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Holiday Season: Grandchildren’s Gifts that Last

By Deborah Jeanne Sergeant

Whether a holiday present or a birthday gift, you want to give your grandchildren something they will enjoy. Oftentimes, their enthusiasm for a popular toy fades quickly. Or that must-have garment is quickly outgrown or deemed out of style.

Try these tips for giving gifts that last:

1. A day trip.

A gift card to a venue such as The Strong National Museum of Play, Sonnenberg Gardens, Long Acre Farms, Geva Theatre will foster memories that will last a lifetime. Indicate in the card whether you will take them or if this is a gift for their family to enjoy. Some venues offer season passes. Or print out your own gift card for a day of fishing, skating, geocaching or other new activity you could enjoy together.

2. A new hobby.

Although character-driven toys may wax and wane in popularity, the tools they need for a new hobby may spark a lifelong interest, such as a telescope for astronomy, a sewing machine for clothing design or a musical instrument with lessons. First ensure that your grandchild is truly interested in this hobby and invest in mid-level gear with the basic accessories they will need to try it. If the equipment is too low-end, then the experience will be frustrating. There is no reason to buy top-of-the-line items in case your grandchild does not like the new hobby after all.

3. A subscription.

Whether a printed magazine or a digital one, children and teens still enjoy reading periodicals. Look for a niche periodical that aligns with their interests or a more general one, such as Highlights, National Geographic Kids or Cricket. Or consider a movie or music streaming subscription.

4. A pet.

Keeping a fish, cat or dog teaches children self-sacrifice and responsibility. You should only purchase a pet for a grandchild if you have cleared this choice with the grandchild’s parents. Chances are that surprising the parents with a pet for a grandchild will not go over well. It is also wise to present a gift certificate for the pet so the child can select the animal after the hubbub of the celebration has died down. Shelters overflow with pets after holidays because of impetuously given animals. Having the grandchild choosing the animal also helps ensure a better fit. Do not give rabbits or other exotic animals to young children or those inexperienced in pet care. Exotic pets require more specialized veterinary care and hard[1]to-find food. Mass retailers carry cat, dog and fish products, but seldom carry products for rabbits, guinea pigs and hamsters. These goods are available at pet stores or farm supply stores. You could tuck a gift certificate into a new pet bed or carrier along with a stuffed animal and pet accessories. Pet stores aren’t the only source of pets. Consider arranging an adoption through Lollypop Farm, the Humane Society of Greater Rochester. Many young, healthy pets are available to take home.