Grandma holiday shopping

Every year since we have become grandparents, we have given holiday gifts that the parents requested and needed for the children’s care combined with what Oppenheimer toy awards on www.toyportfolio.com listed as platinum award toys, videos, and books. It is amazing how the children play more with the award toys than any other toys!  You can find all the Oppenheimer toy award toys at Learning Express (www.learningexpress.com).

This year we did something different. We all know about wedding registries. We decided our eight year old and five year old grandchildren were old enough to create their own holiday registries and pick what they wanted. Our eight year old had already created an amazon.com wish list for when we visited. I thought they could deal with the delayed gratification. Of course, they are spectacular and mature and were so excited to create their holiday wish list for the whole family to get them what they wanted.

We planned two days in New York City in October and their first experience overnight in a hotel overlooking Times Square.   We used award points for a free stay.  The kids spent so much time at the window watching the masses of people day and night.

We started at Barnes and Noble. Books are a priority of course. Pop Pop took pictures of the book covers and dictated the lists on his iPhone. We had so much fun.

We could not be in the greatest city in the world without going to a museum. We chose the Museum of Natural History and spent the morning looking at dinosaur bones, frogs, fish, mammals, and more. I found a cute diner called the Popover Cafe near the museum which catered to children and we had a fun lunch. The afternoon we walked the city to FAO Schwartz and our lists began. We looked at every aisle. Yes, the children asked to be able to take something home and we did allow one small item each. We ended our afternoon at the M & M store and they had so much fun picking out their favorite colors of M & Ms.

We did not make dinner reservations in advance and found that we could not get into Serendipity, our first choice, for any meal! Fortunately, we were on the concierge floor and that night chicken fingers, mozzarella sticks, veggies, and fruit were served. How lucky! After dinner, we braved the crowds in Times Square and made lists at Toys R Us. We did not know that Toys R Us and FAO Schwartz are owned by the same company but it became apparent when you go down every aisle.

The next morning we decided to go to Rockefeller Center and go to the Top of the Rock. We hit the Nintendo Store first and ended up spending the entire morning there. What a wonderful playground! Dozens of ds’s with all the newest games, many not yet for sale, so the children could preview what they wanted. Upstairs were WII games, again many not for sale yet. I think we could have stayed all day if we allowed the children all the time they wanted!

Our next stop was Legoland and it was lunchtime before we could get the children to leave. We had a fun lunch at Starlight Diner where the servers sing and entertain. The children were mesmerized. We had to go to Dlyan’s Candy Store to let the children experience floors of original candy choices. We limited them to five items each. It was so crowded we were concerned we would lose them. Boy, do kids move quickly picking candy. We walked from the east side to Central Park to give the children the experience of walking the city and how much faster it was than taking a taxi. Eating candy in Central Park and people watching is so New York. We went back to the hotel and the children prioritized their lists.

We explained that one holiday gift was to give to children less fortunate. Exploring the internet for charities relating to children, the children chose UNICEF and specifically what to give–they chose food for children who are starving.  We will donate on behalf of each grandchild. What is nice is that UNICEF sends a thank you card to each child so they can hold the symbol of holiday giving.

What a wonderful experience to share with grandchildren! And such a win win. We had an early list that we could shop sales and specials. The children were selective, which was a learning experience for us. They edited and carefully deliberated. Of course, as with any registry, you think all the items are yours when they are added to the list. We explained that they might not receive all the items for the holidays, but might get them for birthdays or gifts when we visit during the year. All the family, aunts and uncles, great grandparents, had lists of gifts at various prices to choose from that we knew the children really wanted.

Yes, I think this is the start of an annual tradition.

Joy,

Mema

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