Shopping for grandparents is unquestionably tough. They’ve sat through our boring school recitals, endured our sticky fingers on their furniture, and rarely ever said no to buying us an extra toy. They deserve something special. But they generally have everything they want and need – and more. Grandparents’ homes tend to burst at the seams with a lifetime’s worth of accumulated stuff.
Fortunately, what your grandparents want most for Christmas is you. Time spent with their grandkids is top of almost every grandparent’s holiday wish list. And research shows bonding time is the best gift anyway. In a 2017 study published in the Journal of Social and Personal Relationships, survey participants reported feeling more loved and appreciated from social interaction than material gifts.
But you still don’t want to show up empty-handed at your family’s holiday party. So what do you get the people who hold such a special place in your heart?
These gift ideas come straight from the source – to make this curated gift guide, we quizzed grandparents themselves. And while every grandparent is a unique individual with their own likes and dislikes, there are a few things they all agreed on.
Grandparents generally don’t want more “stuff.” The only exception is something that holds sentimental value, like plaster handprints of their grandchildren. Otherwise, grandparents like gifts that are practical or consumable.
Knowing the ideas come from real grandparents, you can feel good about giving any one of these 40 thoughtful, useful, or heart-warming gifts – whether you’re giving to them your own grandparents or from your children to their grandparents.
Gifts Ideas Under $20
There’s no need to feel constrained by a tight holiday budget. Many grandparents’ favorite gifts are practical or homemade by their grandchildren, and you can do either for less than $20. Plus, grandparents love their grandkids so much that anything coming from them is highly appreciated – it means they took the time to think about them.
1. A Fun Kids Book
Fun books to read to their younger-age grandkids — like “How to Babysit a Grandpa” or “How to Babysit a Grandma” by Jean Reagan — may seem more like a gift for the grandchild. But what this book really says to a grandparent is, “I love it when you read to me.” And any gift that encourages bonding time with their grandkids is highly welcomed. To make this gift extra special, write an inscription on the inside expressing your love.
2. Reading Aids
Practical items top grandparents’ lists of most-wanted gifts. Grandparents who need a little extra help seeing what they read can use any variety of reading aids, from magnifying bookmarks to lighted magnifying page readers to large-print books.
For seniors who have a tough time reading even with magnifying aids, get them a one-month gift subscription to Audible, which is good for one book of choice plus two Audible Originals. Or if you can swing a little bit extra, sign up before Dec. 31 and get three months of Audible — good for nine books total – for just over $20.
3. Brain Exercising Games
To keep their brains sharp, many seniors enjoy puzzle games, like crosswords and Sudoku. These games help improve their cognitive skills and overall brain health, according to a 2019 study published in The Journals of Gerontology.
If a grandparent on your list enjoys crosswords, get them a copy of “The New York Times Monday Crosswords Omnibus” edited by Will Shortz. For Sudoku lovers, go with “Funster Tons of Sudoku” by Charles Timmerman, which contains over 1,000 puzzles of various difficulty levels. Or go with an all-around puzzle book, like “3-in-1: Word Search, Crosswords, and Sudoku” or “Lower Your Brain Age in Minutes a Day,” both by Brain Games.
4. Tile Mate Key & Phone Finder
We all misplace things, especially our keys and phones. Help Grandma and Grandpa keep track of their stuff with a Tile Mate. They simply attach a tracker to whatever they want to keep tabs on, like their keys or the TV remote. When they misplace their tagged item, they press a button on their smartphone app, and the Tile Mate rings to let them know where the item is hiding. If they can’t find their phone, no worries – it works in reverse too. They can just press the button on the Tile Mate, and it will make their phone ring.
5. Promise Coupons
As a leg amputee, my father – a grandfather of 10 – has difficulty doing certain household chores. There are many elderly grandparents in similar positions, whether or not they’ve had amputations.
To help out, make books of coupons good for doing chores like yardwork, housecleaning, putting up or taking down decorations, picking up prescriptions or groceries, dog walking, and car washing. If this gift is coming from younger grandchildren, tailor the tasks to their age, abilities, and availability.
