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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.

A daytrip. A gift card to a venue such as Museum of Science and Technology (MOST), Rosamond Gifford Zoo, Fort Ontario, Billy Beez or Fort Rickey Discovery Zoo in Rome 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.

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.

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.

A pet. Keeping a cat or dog teaches children self-sacrifice and responsibility. You should only purchase a grandchild a pet if you have cleared this choice with the parents. Chances are that surprising a grandchild with a kitten or puppy will not go over well. It is also wise to give a gift certificate for the pet so the child can select the animal after the hubbub of the celebration has died down. Choosing the animal for himself also helps ensure a better fit oftentimes. 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-to-find food. Mass retailers carry cat, dog and fish food, but seldom carry food for rabbits, cavies, Guinea pigs and hamsters. You could tuck the certificate into a new pet bed or carrier along with a stuffed animal and pet accessories.