Thursday, October 25, 2012

Christmas: 8 Lessons for Beginning Grandparents

Faroese christmas seals 2005 - santa claus

Do you remember your first Christmas with your new baby all those years ago? I do. I was very young and it was important to me that we spend that Christmas with my parents. I was not thinking of my child at that time or even how much my parents loved being with us to watch their grandchildren. I did not know how important it was to them.

But I am on the other end of the grandparenting. In fact I have been a grandmother for 20 years now. I have no idea if my husband and I are good in this role but we certainly have a lot of experience.  I thought I would share some lessons reflecting what we have learned and maybe you can find something that will help you.

  1. Tradition is very important. My husband always teased his grandchildren with the "piece of coal" in their stockings story. Then we taught them that even a rock can be a treasured gift. When I vist them in their home, I find the rocks somewhere in their room or toys. I don't know why but them love them. Everyone can give a rock...the gift doesn't have to be big
  2. My husband and I are not responsible for Santa Claus or big gifts. We can't be! In fact, we did not assume that role even in the beginning. I always thought it would be intrusive for us to take that fun away from my children. We are not the center of the grandchildren's world.
  3. We don't compete with the other grandparents. In fact we only rejoice for what the other grandparents can give and do our own thing.  We have a good relationship with the other grandparents. We respect, love and appreciate the other grandparents.
  4. Children love little gifts of money...but I have learned to be careful about what we can give. Sometimes a little money is more fun that a lot. Ten dollar bills is a lot of money when you hold it in your hand. Remember, the dollar store is one of the best destinations for a little person. Money should not be made into a big thing.
  5. We PARTICIPATE in the big gifts for grandchildren. This helps their parents too. Many times there is a need to be filled that can be turned into a gift. We love to contribute to those things. We can help the parents feel good about what they can do.
  6. It is fun to give a gift that teaches a lesson. Gift cards for Amazon, etc are a good value.  One of my grandsons has hoarded his, figured out that he gets free shipping if he has several item and still talks about the card.That one was a real winner. I sent it to his email account at the last minute. We can be teachers without making a big fuss.
  7. I have learned that Grandchildren may not say thank you, at least not right away and then not in writing. We learned to be patient.  
  8. Finally, Christmas should be fun...that is the beautiful thing about it. Grandchildren want you to join in and have fun too. Embrace the quirkiness of your family tradition, enjoy the time and be sure to give a little prayer of thanks. Even the simplest of traditions are what binds a family together.
Have a great day!



  1. Love and agree! Especially #1 and #7.

  2. Susan

    Thank you for the comment. I don't know if #7 was the best lesson but I do know it was the hardest!

    We have always loved the outcome for #1...the parents thought we were nuts but it turns out we were right on the mark. The children understood and that was what was important.



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