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 on 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 this year, the coronavirus pandemic makes that especially difficult. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), those over 65 are at the highest risk for developing complications from COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus. The CDC recommends people, especially older adults, avoid family gatherings this holiday season. So what do you get the people who hold such a special place in your heart when you’re forced to spend time apart?
There’s no need to stress because these ideas come straight from interviews with real grandparents. Knowing the suggestions come from them, you can feel good about giving any of these thoughtful, useful, or heartwarming gifts — whether you’re giving them to your own grandparents or for your children to their grandparents.
Best Christmas Gift Ideas for Grandparents
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. For even more ideas, see our gift list for nursing home residents and older adults.
Christmas Gift Ideas Under $20
There’s no need to feel constrained by a tight holiday budget. There are many fantastic options in this budget range, including entertaining and practical gifts and even useful tech. 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, and make a date for a video chat to read the book together.
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 older people who have a tough time reading even with magnifying aids, get them a one-month gift subscription to Audible Plus, which gives them unlimited access to everything in Amazon’s Audible Plus catalog, including thousands of Audible Originals, audiobooks, and podcasts. Additionally, they’ll get a credit good for one premium title, regardless of price. And it’s theirs to keep, even after the subscription ends. Take advantage of the 30-day free trial to hook them up with two months in this price range.
3. A Coffee Mug Warmer
Does your grandparent tend to nurse a cup of coffee all day long? If so, help them keep it warm and delicious with a coffee mug warmer. The Mr. Coffee mug warmer keeps their cup piping-hot. It can even heat up a cold cup in two minutes. And with its extended cord length, it’s easy to use almost anywhere. If you have room left in your budget, pair it with a personalized grandma or grandpa mug from Hug & Mug on Etsy. You can add images to represent Grandma or Grandpa, plus yourself and all your siblings.
4. A Protective Keychain
A gift that helps keep grandparents germ-free is perfect this time of year. No-touch door-opener tools let you do things like open public restroom doors, punch the buttons on electronic card readers and ATMs, and even operate your touch-screen devices hands-free — so they never need to come into contact with germy high-touch surfaces. Opt for a protective keychain in a fun pattern or a no-touch door opener with extra functionality that includes a handy bottle opener and a padded stylus.
5. A Tile Slim Key, Phone, & Remote Finder
We all misplace things, especially our keys and phones. Help Grandma or Grandpa keep track of their stuff with a Tile Slim. They simply slide it into their wallet or attach it (adhesive sold separately) 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 Slim rings to let them know where their lost belonging 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 Slim, and it will make their phone ring.
6. Resistance Bands
Everyone needs a little help staying in shape. And strength and resistance training are vital for older adults. It keeps their bones strong, making them less prone to fractures and developing osteoporosis, according to a 2003 study published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine. With the Gaiam strength and flexibility kit, grandparents can tone their core muscles, arms, and legs from the comfort of their homes. The kit contains three bands, ranging from light to heavy, plus an exercise guide. If they enjoy watching YouTube videos, they can also discover several free resistance band workouts for older adults, like those from Senior Fitness With Meredith.
7. A Commemorative Ornament
While it’s likely most grandparents have collected enough ornaments over their lifetimes to fill three trees, one that commemorates a special memory of the day they became a grandparent strikes the right balance between sentimental and stuff. The ”Promoted to Grandparents” Christmas ornament from Hello Delicious on Etsy is one new grandparents will be proud to display. For veteran grandparents, go with one that showcases all their extended brood, like the grandparent Christmas ornament from Heather’s Simple Creations on Etsy.
8. A Video Message
This year will be a difficult Christmas for grandparents and grandkids alike, who must spend the holidays apart thanks to the ongoing pandemic. But a heartfelt video montage made of collective messages from the whole family is sure to help soothe any grandparent’s heart. Simply invite family members to record individual messages and upload them to gratitude video company Tribute’s website. Then use Tribute’s editing tools to create your custom video. It’s likely to bring your grandparents to tears. And even better, you can use Tribute’s DIY option for free with the code “yougotthis25.” Usually, this option costs $25. If you’d rather not DIY, you can have Tribute custom-edit the video for you with its concierge option for $99.
9. A Memory Book
If something tangible seems more like their thing, create a keepsake book filled with memories. Younger kids can draw pictures that remind them of time 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. Do it yourself or use a service like Shutterfly or Mixbook to put together your album. Shutterfly has options available starting at $10, and Mixbook’s options start at $16.
