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Beacon Senior News

Gift outside the box: gift ideas for grandparenting long distance

Oct 31, 2017 11:52PM ● By C.J. Payton

Each Christmas, Patty Marquez gifts her grandkids handmade fleece blankets based on their current interests.

Today’s technology certainly makes it easier to keep in touch with your grandkids from a distance. With Facebook, Nani and Pawpaw can enjoy daily videos and photos of the next branch on the family tree. FaceTime and Skype provide real-time, face-to-face opportunities for Abuela and Papi to see and talk to their little sweeties every day.

But how do grandparents stay connected with their beloved grandchildren during the holidays when they can’t be with them? There are as many answers to that question as there are names for grandmother and grandfather.

Bedtime stories

Do Grams and Gramps enjoy bedtime rituals when within hugging distance—bedtime stories, giggles and goodnight kisses? There is an abundance of recordable storybooks available for purchase online. Record your voice reading the story as you turn the pages, then send the book off via snail mail. Your recorded voice is heard reading their bedtime story, even from miles away.

Titles such as “Under the Same Moon,” “My Wish for You,” “All the Ways I Love You” and “That’s What Grandmas Do” are available for purchase, along with several Christmas stories.

Be sure to give yourself ample time to order and receive the book, record the story, wrap it up and send it off before those sleigh bells ring. Colorado Babies, 560 Main St. in Grand Junction, is also planning to stock recordable books and stuffed animals for the upcoming holiday season.

Each Christmas, Patty Marquez gifts her grandkids handmade fleece blankets based on their current interests.

Consider mutual interests

After planting seeds and picking weeds with visiting grandchildren, Sheri Hickman wanted to encourage the relationship and cultivate a love of gardening. She sent her little horticulturists miniature flower pots, flower seeds, child-size garden trowels, watering cans and peat moss pellets.

“Keeping the package lightweight for shipping was a factor in sending these garden goodies,” Hickman said.

Are you a creative type of Oma, forever encouraging the little artists in your life? Gift them one of your creations, as well as paper, paints and various art supplies. Make it easy for parents by sending self-addressed, stamped manila envelopes so you can receive samples of the fledgling artist’s work throughout the year.

Peruse a variety of gifts for young learners at Fabula, 317 E. Main St., in Montrose. They have arts and crafts sets and science kits, plus educational books, games and puzzles for curious young minds.

Do you love to travel and learn about other cultures?

“We have a lot of toys and games that are European,” said Gail Kubik, who works at Fabula. “They’re not your run-of-the-mill gifts that you can find anywhere else.”

Maybe you share a love for hiking, fishing and camping with your young ones. Depending on the age of the kiddo, books about camping or local fishing spots, fishing supplies or a framed photo of your last trip together will keep those memories alive. Reinforcing their memories of your time together will keep them excited for their next outdoor adventure with Gram and Grandad.

Build a holiday tradition

Maybe you want to start a holiday tradition from afar.

Each Christmas, Patty Marquez gifts each of her grandkids a handmade fleece blanket based on their current interests. One year, a grandson playing his first year of baseball received a baseball-themed blanket. His cousin, crazy for mermaids, got a mermaid blanket.

“Every year, it’s a new, soft, warm and cozy blankie to wrap up in, like a big hug from Grandma Patty,” Marquez said.

Think local

Marquez works at Crafts & More Vendors Galore, 558 Main St. in Grand Junction, one of several local stores with great options for grandkids.

Ryan's Finishing Touch, 435 Main St. in Delta, is another great choice, stocking collectable stuffed animals and puzzles, as well as gifts for older grandchildren.

Stores with photo gift departments offer to print your favorite photo on everything from mugs to books, T-shirts to blankets, pillows, canvas prints and even musical snow globes. Remembering special moments is the key to growing that wonderful grandparent connection.

Anyone can give this holiday’s “must-have” gift, to be forgotten before Cupid’s arrow flies. Whatever your grandbabies call you, keeping connected is easy when you send gifts based on meaningful, special times shared with each other.