I LOVE the holidays! But the last few years, I’ve struggled to find unique gifts for the children (pre-teens, teens and adult children) in my life. What unique gift do you get for the child who has everything?
They already have an iPhone, ipad, latest video game and ear buds. They don’t really need more clothes. So how do you find a unique gift? I usually go the safe route and get gift cards from Amazon, Target or a clothing store. This year, I want to give something more thoughtful, meaningful and hopefully memorable.
As I’m on my journey to get retirement ready, I’ve been reevaluating how and where I spend my money. So, here are a few unique gift ideas to check out:
- Start a college fund. It’s never too early or too late. You can open a 529 plan for a family member and just about every state offers one (google 529 plan for your state). According to T. Rowe Price, “You contribute to an account that you control on behalf of a specific beneficiary. You can withdraw the money tax-free anytime—as long as it’s used to pay for qualified educational expenses at any eligible private or public college, university, graduate school, or vocational school anywhere in the U.S.”
The greatest gift you can give is a future full of possibilities. Give the child you love a head start on college!Vanguard
The Gift of Time
- Give the gift of a joint experience. Wrap up the tickets and put them under the tree. Take your niece, nephew or grandchild to:
- a play, it doesn’t have to be Broadway. Look at local theaters.
- a sporting event
- a concert
- the museum, history museum, art museum or the children’s museum
- the aquarium. At Chicago’s Shedd Aquarium, you can participate in Asleep with the Fishes overnight including crafts, science activities and a scavenger hunt.
- the zoo
- a rodeo
- the ballet. The Nutcracker is always popular at Christmas and it’s so much fun to get dressed up and go to the ballet.
- miniature golf
- a magic show
- amusement park (local or a major park like Disney or Legoland)
- Take a class together. It’s a great gift, to learn a new skill, along with the gift of your time. Some class suggestions are:
- Make up
- Karate or Tai Chi
- Sewing or Knitting
- Violin or another musical instrument
- Foreign language
- Plan an outdoor adventure together to a National Park or local park. Did you know there are 61 National Parks in the US? Wrap up a park map and put it under the tree. A couple of years ago, I took my children to the Grand Canyon. It was an awe inspiring adventure for all of us. My only regret is that we didn’t stay the night or camp at the park. Explore a National Park in your area and check out their Park Ranger Programs.
- Spend time together getting ready for the Holidays. Pick an activity that you both enjoy.
- Bake Christmas Cookies
- Put together a jigsaw puzzle
- Watch Christmas movies together
- Sing Christmas songs
- Visit a Christmas tree farm and cut down your own tree
- Go ice skating, tubing or sledding
- Help them shop for or make a gift for their parents. I’m helping my nieces make a calendar with family pictures for their parents. Shhhh… don’t tell their parents!
- Attend a holiday parade
- Make a Gingerbread house
- Drive around and see the Holiday decorations and make hot chocolate.
- Grandparent Camps or University – Oh my goodness, this looks like so much fun! Some universities hold 2 to 3 day camps for grandparents and grandchildren to stay overnight, attend interesting and fun classes (animal science, engineering, film making, mythology, and agriculture to name a few!), eat in the dining hall, take field trips and participate in evening programs. And of course explore the campus. Check out Michigan State University’s Grandparents University!
Gifts of Skills and Experiences
- Driving Lessons or Driving School. My parents gave their grandchildren a Master Drive class for their combined Christmas/ 16th birthdays. It’s a unique gift that they still talk about. They learned braking and handling, skid control, driving on slick roads, accident avoidance all from someone who was “not the parent”.
- Activities – Look for something that your niece, nephew or grandchild needs or wants, that you can help make a reality. Lessons and camps can get really expensive not to mention the equipment, uniforms and fees. Activities could include:
Look for ways to choose a memorable, unique gift for your niece, nephew or grandchild. Children need their extended family. According to Crosswalks.com, “Spending time together is one of the best gifts you can give your grandchildren. Kids enjoy taking a break from their parents and going places with you.”
What unique gift are you or have you given the child in your life?