6. Handmade Jewelry or Keychain
Grandparents cherish homemade gifts from their grandchildren. And grandchildren of any age can craft a beautiful gift using glass tiles and a cherished photo or specially made artwork.
- Artwork or photo
- Scanner, camera or smartphone, optional
- White card stock
- Mod Podge
- A glass tile kit for making your chosen accessory: necklace or keychain
- A small paintbrush
- A toothpick
- E6000 super glue
- If you’re using artwork, scan it in or, using your camera or smartphone, photograph it and upload it to your computer. If you’re using a photograph, upload it to the computer. Using a photo editor like Preview for Mac or Paint.net for PC, size your image to the dimensions of your glass tile.
- Print it on white card stock and cut it to size.
- Put a pea-size amount of Mod Podge on your tile. Use the paintbrush to spread it out so that it covers the entire surface. Use the toothpick to pop any air bubbles in the glaze.
- Set your image face-down on the tile. With a clean finger, lightly press down. Allow it to dry for 5 to 10 minutes.
- Using the paintbrush with a pea-size amount of Mod Podge, paint the back of your image to better seal it to the glass. Let it dry for 2 to 3 hours.
- In the necklace or keychain tray that will hold your glass tile, put a drop of super glue. Press the glass tile into the tray.
You can also use pretty patterned fabric or paper to make these glass tile necklaces or keychains following the same instructions.
For a more challenging project, try an ombre seed bead necklace, which involves stringing very tiny beads in a color gradient across multiple strands. Find the full instructions on How We Live. Or go with a beaded bracelet using gorgeous glass and metal beads like the one at Crazy Little Projects.
7. Homemade Ornaments
Although grandparents are likely to have accumulated more ornaments over the years than their tree can hold, an ornament made by one of their grandchildren will get a coveted spot.
Handprint and thumbprint ornaments are an easy craft for younger grandchildren. They involve having grandchildren make finger or handprint impressions in clay or dipping kids’ fingers or hands into paint and pressing them onto Christmas bulbs to make winter- or holiday-themed designs. For a roundup of homemade ornament ideas, visit Chickabug.
Older kids and adults can make a more professional-looking ornament by uploading photographs or artwork to Shutterfly to get a customized ornament. Shutterfly has several options for high-quality ornaments in metal or glass in this budget range.
8. Homemade Kitchen Accessories
For grandparents who enjoy cooking and baking, homemade kitchen tools are both useful and sentimental. Make a beautiful apron by embellishing the top and bottom with pretty fabric, and have each grandchild make a handprint on it using a complementary color of paint. Then use fabric transfer paper to put each grandchild’s name on the apron. Get the full instructions on Old Salt Farm, or use similar instructions to make kitchen towels.
You can make custom wooden spoons by using Mod Podge to affix pretty fabric to the handles of a set of spoons like they did at Alice & Lois. Fabric also gives a personal touch to a memo board – like the one at Making Lemonade — where they can tack up their recipes, grocery lists, or photos. Just secure the fabric tightly around a piece of foam board.
9. Homemade Food
Treat your foodie grandparent to a basket of homemade cookies, quick bread, or candy. Even if they love to bake, they’ll appreciate a treat they didn’t have to make themselves.
10. A Handmade Card or a Keepsake Book
Thrill a long-distance grandparent by mailing them a hug – it’s an exceptionally easy and fun craft for younger kids. Help the child trace their hands onto paper and cut them out. Measure a strip of ribbon as long as the full width of their arm span. Then help them glue a hand to either end of the ribbon and tuck the “hug” inside a holiday card. Get the full instructions on Glued to My Crafts.
Or create a keepsake book filled with memories. Younger kids can draw pictures that remind them of times spent with their grandparents and then bind them together into a book. Older grandchildren and adults can collect photographs and write notes about their favorite memories, just as with a scrapbook.
