FOR GRANDPARENTS: meaningful gift books

globe moving boxesSometimes Tim and I dream about moving away. We would like to live somewhere where the grass is greener (literally). Maybe Portland, OR? Or Santa Cruz, CA? Or Kirkland, WA?

We talk about how fun it would be to reside a in a pedestrian-friendly place - a place where the water, the city, and the parks are all nearby.

BUT...we always come back to the same thing. It would be hard to say good-bye to our extended family. There's something nice about watching the relationships between grandparents and grandchildren blossom. I'm not sure I want to cut those ties - not now, not yet.


Whether your child's grandparents are near or far, I think these two gift books would be fun to put under the tree...

the grandmother_bookThe Grandmother Book: A Book About You for Your Grandchild by Andy and Susan Hilford (Andrews McMeel Publishing, 2008)

This is a fill-in-the-blank book where grandmothers share their lives with their grandchildren. Each colorful, glossy page features sentence starters and places for photos. Grandmothers are asked to fill out a simple family tree, to write about their childhood and their love story, to share their favorites, and more. It's a lovely keepsake book. In fact, as I'm flipping through it, I keep thinking that I might like to give a copy to MY grandma. I'd also be interested to read the answers of my mom and my mother-in-law. It looks like I'll need more than one copy (I just checked - it's on sale at Amazon right now for $12.91!).

The one "catch" with these books is that the recipient actually has to fill it out and write in the corresponding blanks! Fortunately, the book makes that task pretty easy with plenty of prompts, sentence starters, and bubbles to circle. You can see some sample pages on The Grandmother Book website.

the grandparents handbookThe Grandparents Handbook: Games, Activities, Tips, How-Tos, and All-Around Fun by Elizabeth LaBan (Quirk Books, 2009)

This sturdy, rectangular book features tips and ideas to help grandparents have fun with their grandkids. The book focuses in on babies, toddlers, preschoolers, and grade school children. It gives step-by-step instructions for swaddling a baby, making bath time fun, baking apple crumb pies, sewing a family quilt, and more. The ideas aren't incredibly original and I'm sure all of them can be found online, but it's a nice little pocketbook of ideas for the non-technological or the brand new grandparent who wants to have a few "tricks" up his/her sleeve. I think it might be a fun stocking stuffer...priced at $11.53 on Amazon.

YOUR TURN: Did you choose your current place of residence based on proximity to extended family? Do your children's grandparents live near or far from you?

WIN IT! There will be two winners. One winner will receive The Grandmother Book by Andy and Susan Hilford. A second winner will receive The Grandparents Handbook by Elizabeth LaBan. To enter, leave any topic-related comment on this post prior to Thursday, December 3rd at 11:59 p.m. (Don’t forget to follow the rules…all generic comments like “Enter me!,” “Love it,” and “Cool stuff!” will be disqualified.).

FOR A SECOND ENTRY: Blog or Tweet about my Christmas Gift Guide (or about this giveaway)…and leave a second comment telling me that you did.

I received review copies of both books.

*UPDATE* The winner of The Grandmother Book is #14 Elsie. The winner of The Grandparents Handbook is #5 Erica. Congratulations!

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42 comments on “FOR GRANDPARENTS: meaningful gift books”

  1. We live 6 to 8 hours away from any family. The location is based on my husband's job. When we lived close to family his commute was 1-2 hours each way. Now his commute is 15-30 minutes each way. He also worked a lot of over time. Now he works a typical 8 to 5 workweek. We moved just before having our first child. I am happy we see so much of him.

  2. I moved cross country for grad school and stayed. I wasn't thinking about children at the time. Now I wish we were closer so that my family could be part of my baby's everyday life, (and I know my parents feel the same!)

  3. Ever since I was eight I lived right next to my grandparents until my uncle built a house inbetween us. I loved living by family. We now live 5 minutes away from my parents. My husband has turned down a few promotions which would require us to move away. I love being able to spend time making memories with kids and their grandparents but once in awhile I would just love to stay home and enjoy a holiday all to our own

  4. We talk all of the time about moving closer to family. My family is in Kansas City - and we are not going there and Joe's family is in New Jersey. I would just like to move to Denver. A little bit closer to my family but also closer to a larger aiport and flying would be cheaper. Mikayla would like to see her grandparents more and having family close by is really important too.

