The thing about being unconditionally loved is that it's easy to get complacent. Sure, the balding, myopic cardigan-clad ancestor you visit once a month might dote on your every move, but that doesn't mean they're going to dote on that photo frame you're thinking of buying them. After all, you did get them a photo frame last year, and the year before that, and one for their birthday two years ago. Then there was the sock-giving phase, which lasted about four years...
You see, you're not buying for any old grandparent. You're buying for yours. Who just so happens to be a unique individual with all the accompanying opinions and tastes. So here's my advice, before you lay out your plastic for that 'my favourite grandma' fridge magnet: STOP. Put it down. Walk away. And this year, buy something they'll really like.
Here are some ideas:
1. Movie tickets, preferably to something a bit different like a drive-in cinema or Nova. If you really want to lift your game – go with them! Shout the popcorn and the choc tops and relax into the spacious cinema seats, comfortable in the knowledge you'll have something to talk about afterwards.
2. An intellectually challenging board game that the whole family can join in on. My current favourite is Bananagrams – no one can resist it!
3. Consider a subscription to a magazine that promotes their hobbies. Whether it be gardening, boating or car racing there's sure to be a magazine that caters to anyone's interest.
4. A dinner party. This one will score you major points on the thoughtfulness factor, while giving you a chance to enjoy yourself too! It doesn't have to be huge, just gather your close family and their closest friends together and spoil them with a family-favourite meal.
Vouchers don't have to be impersonal if you add a bit of thought
5. A bookstore voucher. Vouchers tend to feel a little impersonal, so try wrapping it up with the store's latest catalogue and a hand-written note. You could even visit the nearest coffee shop – some bookstores have one inside the store – and grab a $5 voucher and free coffee card. That way you're not just giving them the opportunity to buy a book, it's a whole experience!
6. Finally, if you're completely out of ideas, it's okay to ask. Tell them you want to do something special for them and you won't take 'no' for an answer! Sometimes there's no knowing what someone would love to be given unless they tell you, and spoiling the surprise is worth getting them something they'll really love.