Gift Ideas From $21 – $50
A bigger budget lets you get your grandparents a wide range of practical, consumable, and sentimental gifts, like relaxing self-care products, gear for their favorite hobby, or useful tech.
11. Photo Gifts
As much as grandparents love photos that let them watch their grandchildren grow, they run out of space on their walls. This holiday season, up your photo game by giving a photo craft instead of the standard print.
Collect pictures into a photo book. Go with a theme to tie them all together into a special keepsake that will warm their hearts – like “Grandpa and Me” or “Grandma’s Life Story.” They’ll be able to relive special moments every time they look at it. Upload them to a printing service like Shutterfly and arrange them yourself, or have kids do all the work of designing a photo book themselves.
12. A Custom Cutting Board
Whether they use them to slice meat or vegetables or to create a holiday charcuterie, grandparents who love to entertain can’t have too many cutting boards. A bamboo, walnut, or mahogany cutting board from Copper Fox Company comes engraved with the names of Grandma or Grandpa’s key ingredients: their grandchildren. Because it’s engraved and not painted, it’s not only decorative, but they can safely use it for food.
13. A Family Cookbook
A customized family cookbook checks all the boxes: practical, sentimental, and filled with recipes for consumables. Round up all the best family recipes and design your pages using a program like Microsoft Word or the free online design tools at Canva. Be sure to include photos to go with the recipes – you can include photos of each recipe developer, pictures of the family enjoying meals together, or even pictures or illustrations of the dishes themselves. Then have them printed and bound at a local print shop. Alternatively, you can use Shutterfly’s cookbook template.
14. A Keepsake Journal
Older generations have a lot of fond and important memories to share. Help them preserve those memories for future generations with a keepsake journal or letter set. The “My Life Story – So Far” journal is filled with prompts to help grandparents record their memories and all the pearls of wisdom they learned along the way. There’s even a section to write the things they still want to do, which keeps grandparents looking forward, not just back.
Or get them a letter-writing set filled with prompts to help grandparents and grandchildren share and preserve treasured memories they can look back on years from now.
15. Food Gifts
For the grandparent who has everything, you can’t go wrong with a gift of their favorite treats. The only space your gift will take up is in their stomachs. While many professionally packaged food gifts can top $100, it’s possible to find lovely baskets and sets for under $50.
16. Supplies for Their Favorite Hobby
For a twist on the usual gift basket, collect supplies for their favorite hobby into a basket, tub, box, or hobby-related container, such as a reusable popcorn container for a movie buff.
Or give a golfer a DIY golf gift basket with various items they need for the game, like golf gloves, tees, and two-in-one divot tool ball markers. Don’t forget to include some personalized golf balls. Or have young grandchildren create custom golf balls by drawing designs on them with Sharpies, as in this example from Laughing Kids Learn.
You can also find prepackaged hobbyist gift sets. A kit from We Are Knitters comes with everything you need – including instructions and all materials – to make a single project, such as a knitted hat or scarf. Or get an avid golfer the Caddy Snack gift golf bag, which includes snacks and golf tees packaged in a handy golf bag cooler just the right size for a golf cart.
17. Soothing Relief
Grandparents often suffer from a variety of age-related aches and pains, so they’ll welcome a practical gift to help soothe them. If they suffer from neck and shoulder pain, a microwavable lavender-infused heating pillow can help.
Or go with a heated pillow that also massages. The Zyllion Shiatsu back and neck massager uses four rotating balls to provide a deep, kneading motion. And because it’s compact, it can provide targeted relief to specific areas of the body, including the neck, shoulders, lower back, feet, and calves.
And if they’re bothered by the cold, treat them to a heated throw blanket. Sunbeam’s Microplush electric warming throw blanket is not only plush, it’s machine-washable.
18. Classes for Their Favorite Hobby
Keep Grandma and Grandpa active and enjoying life by treating them to classes involving their favorite hobby, whether that’s pottery, music, painting, or poker. Give them a creator pass for one month of Creative Live so they can enhance their creative skills. Creative Live offers over 1,500 classes on subjects like photography, sewing, cake decorating, jewelry design, and songwriting.