  5. We are far from family - California and Australia. But there are still strong bonds. My 4 year old just takes it in stride - and her favorite person in the whole world is her 12 year old cousin in Australia.

  6. Both my husband and I lived here before we married, as did our families. So no hard choices for us, we just stayed in the same area and now are within 35 minutes from ALL of our family members, grandparents, aunts, uncles, and cousins. It is such an amazing blessing!

  7. We did chose where we lived based on family. We had lived way off in Kansas but decided to move and chose MN because my family is here. Now my in-laws who live in Nevada are thinking about joining us here as well. We might get to be blessed with having both sets of Grandparents close by.

  8. Ugh, we moved here for job purposes, definitely not family! My parents live seven hours away and my husband's parents are a four-hour plane ride away, so these are definitely not ideal circumstances for any of us! These books look fabulous!

  9. We live where we live mainly due to family being close, but it's also where the church is that we were a part of from the beginning, so that only sweetens the deal. :)
    Thanks for the chance!
    musesofmegret (at) gmail (dot) com

  10. Id love either- the grandparents handbook or the grandmotehers guide would be awesome for my mil who graciously comes to help us out!

  11. These would be the perfect Christmas gift for my parents as they became new Grandparents with my daughter 19 months ago, and now have another granddaughter, 1 month old (my sister's), and one more grandbaby due in June 2010 (my 2nd)!!! My mom loves doing fun activities with my daughter when she comes over once a week to babysit when I go to work. This book would be sooo appreciated by her and me. :)

  12. My hubby's mom has been making one for my oldest, this would have been quicker. AS for our residence, I married someone who grew up here, and all of his family lives here. It is hard to walk away from family. But I had been pushing for CO for quite sometime. I love being outdoor and winter sports, and riding horses. But I also really love Australia too.

  13. Love this idea! My grandma made one of these for me, and I treasure it even more now that she has passed away. Reminds me to get one from my other grandma!

  14. We actually moved to the same city as my parents before we had kids. We also have dreamt of moving to Australia or even a different state but won't because our daughter is so close to her Mimi and Pop Pop. They truly love her and spoil her. I don't think we could raise her without their love, help, and guidance.

  15. We are 4 hours away from my family and 10 min away from my Husband's dad. I think this would be great for my mom because the times they do share should be captured more and it's a chance for her to pass along bits about her life that they don't get to discover. I wish we were closer to family but because of my job that isn't in the cards..

  16. I really love the concept of this. I know that my mother probably wouldn't sit down and fill it out but my husband's mother would love to pass down some of her memories and knowledge to her grandchildren :)

  17. We picked where we live my random luck. We actually wanted to start our new lives together away from family and now we are sort of settled here. My family is 2 states away and my in-laws are a whole ocean and continent away. It makes it very difficult now that we have a child. I think we would like to live closer to family but no one wants to move!

  18. I can't imagine moving away from our extended family either. (Well, sometimes I can, but I know I never would.) We live within 15 minutes of every one and I love it! We are at my parents once or twice a week.

  19. LOL. We are the grandparents. We moved after our son-in-law was transfered. Our grandparents were an important part of our lives, so we want our grandchildren to know us as they grow up.

    Where we live at there are a lot of grandfathers who pick up the kids after school or pre-school.

  20. Those look like good ones.
    I would have a really difficult time moving away. I love that Levi gets to have so much contact with his grandparents. It makes me so happy to see those relationships developing.

  21. Living close by, and within the same phone area code, before the computer and cell phone age, was
    so important, for everyone in both families! What a joy to have my son and his grandmother speak on the phone often!

    These books are treasures, the keepsake book is an heirloom to be woven with the wonders of grandchildren!

  22. We live close to most of our family (one parent chooses to live overseas). Our jobs have always been here, but we would consider moving. (St. Louis doesn't have the best weather.)

