The Best Acknowledgments From Grandchildren When Grandparents Give Them Gifts and 2021 Ideas For Charitable Giving By Grandchildren

Eight years ago, January 27, 2013, I wrote a blog post about thank you notes from grandchildren which was then a topic on the Today Show and on line, “ Should Grandchildren be Forced to Write Grandma a Thank You Note.”

I know because the issue is the subject of an inquiry on an ASK AMY advice column again December 13, 2021, timely with prime holiday gift giving month. When I saw the column, I knew I addressed this issue before, but now the inquiry was about acknowledgment from grandchildren rather than written thank you notes. I wish I had thought of that eight years ago. Acknowledgments provide a broader variety of responses from grandchildren than requiring something written on a note, stamped and addressed, and delivered by snail mail.

Unfortunately, once again I disagree with Amy Dickinson’s response, because the response did not provide more options to the grandmother author of the inquiry. Here is the inquiry and Amy Dickinson’s response published in the South Florida Sun Sentinel, December 13, 2021:

Dear Amy: Like so many others, I have fretted over not receiving any acknowledgment from grandchildren when giving their gifts.”

This year I have decided to send a nice card, telling them how blessed I am to have them in our very special family and that their gift is a donation — in their name — to a local charity (and then name the charity).”

This has been a “win-win” for me. I am no longer so disappointed about no “thank you.””

The charity receives a nice donation, and the grandchild knows that they are loved and remembered.”

“— A Happy Granny”

Amy Dickinson’s response: “Dear Happy: Yes!””

FIRST, there is no excuse for “A Happy Granny” not receiving any acknowledgment of a gift sent to grandchildren. How would a grandparent ever know if the gift was received in this era of delivery delays and troubles!

However, electronic mediums have taken over and I think should be addressed as well.

I am now a grandmother eight years more experienced than I was in 2013, some of the grandchildren are older, and the world has advanced even more with electronic mediums of social media, videos, texting, Facetime, and video conferencing, etc. How many people do you know who use snail mail anymore? Snail mail seems the go-to choice of “A Happy Granny,” and that is her first correctable problem. Is she capable of and making herself available to receive modern communication from her grandchildren? Parents of the grandchildren should help this grandma prepare to receive texts, short thank you videos, FaceTime and participate electronically with grandchildren.

Our older grandchildren are capable of using texting and FaceTime, creating a short video thank you showing us their wearing or using the gift, and that is their primary means of communication for grandparent gifts and saying thank you. They have told me not to send emails as they do not check their emails and they do not send emails—we are again quickly electronic dinosaurs. We do get a thank you for what we send them, sometimes immediately, sometimes delayed, depending on their school and extracurricular activity schedules. Sometimes they do not get home during the week until near bedtime, and still have homework to do. As a grandmother, I want to know about their lives and knowing about their lives and receiving an electronic thank you is a better thank you than a hand-written card. Does “A Happy Granny” realize cursive writing is no longer taught in school?

It is not the younger grandchildren that are at fault for failing to acknowledge gifts from grandparents. It is their parents, the children “A Happy Granny” raised. Younger grandchildren cannot text or do FaceTime or create a short thank you video holding or wearing or using grandparents’ gift. They need their parents’ help to give an electronic thank you, as “A Happy Granny” would have assisted her children in writing thank you notes.

Acknowledging others who help you or send you gifts is a learned skill. If you reread the 2013 post, it includes many ideas on involving grandchildren in gift giving, a gift in and of itself for a grandparent. It is not too late for “A Happy Granny” to teach the grandchildren what would make her happy as an acknowledgment and maybe expand the alternatives of how the acknowledgment is given. Again, taking a less than one minute video thank you is something that is the responsibility of the parents of younger grandchildren.

SECOND, the idea of a donation in the name of a grandchild is a great idea for a gift, just not the only gift. It teaches the child the importance of helping others, an important lesson to help those less fortunate and care for others. Charitable giving should be taught every year with one of the holiday gifts being a gift to a charity of choice. In 2020, the grandchildren and I selected the specific animal to rescue together and did the following

Adopt a Rescued Orphan Baby Elephant, Rhino or Giraffe”

For $50 a year, you receive a painting of the animal, adoption papers and regular video updates of the rescued orphan baby elephant, rhino, or giraffe. Best of all there are photographs on the website so you can choose your baby and learn about it.”

For other great gift ideas, including gifting a star in the galaxy, see the 2020 post, “The Best of the Best 2020 Christmas and Chanukah Gifts for Everyone and Especially Grandchildren in This Far From the Best Year for Celebration”

In the 2013 post, this Grandma addressed preschoolers and charity, “Grandma Gets Ready for the Holidays 2013: Best Preschool Age Gifts for Christmas or Chanukah 2013

This Grandma gives donations on behalf of grandchildren to charities at holiday time. Preschoolers do not yet comprehend the meaning of charity, but it is never too early to teach children to think of other children less fortunate. Show them the UNICEF website. This Grandma gives to the Backpack Program in our local community that feeds hungry children. Find the Backpack Program in your community.”

This year I hope to take my older grandchildren to help pack backpacks so they can actually experience where Grandma’s donation in their honor goes.”

Backpack food programs offer families free groceries for weekends and school breaks. Food backpacks include healthy, easy-to-prepare food for kid-friendly meals. Feeding America member food banks partner with schools, Boys and Girls Clubs, and community centers to distribute backpacks to kids. To find a local Backpack Program in your community go to this link.

Together, in addition to a local children’s charity, electronically if far apart, consider choosing a cause on the UNICEF website with the grandchildren. Children can relate to helping children in need around the world. Do not wait just for holiday time.

Yes, “A Happy Granny” is happy with her choice of how to deal with lack of any acknowledgment from grandchildren when giving gifts. Would the grandmother not be happier with acknowledgments for the years to come? It is not difficult for grandparents to creatively resolve this problem for themselves and be happy ever more, not just in 2021.





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