If watching videos on the Internet isn’t their thing, sign them up for a local workshop. If they enjoy crafting, look to see if AR Workshop is in their area and hosting classes for a project they’d enjoy. Or search Groupon for inspiration and deals on any number of local classes for hobbies like sports, crafts, cooking, and music. If you live near them, score bonus points by attending with them.
19. A Smart Streaming Device
If relaxing at home in the evenings is more their style, get your grandparent an Amazon Fire TV Stick. It lets them stream from services like Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime. Plus, it accesses over 7,000 apps, games, and Alexa skills. And they don’t have to be tech proficient to use it. The Alexa-enabled remote lets them access anything they want with simple voice commands. Just make sure you offer to set it up for them if they’re not gadget-savvy.
20. An Indoor Herb Garden
Grandparents who love fresh food will have constant access to a supply of fresh herbs, even in the winter, with an indoor herb garden. The AeroGarden Garden Sprout comes with seeds and plenty of room to grow basil, parsley, and dill. Even better, there’s no need for a sunny windowsill thanks to the built-in sunlight-mimicking LED lights.
Gifts Ideas From $51 – $100
While no grandparent expects lavish gifts, this price range does include many practical gifts grandparents can use. It also opens the field to many luxury items that make life more enjoyable and gifts for experiences they’ll never forget.
21. A Date With You
Bonding time with their grandchildren is the No. 1 item on the list of every grandparent we surveyed. As we get older, we tend to feel isolated from others, especially our families. Our children grow up and have families of their own. It leaves many grandparents with the feeling of a perpetual empty nest. The Health Resources and Services Administration reports that nearly half of seniors experience loneliness regularly.
But that’s not the only reason grandparents crave bonding time with their families. They also just really love spending time with you.
If the gift is from a grandchild, tailor the date to the child’s age. Date ideas abound for all ages. In this budget range, a young kid can take their grandparents to the latest Disney on Ice. An older grandchild can take a grandparent golfing and then out to dinner or to a paint-and-sip event. Search Groupon for inspiration and deals in your area by clicking the tab “Things to Do.”
22. A Personalized Game Set
Get grandparents who host regular game nights a classy version of their favorite in a personalized wooden box. There are options for every game you can imagine, like a chess set, dominoes set, or poker set.
Or opt for a multi-game set like the seven-in-one game set from Gifts for All, which includes chess, checkers, backgammon, dominos, cribbage, cards, and dice.
23. Luxury Sleepwear
Everyone loves something cozy to sleep in, and while pajamas are practical, a luxury set isn’t something many grandparents would splurge on for themselves. For Grandma, Oprah Winfrey chose Eberjey pajamas as the “world’s softest” for her 2018 Favorite Things list. For Grandpa, go with the Marbella stretch sateen pajamas, which pair the classic look of two-piece, button-down pajamas with a comfortable stretch fabric.
24. A Sentimental Blanket
A plush blanket keeps a grandparent’s legs warm on cold nights. A blanket that reminds them how much they’re loved will keep their hearts warm all year. Some options include the My Favorite Things Photo Blanket, the Close to Her Heart Blanket, and the Reasons Why I Love Being a Grandma or Grandpa blankets. You can get them all from Personalization Mall.
25. Custom Wall Art
Grandparents may be short on wall space, but they’ll always make room to show off their adorable grandkids. For a cute and humorous gift, have the funny things their grandchildren have said turned into artwork. Or commission a custom canvas that proudly displays their extended brood.
26. A Turntable & Records
For the grandparent who’s still waxing poetic about the superior sound quality of vinyl, a wireless Bluetooth-enabled record player that plays their vintage LPs is a nostalgic and practical gift. They can also play modern music stored on their phones through its built-in speakers. Plus, it packs up like a suitcase, allowing them to bring it with them anywhere.
Or if they’re still working on their collection, get them a subscription to Vnyl. Three months – that’s nine records – of curated music is currently under $100.
