Why is it so hard to buy gifts for grandma? Perhaps it’s because, as women in our 60s or older, we simply don’t feel like we need anything anymore. Or maybe the traditional gifts of knitting sets, customized mugs, bath salts and jewelry simply don’t appeal to this generation of modern grandmothers.
Do a quick search on Google for “gifts for grandma,” and you will be bombarded with tacky gifts and stereotypical presents. Ok, maybe there are a few of us out there who really would appreciate a mug that says, “World’s Best Grandma,” but wouldn’t the rest of us like something more creative?
The main problem, of course, is that people think that you change once you reach your 60th birthday. They forget that you are still actively pursuing your passions and exploring the world.
Most of the older women I know aren’t sitting in their rocking chairs knitting (not that there’s anything wrong with knitting!) They are hiking with friends, traveling, dancing, starting companies, going back to school, playing golf, learning Chinese ink painting, cycling, gardening and, most of all, staying social.
If you want to see just how diverse our hobbies are, all you need to do is check out this list of 50 hobbies for women over 50, compiled by the women in our community. We certainly aren’t slowing down and most of us are rejecting “aging gracefully.”
The good news is that we have over 500,000 women over 60 in our community. We can help the people in our lives to understand what modern grandmas really want for Christmas or our birthdays.
So, here are a few of the suggestions from the women in our community. Please check them out and then join the conversation at the end of this article.
Toni talked about the importance of really knowing your special grandma. She said, “Gifts need to be personal. That’s the most important thing. I just turned 70 and one of my girls got baseball tickets for us. The problem is that I hate baseball. I would rather sit with my family around the big dinner table somewhere.”
Lois agreed with Toni, adding that “The best gifts are the ones that each person prefers. As a widow, having things to do in my alone time is important. I am an avid reader, so I love getting bookstore gift cards.”
Cathy was also given a charm bracelet with the names of her 3 grandchildren and says it was one of her most treasured gifts. There are some great ideas for personalized jewelry for grandmothers at Things Remembered.
You can also get fun mugs that share a family secret or phrase. Personal Connections and Personalization Mall are a great place for inspiration. You can go to places like Zazzle and design your own mugs and t-shirts.
Another great opportunity for a personalized gift could be things you can use around the house, like personalized cushions and aprons. Etsy is a great place to look for handmade inspiration.
Cherril explained that, sometimes, the best gifts are actually experiences. She said, “When I was 50, my darling youngest daughter got me tickets to see Luther Vandross in concert. It was unforgettable! Not long after, he tragically died. I will always be thankful for having the opportunity to see one of my favorite artists perform live.”
The Gift of Travel
Fiona reminded us that travel opportunities are almost always a hit with us grandmas. She said, “A special gift for someone my age would be a weekend trip. Even a day trip would be great!”
Jo-Anne combined ideas from both Cherril and Fiona’s comments. She pointed out that experiences and travel go hand-in-hand. She said, “My sister is taking me to Newbury Street in Boston. There, I’m going to get a new look from a fabulous hair stylist. I’m so excited!”
Juanita pointed out that what many grandmas want is simply to stay in touch with the people they care about. Anything that you can do to help us feel connected will be appreciated. She said, “I have told my friends that, if they really want to buy me something, they should consider cell phone minutes. I have a pay-as-you-go phone, so I don’t use my phone that much. It’s great to stay in touch!”
Also, another way to help Grandma to stay connected is to offer her a tablet that she can use to video chat with family members.
Playing with the grandkids is hard work, so Margaret recommends giving grandma something that helps her to improve her balance and fitness. For example, a gentle yoga for seniors DVD can help her to reconnect with her body from the comfort of her home.
As she says, “Getting the most from life after 60 requires balance and energy. I used to struggle to get down on the floor to play with my grandkids… now, I’m chasing them around the yard. If you’re looking for a gift for grandma, why not make it one that will help her to live long enough to see her great grandkids?”
Jennifer voiced the thoughts of many women in the community when she said that she just wants to make the world a better place. For people like Jennifer, giving to charity is often better than looking for a physical gift.
She said, “I don’t need anything. In fact, at this stage, I’m not really into collecting ‘stuff’ anymore. That said, I love it when my family makes a donation to a charity or organization that I am passionate about.”
Websites like GlobalGiving let you choose causes and international organizations to easily donate to.
Stay in Touch
Marlene points out that, when it comes to the best gifts for grandma, sometimes it really is just the thought that counts. She said, “For me, a sincere card or a phone call is all that is necessary.”
Gift of Time
Krystyna reminds us that, at the end of the day, the only things that are really important in life are our friends and family. She said, “The only gift that I want is time to spend with my friends, family and kids. I love to be invited for dinner, lunch, shows, long walks, movies and picnics. It is even better when they all come together – just to celebrate, enjoy life and create memories.”
Gloria, like many women in our community, thinks that the best gifts for grandma are those that let us have some flexibility on the final choice of gift. She says, “I love gift certificates to bookstores, craft stores and restaurants. This means that I can indulge in whatever strikes my current fancy. I don’t want clothes, shoes or purses – I’d prefer to pick these out myself!”
Several other women in the community, including Toni, said that gift cards are a great gift. They show that you care, but also give your grandma flexibility in terms of how to use them. She said, “I like getting gift cards that I can buy whatever I want… anything with turtles.”
When you buy grandma a Visa or MasterCard gift card, you open up a world of possibilities. She can use the card to cover everyday expenses like food, gas or clothing. Or she can spring for something special for herself.
One of my favorite experience gift sites is Virgin Experience. They offer experiences ranging from race car driving lessons and skydiving to spa packages and scenic cruises. Check out their gift cards here.
Ellen points out that many grandmas just need to give their bodies a little love and care. She says, “I like shower gels or lotions in my favorite scents or lavender or lemon verbena. A gift certificate to a personal trainer would also be great!”
As Joyce points out, sometimes practical gifts are best. As much as we don’t like to admit it, many of us grandmas are struggling financially and, while there is nothing wrong with scented bath oils, a grocery card or gas card might be more useful.
She said, “I’m on a limited income, so a gift card to the grocery store is of value. I’m not fond of the gas cards because they are usually for the big brands… These are more expensive. It is usually better to buy Visa or Mastercard ones because they can be used at cheap gas stations.”
I’d love to get your feedback on this. Can you help us to create a shopping guide for gifts for grandmas?
What are the best gifts for grandma in your opinion? As a grandma, what kinds of presents do you like the most? Do you like something hand-made that shows how much your family and friends care? Or, do you prefer to receive something focused on one of your passions? Do you like to receive presents that you can enjoy by yourself, like a small indulgence or trip to the spa? Or, is a home-cooked meal with the family more to your taste? Please join the conversation.