  23. I know my grandmother would love to fill this out for my daughter. She is all about keepsake books and keeping everything and all memories safe! I love that about her. Great Idea Stephanie!

  24. We live in the same town we both grew up in. It was initially neither of our intentions to stay here in the same town, yet here we are 6 years later and still in the same town. Like you though, it isn't bad because our kids do have their grandparents near by which is super nice for them and us too.

  25. I love the idea of the first book. My grandma passed away rather quickly and unexpectedly almost 2 years ago and I would have loved to have something like that filled in by her. I would love to give my mom and MIL one for my kids to have!

  26. We are all within a 20 minute drive from each other!
    My in-laws moved here from Virginia when my father-
    in-law retired from the Air Force because we had their first grandchild! I grew up only 10 minutes from here and after we were married, my husband and I bought an old home to redo. My sister and her family live two blocks from our 91 year old dad.
    I love it.....Happy Thanksgiving!

  27. I've never moved. All my family is in southern Arizona and it's wonderful. In addition, since getting married my husband's brother and parents have moved near by.
    I have to agree with you that a potential "glitch" in the grandparent book is that it requires them to do something. As a young adult I gave grandmother books to three of my grandmas and asked them to give them back to me as Christmas gifts the following year. I did not receive one...and still haven't. Unfortunately, two of them are gone now.
    And my sister had a similar experience with my mom recently resulting in my mom expressing all sorts of insecurities and that she "just couldn't do it."
    I doubt it would be easy, but I hope that I would be a mom or a grandma who could and would compile a book of memories for my kids. Based on my scrapbooking experience it's not looking good, but I keep a journal and a calendar for the boys.
    Gotta go get ready for Thanksgiving!!

  28. I gave my grandmother a book like this several years ago. I would love to have my mom fill out a book for her grandkids (my kids) so they can learn all about her and her life. I think these are wonderful books and really help kids see what their grandparents lives were like.

  29. If I had any say in it, I would tell you to move to Santa Cruz! It is beautiful here, on the ocean, relatively mild winters and not nearly as much rain as the northwest and we could use more people like you :)

    These are great ideas for grandparents. As someone who didn't have my own grandparents involved in my life, that is something we are excited about for our own kids. Although we don't live close to any of our family we do our best to make it possible for our kids to know their grandparents by talking about them a lot and by phone, email, mail, and skype. My parents are in New Hampshire (and are coming to visit in a week and meet my son for the first time!) and my husband's parents are currently living in Uganda, Africa (who we will see in August).

  30. We moved away from the family. It's hard sometimes, but we still visit each other and use Skype to keep up. We're sitting in one set of grandparents' living room right now... Happy Thanksgiving!

  31. Right now we live less than a couple of miles from my husband's dad and stepmom (his mother passed away before we were married) and one of his sisters and her family. It is so nice to be close to family. But... we are considering moving so that we can get closer to my family and can start spending more time with them than we currently get. It's a hard decision to make.

    I love both of these books though! They sound neat. We gave something similar to the first one to my Grandma a couple of years ago.

  32. We are surrounded by my family where we are now, but for the first 7 years of our marriage we lived far away. It was nice to establish ourselves as our own little family before moving into the midst of the entire extended family. I love that my children are growing up with both my parents and grandparents... not to mention aunts, uncles, and cousins! I will have to purchase some of these books for the special ladies in our lives.

  33. We have lived in New York all our lives and now have a one year old grandchild. I could never imagine leaving my family but here we are, about to move to Massachusetts due to a job transfer. I recently saw a grandfather's book like the one you reviewed that my friend's father completed several years ago for her kids -- so precious! I would love to do something similar.

    In addition -- just as I was expecting to really get into the fun times of "grandmahood" we are leaving. I'm looking for great ideas that will make all the time we are able to spend with my grandson special. What a great idea for a book!

    It's funny how life changes so unexpectedly. I guess we just have to adapt and make the most of whatever times we have together!

  34. We deffinatley live in Tucson becuase my husband and I both grew up here and have family here, but we always dream about living somewhere else. I did really love growing up near my grandparents and family. Those were special times at Grandma's house. I wouldnt be the same without my grandparents in my life!

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