27. A Rolling Cart With a Built-In Seat
Whether waiting in line at the pharmacy or strolling the farmers market, a shopping cart with a ready seat is a genuine convenience for on-the-go grandparents. The Rest-n-Roll has a sturdy plastic seat with a 300-pound weight capacity and large wheels that make it easy to pull over gravel, grass, and cracks in the pavement. Plus, the frame is made of steel, not aluminum, making it sturdier than other carts.
28. A Fireproof & Waterproof Safe
A fireproof and waterproof safe protects your grandparent’s most important documents, including their end-of-life plans, in the event of fire, flood, or theft. The SentrySafe HD4100 holds file folders and is UL-classified to withstand 1,550 degrees Fahrenheit of heat for up to 30 minutes. It’s also ETL-verified for 72 hours of water submersion, ensuring your grandparents’ irreplaceable valuables and documents stay safe.
29. Smart Light Bulbs
If your grandparent has difficulty getting up and down, smart bulbs let them turn lights on and off from wherever they are. The Philips Hue starter kit comes with four smart bulbs and a hub to control them. Plus, they can dim the lights to whatever level they like and even adjust the color to one of 16 million possible options.
30. A Genealogy Kit
Genealogy kits are a popular gift for all ages because they help people feel connected to a broader lineage. Grandparents are no exception. Plus, the results are an entry point into conversations with friends and family about cultural legacies and personal history. It can even be a launching pad for shareable cultural-exploration activities, like visits to museums, ethnic restaurants, library research, and even travel. The Ancestry DNA Kit is a go-to for genetic lineage testing.
Gifts Ideas Over $100
A budget over $100 lets you splurge on your grandparents with gifts of fine jewelry, helpful technology gifts, and gifts of services like housecleaning. And if there’s something special you want to get your grandparents but it’s out of your budget range, consider having everyone pool their resources to spend on one special gift.
Pool your money to get jewelry that reminds Grandma of her grandkids, such as a grandmother ring or necklace with the grandchildren’s birthstones. Or opt for a charm bracelet and let each grandchild contribute a charm to remind Grandma of them, such as a skateboard, ballet shoes, or a camera.
For Grandpa, a men’s birthstone ring set with each of his grandkid’s birthstones and engraved with their names is an elegant way to display his pride and joy.
32. A Smart Photo Frame
A smart photo frame takes up less space than dozens of prints. Plus, it keeps them instantly up to date on all the grandkids’ latest pictures since they typically come with an app that lets you send any images you want directly to the frame.
The newest frame from Nixplay, who makes some of the highest-rated digital photo frames, is the 9.7-inch smart digital photo frame with 2K ultra HD. It’s simple to set up, has excellent resolution, and comes with an easy-to-use app so you can surprise Grandma and Grandpa with new pictures whenever you want.
33. A Smart Home Hub
The Amazon Echo Show 10 keeps the whole family connected. It features the largest screen – 10 inches – to ease the strain on aging eyes. Plus, grandparents can use its vibrant screen and crisp sound to make hands-free video calls using simple voice commands. Nothing will make long-distance grandparents feel more connected than getting to see their grandchildren’s faces whenever they call. The built-in Alexa hub also lets them access the latest headlines, check the weather, play their favorite music, and watch TV shows or recipe tutorials while they cook.
34. An E-Reader
Keep Grandma or Grandpa stocked in reading material or brain games with an Amazon Kindle Paperwhite. Focused exclusively on reading and listening to e-books through Amazon’s Audible service, it’s almost as easy as a physical book. But unlike a book, it gives grandparents access to helpful reading features like the ability to adjust lighting, text size, and text boldness.
Plus, the newest Paperwhite is thinner, lighter, and even waterproof. That means they can take it with them to the pool or beach during all those family vacations.
