what you can and are able to do/give. The giving is all about the joy it brings to the receiver. Give with an attitude of love and joy. The best gifts you can give are your love and encouragement. Have a Merry Christmas!