10. Promise Coupons
As a leg amputee, my father — a grandfather of 10 — has difficulty doing certain household chores. There are many older grandparents in similar positions, whether or not they’ve had amputations. And grandparents of any age appreciate help with chores.
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.
Gift Ideas From $21 – $50
A bigger budget lets you get your grandparents a wide range of practical, consumable, and sentimental gifts, like a gift basket of scrumptious treats, gear for their favorite hobby, or useful tech.
11. A Gift Basket of Treats
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.
For the chocoholics in your life, the California Delicious Holiday Gold Rush chocolate gift basket features gourmet chocolate like Ghirardelli and Godiva. The Belgian chocolate holiday bark collection comes with delicious chocolate barks with festive twists like peppermint bark, white chocolate Oreo bark, and Belgian milk chocolate bark with caramel and pretzels.
12. A Custom Cutting Board
Whether they use them to slice meat or vegetables or create a holiday charcuterie, grandparents who love to entertain can’t have too many cutting boards. A bamboo, walnut, or mahogany cutting board from EPS Digital on Etsy 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 head to Create My Cookbook. Just choose a binding option, use their free online designer to customize each page with recipes and photos, and then have them print your custom cookbook.
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 prompts that fill the “My Life Story — So Far” journal 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.
If your budget has more room, go with a keepsake book from StoryWorth. Each week for a year, grandparents receive a question via email from StoryWorth, and they reply with a story the company shares with you. At the end of the year, they bind the stories in a beautiful hardcover book. It’s an heirloom gift the whole family will treasure.
15. A Family Tree Picture Frame
As older branches of the family tree, grandparents tend to collect a plethora of photos — especially school photos — of their extended family of grandkids. If yours has them haphazardly plastered all over their refrigerator, a family tree hanging photo display can help organize them in an attractive way. It’s a statement piece they can proudly use to show off their extended family.
16. A Garden Seat
Gardening lets grandparents spend time outdoors and stay active. But all that bending over can do a number on their backs. So get the avid gardening grandparent a useful helper with the gardener’s tool seat from Uncommon Goods. The seat provides a convenient perch so they don’t have to bend over or be on their knees, and it doubles as a toolholder with pockets for storing their hand rake, pruners, and trowels.
17. 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.
For example, give a grandparent who likes to knit a few skeins of yarn and a wood yarn bowl to store needles and keep yarn from getting tangled. 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 give a golfer a DIY golf gift basket with various things they need for the game, like golf gloves, tees, and two-in-one divot tool and 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 permanent markers, as shown on Laughing Kids Learn.
18. Online Classes for Their Favorite Hobby
Keep Grandma or 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. You can get a significantly lower monthly rate if you’re willing to make an annual commitment, and you can still pay by the month to stretch your gift-giving dollars.
If you’re shopping for two grandparents and can afford to go slightly over budget on each, get them a year-long subscription to MasterClass. If you sign up before Dec. 28, 2020, you can take advantage of their buy-one-get-one holiday offer, meaning you pay only around $10 over this budget range for each. And they’re sure to find something that speaks to their interests, whether that’s poker, gardening, or piano. They can learn from masters in their fields — like cooking from Gordon Ramsay, photography from Annie Leibovitz, or tennis from Serena Williams.
19. An Insulated Mug
Get the avid coffee or tea drinker an insulated mug. It keeps their beverage steaming hot for three hours. The Swig Life 18-ounce insulated mug comes in a range of patterns and colors. Plus, it’s large enough to hold two cups of coffee or tea. Alternatively, go with a Grandma or Grandpa insulated tumbler from Tervis. They aren’t dishwasher safe, but they’ll keep beverages hot for longer — up to eight hours. And if you pair the tumbler with a bag of Bottle Bright cleaning tablets, cleaning is still a breeze.
20. 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. But even without streaming subscriptions, it lets them access over 20,000 movies and TV shows from free apps like IMDb TV, Tubi, and Pluto TV. And the Alexa-enabled remote enables them to access anything they want with simple voice commands.
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 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 older adults 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.
Unfortunately, the current pandemic makes that difficult, but you can get them an experience you can share later. A gift card for a service like Ticketmaster lets them look forward to a show they can experience with their younger grandkids, like Disney on Ice, without having to commit to a certain show date.