35. A Robotic Housecleaner
If your grandparents have difficulty keeping up with vacuuming or just plain hate it, treat them to some robotic helpers. The iRobot Roomba 960 vacuum sweeps up dirt, dust, and pet hair on rugs and tile or hardwood floors. It even learns the layout of their home as it goes and automatically returns to its docking station to recharge. This Roomba is Alexa-enabled, which means they can control it with simple voice commands. And if they have a smartphone or tablet, the app lets them do things like track its progress and set schedules.
Or go all out with the state-of-the-art Roomba s9+. This model does everything the 960 does, plus it comes with Roomba’s most powerful suction. And automatically empties the vacuum’s dirt bin into a special allergen-lock bag, making it ideal for people with allergies.
For grandparents in homes with more hard-surface floors than carpets, opt for a robotic mop. The Braava Jet M6 is the latest from iRobot. It features the highest level of technological advances, including Alexa connectivity, a precision jet spray that can tackle the grimiest and stickiest of messes, and advanced smart mapping, which allows your grandparents to direct it to clean any room in their home.
36. A Housecleaning Service
Getting down on their hands and knees to scrub bathtubs and toilets probably isn’t high on Grandma and Grandpa’s list either. So give them the gift of having someone else to do that for them for a whole year.
Molly Maid is a licensed and bonded housecleaning provider, and they offer gift certificates for their cleaning services. Plus, they’re available nationwide, so your grandparents can use the service almost anywhere in the U.S.
37. A Meal-Delivery Subscription
If your grandparents would appreciate some extra help in the kitchen, treat them to a meal delivery service. If they enjoy cooking, the meal kit service Blue Apron delivers all the ingredients they need to make fresh and delicious meals to their door – no shopping trip or slicing and dicing required. For those who enjoy just the eating part, Freshly delivers fully prepared healthy meals they only have to heat and eat – perfect for the grandparent who just completed a marathon of holiday cooking.
38. Fancy Liquor or Barware
For a luxurious food gift, get your grandmother or grandfather a treasure chest full of wine and gourmet treats. The Around the World Wine Chest contains wines from France and Italy to pair with the included Camembert cheese, crostini crackers, red pepper spread, bourbon-aged caramels, and smooth chocolates.
If they’re more into fancy Scotch than wine, opt for a Whiskey Appreciation crate. It includes a personalized decanter and glasses they can put on display. Or go with a Glenlivet gift basket that comes with a bottle of the hard stuff along with an assortment of fancy snacks like cheeses, crackers, cookies, candies, truffles, and popcorn pretzels.
39. An Upgraded Coffee Maker
For grandparents who need their morning caffeine but disagree on what the perfect cup of morning joe tastes like, upgrade their old-fashioned drip machine to the Keurig K-Elite. A Keurig lets them make as much or as little coffee as they want. Plus, they can switch up their brew each morning with any variety of K-cups. Or get the eco-conscious grandparent a set of reusable coffee pods to go with it. For a personalized touch, pair this gift with a special grandparent coffee mug set.
40. A Family Trip
Create memories for young children and their grandparents by taking them all on a family trip to a magical place like Disney World. Though there are plenty of ways to save at Disney, the costs can add up quickly.
So if your holiday budget doesn’t allow for a vacation that extravagant, take Grandma and Grandpa on a day trip to a place like the zoo, a science center, or an amusement park. If there are no younger grandchildren, you can also take them on a more grown-up day trip, like a river cruise or a wine-tasting train ride. Find more day trip inspiration at Only in Your State.
Whatever you get your grandparents this year, remember the best gifts are ones they can use, whether that’s something as extravagant as housecleaning service or as simple as a Tile Mate. And don’t rule out experiential gifts, which fill grandparents’ hearts and make everyone in the family feel more connected.
If you’re a parent shopping on behalf of young grandchildren, include them in the decision-making process. Kids get as much out of giving presents to their grandparents as their grandparents get out of receiving them. You can give them some cash to go shopping with or help them make something their grandparents will cherish, like DIY jewelry or a handmade card. Or let them give age-appropriate service projects like putting up holiday decorations or shoveling snow.
What are you getting your grandparents this year? If you’re a grandparent, what do you want for the holidays?