You won’t find these gifts at the mall, at any box store, or on Amazon.com, but you will find them within your family heirloom collection for years, perhaps generations to come. Initially, their gifting won’t empty your wallet or deplete your bank account, but they will become permanent fixtures in your grandchildren’s lives. Nor will you find these ideas and items quickly converted from treasures to trash, relegated to the obsolete, irrelevant junk pile within a few months after they’ve been unwrapped; instead, you will experience their continued presence within family traditions over time.
The essence of this type of gift giving resides in the putting forth of items and ideas from within oneself, one’s experiences, one’s values. As such, these gifts are almost limitless in the positive, even life-changing, effect they can have on the recipients, your grandchildren.
Grandpa Bill spent almost two decades of his young life out west, where he became an avid hunter and fisherman. Of course, he was caught up in the whole Western mystique, accumulating enough sports paraphernalia to spark any boys’ interest. In particular, Grandpa was proud of his collection of western belt buckles that he would parade out occasionally to admire their unique ruggedness. As he began to share with his grandson stories of his hunting and fishing expeditions, he wondered how Zach would react to receiving the buckles as a ‘special’ Christmas gift. The rest of the story is history. It was impossible to determine who received the greatest high – grandpa or Zach — as the grandson opened the package. In fact, the luminous expression on Zach’s face as he opened his treasures paled in comparison to hearing Zach say that, of all the gifts he received this year, “… the belt buckles were my favorite.” Oh, and let’s not forget the hour that Zach and grandpa spent together on the Web researching the colorful history behind each buckle. In fact, when Zach returned home, he announced that he planned to use some of his Christmas money to buy a small safe to house his newly received treasures.
Grandma Ethel has since retired and lives on a fixed income. She can hardly participate in or compete with the material hoopla that every holiday brings. But she does have an incredibly rich childhood past whose memories she wanted to bequeath to her one and only granddaughter Emily, for whom she provides after school daycare. On Christmas morning, amid all the traditional trappings of little girl gifts, Emily found within her stocking a ticket for a Mystery Tour Field Trip. Grandma had included a walk/ride map of historical sites that she and Emily would visit on their full-day excursion. Of course, it included a lunch stop at Emily’s favorite ice cream café! On the day of the field trip, Emily borrowed a family digital camera, snapping photos at each spot along the way. By the end of the day, she had gathered pictures of the former chicken farm homestead, the waterfall where …