An older grandchild can take a grandparent golfing and then out to dinner or a paint-and-sip event. Groupon is a vast resource for deals on things to do in your area. But go with a gift card, which won’t come with an expiration date. Package the card with a note explaining it’s a date to do something fun together once the pandemic is over. It will give them something to look forward to.
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 For All Gifts, which includes chess, checkers, backgammon, dominos, cribbage, cards, and dice.
23. A Wireless Phone Charger & Sanitizer
If your grandparent never answers their phone because it’s always out of juice, get them the Lexon Oblio wireless charger and UV cleaner. It looks like a flower vase, so it can sit on an end table or countertop and double as decor. Plus, it makes charging their phone as easy as dropping it in. As a bonus, it also sanitizes their phone using UV light, which is crucial since cellphones are typically dirtier than a toilet seat, according to research compiled by Time. It works with the iPhone 8 and newer models and any Android device with wireless charging capability.
24. A Sentimental Blanket
A plush blanket keeps your grandparent’s legs warm on cold nights. A blanket that reminds them how much you love them 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. Digitally Preserved Memories
The best gifts help you share cherished memories. So why not revisit a few of the old ones? Dust off Grandma or Grandpa’s old home movies, audio recordings, or print photographs, and send them to Legacy Box. They’ll digitize the memories to preserve them forever in a format that makes it easy to revisit and share. Get Grandma or Grandpa a starter kit, or go through their stash and put it together yourself.
26. A Turntable & Records
For the grandparent who’s still waxing poetic about vinyl’s superior sound quality, 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 folding shopping cart from Unhg is a sturdy utility cart that ports groceries. But it also has a fold-down cover that doubles as a seat. Plus, it features special triangular wheels designed to climb stairs easily, so Grandma or Grandpa will have no trouble rolling it up steps. And it can even double as a handcart for moving heavy boxes.
28. A Hydroponic Growing Device
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 Sprout hydroponic garden comes with seeds and plenty of room to grow basil, parsley, and dill. Plus, it’s easy to use, even if they don’t have a green thumb. All they have to do is add water, plant food, and the included seed pods. Even better, there’s no need for a sunny windowsill thanks to the built-in sunlight-mimicking LED lights.
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 three 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 and 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 tennis racket, musical note, or camera.
For Grandpa, a men’s birthstone ring 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, which makes some of the highest-rated digital photo frames, is the 9.7-inch smart digital photo frame with 2K ultra-high-definition. It’s simple to set up, has excellent resolution, and comes with an easy-to-use app so you can surprise Grandma or 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 on reading material or brain games with an Amazon Kindle Paperwhite. Focused exclusively on reading e-books and listening to audiobooks through Amazon’s Audible service, it’s almost as easy to use 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.
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 home’s layout 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 they can use the app on their smartphone or tablet to 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 it 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 like the Braava Jet 240. It features a precision jet spray and a vibrating cleaning head to mop up the dirt from their floors. And it gets into hard-to-reach places like around toilets and under kitchen cabinets. It also sweeps floors.
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 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. You can also look into a cleaning service through Handy.com.
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 Worldly Estates wine chest contains wines from California that pair with around-the-world treats like French Camembert cheese, European wafer cookies, Italian green olives and olive oil, and Swiss 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, popcorn, and 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.
40. A Family Trip
Create memories for young children and their grandparents by taking them all on a family trip. Although it will have to wait until after the pandemic, a gift card for Airbnb comes with no expiration date, and it’s good at thousands of locations around the world. Plus, giving it to them now, even if they’ll have to wait to use it later, gives them fun to look forward to — something we could all use right now.
Even if a full trip isn’t in your budget, Airbnb provides tons of local experiences as well, perfect for daytripping. And if you’d rather not wait, they also feature online experiences that give the insider feel they’re known for with hosts from all over the world. The whole family can join in on the “vacation” via your computers, even if you can’t get together for the real deal. For example, your family can learn how to make pasta together from an Italian grandmother. Or you can all go on a leopard safari in Sri Lanka.
Or treat Grandma and Grandpa to a family membership to a place ideal for spending time with their grandkids, like the zoo or your local science center.
Whether you’re able to get together with your grandparents this year or plan to safely celebrate the holidays apart, a thoughtful gift makes grandparents feel special and appreciated.
And 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 a DIY Christmas gift their grandparents will cherish, like hand-beaded jewelry or a hand-drawn card. Or let them give age-appropriate service projects, like putting up holiday decorations or shoveling snow.