As we approach of the end of the year we start thinking more and more about holiday giving. Miracle on 34th Street and White Christmas are once again played on our big screens, bringing warm feelings of togetherness. But that’s about our feelings. A big part of our holiday giving at this stage of our life is for our adult children, who are all launched. (thankfully!) We love to add some creativity to our giving, but also practicality. What will they truly use and enjoy? Also, what is a reasonable budget?
We have never been of the mindset that we will go into debt for our giving whims, though we love to give. We have definitely experienced some lean years where most of our kid’s gifts growing up came from grandparents as we were scraping by. With a little more flexibility at this stage of our life, we still think carefully though this process because we have seen how many special gifts end up buried in dresser drawers, in estate sales and donation piles.
The first question we ask ourselves for each of our adult children is What is their love language? Gary Chapman’s timeless book The Five Love Languages is a worthwhile read on this. (Get free synopsis download) It is worth taking the time to identify each child’s love language, no matter what age. This also applies to colleagues and friends and you may find it helpful in your giving, even throughout the year.
How Do You Celebrate Holiday Giving?
Not everyone celebrates the same holidays in the same way around December 25. There are different cultures and traditions and also different budgets, with many facing tighter budgets in our fluctuating economy. I will focus on Christmas since our family celebrates that holiday, but you can apply the questions for whatever holiday you celebrate, whether Hanukkah, Kwanzaa or others that entails holiday giving.
What does Christmas mean in your family? Is it more about a religious celebration, a time to get family together or a time centered more on giving gifts? We still like to give to our adult children, even though there’s a little more focus now on the grandchildren. However, the gifts are different at this stage, and ones we did not even consider while they were growing up.
What Gift will Add Joy and Ease?
A couple more questions we ask are What could add joy to their life and what could make their life easier? For both of these questions, we consider their individual love language. This at least helps with our decision.
We also like to consider what communicates we’ve been at their stage of life? Put yourself in their shoes, or at least remember your life at their stage. This may add a whole new dimension to your holiday giving, possibly even adding a bit of empathy. Empathy is not one of the qualities that oozes from my personality, but it is a very valuable attribute to call upon to communicate care and love. That communication of empathy with a thoughtful gift that may not cost much, could possibly mean even more than any more expensive item.
Physical Gift Ideas
I am including a list here of some ideas that may spark your imagination. Holiday giving does not need to cost a fortune. Some of the ideas have varying expense and some can merely spark other ideas for you. We like to give gifts that our kids would not normally buy for themselves. As a disclosure for some ideas expressed here for collectables or investment ideas, this is not investment advice as you should do your own research. Links are given for reference only.
Silver Collectables: This can range from a silver coin, even a silver dollar, to a silver bar. It’s not only a beautiful gift but there are many that feel silver will grow in value. It’s at least fun to think about that possibility. (Around $23 for a silver dollar and up to many thousands for silver bars)
Flash Drive with Crypto Currency: Cyber coins are divisible by either a million or ten million so you could give a very small or larger amount. To do this, you’d need to open up a wallet (Greg’s favorites are Exodus and Meta Mask) and transfer any amount. You’d transfer that wallet information on to a flash drive. There are many YouTube videos about this, so do your research. You can probably find a young student already aware of how to do this, but please keep all passwords private! See our article on Basics of Crypto Currency.
Airline Tickets to a Destination: There are many specials available at different times of the year and this could be a fun gift for a young couple who would normally not spend the extra funds or time to travel. Though you should always study the re-booking or refundable limitations, especially with rising cancellations.
Craft Beer Festival: This is a fun one for beer lovers. There has been a trend of crafting beer among some millennials, but you don’t have to craft beer to enjoy the festivities. Greg and I attended a crafting beer night in Germany and it was great fun, though I’m not a beer lover.
Game or Event Tickets: This is a fun one to do, but it may ruin a surprise by checking their schedule first, which I highly suggest. We had gotten some great concert tickets for one of our sons and we had not checked his softball national tournament schedule first. He had to give those great tickets to a friend. Note: Do your homework to shop prices!
Homeschool Membership or Conference: Homeschooling is becoming more popular with some of the state-by-state vaccination and mask requirements for students. See Goodschooling and Great Homeschool Conventions for additional ideas. Extra tutoring or video courses for schooling is also a great gift for adult children who are parents and it takes the pressure off teaching more difficult subjects!
Card with Handwritten Message: This can be very simple and short, yet sincere. I made the mistake of writing a missive for a couple years and it was not as well-received! We have started doing this again with a simple card with a simple message. The longer letters would have been better for those with the love language of words of affirmation.
Consumable Gifts: I am all for consumables, especially for those adult children who are local and launched as they can drive back to their homes. There are many Fruit of the Month subscriptions, with varying numbers of months for different budgets. You can also make up your own basket, catering it to their tastes and your budget, which I highly suggest. I love Hobby Lobby for baskets.
Books: If you've not gotten a copy of The Summit yet, check it out! A great gift book for all ages! We have other books including Women at Halftime and others. Also plenty of sheet music and albums for downloads. Books for grandkids are great gifts for their parents as well! There are so many to choose from--all you need to do is puruse your favorite book site!
Some other ideas, depending on your budget can be providing dinner and babysitting, Netflix annual coverage, horseback riding, zoo tickets, a trip to a dude ranch (more pricey), dinner out with gift card, or a flight simulator at a local airport, sometimes advertised as flying lessons, and even golf lessons.
We found the best gifts to give our parents in their later years was time out together. We bought four tickets to a show at a local dinner theatre and it created some wonderful memories for both them and us. That gave us the idea of providing that same gift for our adult children for a Christmas show they enjoyed. We hope to do this again in the future. FREE Download: Christmas Devotional
What Not to Give
I can’t tell you how much travel size body wash, toothpaste, toothbrushes and floss was stuffed in a drawer when one of our sons moved out. We thought those were such great ideas to put in their stocking, even as adults. This has prompted us to be much more creative, especially in finding out what brands they currently use of different products.
We still provide stockings, as they seem to love them. But now we purchase larger sizes that fill up the stockings! One year, two of our sons got together and filled our stockings with a few fun items, adding large pieces of fruit to help fill them up.
Some families have made it a practice of giving to a local charity, or donating to a worthy cause on behalf of their adult children. This is a wonderful idea as even when budgets are tight, we still have so much plenty in this country. May you find joy in your holiday giving and create as many positive memories with adult children as possible.
One of the best gifts to give and receive is time together.
Thought Leader, Keynote Speaker, Author
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