Grandchildren love toys and may long for the coolest new sneakers, but this year grandparents may want to buy them something more meaningful.
Because of COVID-19, this holiday season, like everything else in 2020, is different. So it might be the right time to give presents that aren't outgrown or that will become passé as the latest fad goes by the wayside.
Here are 10 items to give this year that come with a bit of sentimental value.
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Gifts for babies and toddlers
1. Personalized board book
Photo books are always a meaningful gift, but for the smaller set, indestructible, tactile books are a better pick. Designed just like their favorite board books, these custom photo books help introduce family members and special places in a way even the smallest kids can understand, and it'll remain something they can cherish forever. Check out Artifact Board Book ($40, artifactuprising.com) and I See My Family! Personalized Photo Board Book ($30, iseeme.com).
2. Speakers that allow you to record your voice
The sound of loved ones’ voices can be incredibly soothing to babies, and now they can listen even if you can't be in the room. There are speakers on the market, which also serve as white noise machines, that can record your voice with special messages, lullabies or even a full story. Check out Soundbub Portable Bluetooth Speaker and White Noise Machine (soundbub.com; $39.99), Star Recordable Plush (hallmark.com; $20) and Three Sheep Recordable White Noise Machine (amazon.com; $12)
3. A blanket you knit yourself
Some kids keep their baby blankets well into adulthood. What makes this one extra special? You can knit the blanket yourself, even if you haven't knitted anything before. There are a variety of kits with full instructions, so even a beginner can create a beautiful blanket sure to be cherished for years. Check out Seahorse Blanket Knitting Kit (weareknitters.com; $45) and DIY Minky Tag Blanket Kit (etsy.com; from about $20).
Gifts for older kids
4. Letter-writing kit
There's no better pen pal than a grandparent, and letters open the portal to sharing recipes, stories, favorite traditions and more. What thoughts you put on paper, your grandkids will cherish for decades to come. Check out Grandparent and Grandchild Letter Book Set (uncommongoods.com; $45) and Grandparent and Grandchild Pen Pal Kit (mrboddington.com; $32).
5. Charity gift cards
In a year when so many are struggling, why not give the gift of philanthropy? There are gift cards your grandchildren can use to pick a cause they want to donate to. They can support other kids at places like Make-a-Wish or Ronald McDonald House, give funds to art or theater organizations, or turn their passion for animals into advocacy. Check out Charity on Top (charityontop.org; $5+) and Tis Best (tisbest.org; $5+).
6. Online cooking classes
Experiences turn into memories, and even if we can't participate in in-person activities right now, there are plenty of other ways to connect. Why not gather together for an online cooking class? The business will send you the grocery list and the instructions you need. Meet online with one or all of your grandchildren for a delicious time cooking everything from lasagna to holiday cookies. Check Out Sur La Table (surlatable.com; $29+) and Pasta with the Grandmas (Airbnb.com/experiences; from $45 per person).
Gifts for all ages
7. Digital photo and video frames
Technology has come a long way with photo frames; they can capture special moments and even clips of movement. Your grandkids will love a digital snapshot of all of your great memories together. Check out Infinite Objects Video Print (infiniteobjects.com; starting at $70) and Atatat Digital Photo Frame (amazon.com; about $65).
8. Pocket-sized photo books
These small books make the perfect stocking stuffer or Hanukkah gift, holding dozens of photos. Grandkids can keep them in their nightstand drawer, throw them into their backpack or put them up on the fridge. Check out Tiny Books (socialprintstudio.com; 3 for $21) and Accordion Minis (mpix.com; $20).
9. Charm bracelet
This longtime popular accessory comes with a modern twist these days, with charms ranging from the classic Grandma's Girl to Harry Potter. With hundreds to choose from, you can pick the most meaningful charms for your grandkids and add a charm each holiday season for years to come. Check Out Alex and Ani Charm Bangles (alexandani.com; from $30) and Charm It Charms (shopcharm-it.com; starting at under $10).
10. Savings for the future
Whether you invest in stocks, put money into a 529 plan or simply start a savings account, a gift that will help in the future sometimes is the best kind of gift. Don't leave it as just a deposit, but, rather, help your grandchildren understand savings, and that lesson will pay off in dividends.