Grandchildren-Do They Really Need Another Toy?

Christmas is a thing of the past and Valentine’s Day is right around the corner.  Before you purchase your grandchild a teddy bear and a box of chocolates, take a moment to think about what you give your grandchildren on holidays and through-out the year. Recently I found myself wondering if my grandchildren really needed another toy. This is what happened….

The Toy Box is Full

My grandchildren are blessed with lots of family who love them and who love giving them gifts. Our oldest granddaughter is 9 years old and  has two sets of grandparents and two sets of great-grandparents. She also has step-grandparents and a whole host of aunts and uncles who adore her. This Christmas, besides clothes and other gifts, she got an i-pod and two i-pads.

Our daughter’s children also have two sets of grandparents and lots of aunts and uncles. The week after Christmas I went over for a visit and it looked like Toys-R-Us had set up a display in their living room. Seriously, there was hardly room to walk! My granddaughter is 2 and my grandson is 6 months old. At the rate they are going my daughter will have to build an extra room on the house just to hold all the toys.

My son’s two children are almost 2 and 3 and they also have more toys than they know what to do with. I dropped by the other day and I counted 3 baby dolls that were still in their boxes.

full toy box

Making Magic

I am NOT criticizing the way my children give my grandchildren gifts because they are doing exactly what I did, working hard to create a magical Christmas. I understand, I really do. It’s fun to watch their little faces light up with excitement when they get gifts, but I have come to the conclusion that my grandchildren really don’t need another toy, at least not from me.  Their parents are doing a wonderful job of making sure they have more than enough. So why do I keep giving them toys? Because I want to get in on the magic. I love the feedback of the hugs and smiles and especially the “Oh, wows!”

Children are only little once I am not going to turn into a scrooge, but I’ve decided it’s time to rethink what I give my grandchildren for holidays and their birthdays. Instead of searching for weeks for some special item they have to have, I’m going to leave that up to their parents and buy them something they need like clothes or a pair of shoes.

Another thing I am considering is instead of gifts, giving them each a day of their own. As they get older (and there are more of them!) it will be harder to spend time with each of them. One of my friends designates one day to each of her grands. They do some fun activity together and spend the day with each other, no one else allowed!

But most importantly, I’m going to start a college fund for each of them and on their birthdays and holidays instead of giving them another toy, I’ll donate some money towards their future. Unless I win the lottery it will be a small contribution, but hopefully over the years it will add up and help them and their parents out when they graduate from high school.

Other Ways to Give

When my parents were young the way to save for college was with savings bonds, but things have changed. When I started reading about the options I realized there were lots of different methods of contributing to my grandchild’s future. I also realize that all children are different and that all or none of my grandchildren may go to college or technical school, but I want to help them have that option and there is no better time to start than now, while they are all still young.

If your grandchildren’s toy box is full and overflowing and you want to start helping save for their future, here are a few great sites that give financial advice on how to do so.

Personal Finance and Saving for your Grandchild’s Future

Giving Money to Your Grandchildren-AARP

How Much Money Can a Grandparent Give Under IRS Rules?


grandparents and grandchild



  1. Christine Crosby 30 Jan, 2015

    Great blog, Teresa! This past Christmas instead of toys or other ‘stuff’, I made a $200 donation to The Sierra Club in the name of each of my four grandchildren. Each $50 donation provided a beautiful plush animal, a certificate of appreciation and written information about the particular animal that they choose to help protect. One g-kid picked the Red Fox, one choose the Snowey Owl, the third a turtle and the fourth the polar bear. We spent some quality time on the carpet in front of the Christmas tree where we all talked about the importance of helping to protect and preserve these animals in our world and how “their donation” helped. Each was hugging their plush animal as we chatted and all had smiles on their faces and were engaged in the conversation, so I think it was a success. Now, I need to figure out what I’ll do next year. Any ideas?

  2. Andrew Seniorly 30 Jan, 2015

    I’m a big fan of educational toys that have replayability. For me, Lego really encouraged my curiosity with engineering. LittleBits is also another great toy to teach children how to build their own apps and devices!


  3. Jeanne 31 Jan, 2015

    I like to give the grands ‘coupons’ for special things like a night at Nana and Papa’s(just one at a time so they feel extra special offers), a coupon for a pizza out or a movie, or anything that we can do together. These are the fun memories to make and the grands love to do things individually with us!

  4. teresak 1 Feb, 2015

    Great idea Jeanne! Thanks for sharing!

  5. teresak 1 Feb, 2015

    That is a wonderful idea, too! Thank you, friends, for giving such helpful advice.

  6. teresak 1 Feb, 2015

    That’s a great idea, Christine. I do this with some friends at Christmas. We pick a charity and donate to it in honor of each other.