Christmas gift ideas for grandparents

Portrait of family at Christmas

Grandparents are notoriously difficult to buy for. They have been through enough birthdays and Christmases to have anything they really need, and they have lived long enough to know exactly what they like - so you'd better not get it wrong.

Of course, as Mick Jagger showed recently, families are getting more complicated all the time, so while in the past grandparents could be identified as the nice old people who drank a lot of tea, wore slippers, and always liked to receive shortbread, now they are just as likely to be workaholic 40 somethings, multi-tasking 50-somethings, jet-setting 60-year-olds or active 70-year-olds.

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See also: Golden rules for regifting unwanted presents

So how can you tell what to buy them?

AOL has put together some gift ideas, with something for a whole range of different types of grandparents.

Gift ideas for grandparents
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Gift ideas for grandparents

Your grandparents may fall into the camp of those who have embraced ereaders and love them already. Alternatively, they may fall into the group of people who think there's nothing wrong with books.

If they fall into the latter camp, when you hand this over, remind them that they can scale up the font while they are reading, so they won't need reading glasses. Amazon is currently selling the Kindle Paperwhite (6” high resolution with back light and wifi) for £104.49.

This decorative tree comes with six frames, so grandparents can pick their favourite family members, and hang photos from the branches.

Alternatively, they can squeeze everyone on - or just the grandkids! It costs £24.00 from

It won't be the most beautiful gift you buy this year, but it might be the most practical. This big button phone is just £11.49 from Argos and is ideal for grandparents who are fed up with fiddling around with small buttons every time they want to make a call.
Janet Street Porter was apparently livid when she was given one of these as a ‘joke’ for her 70th birthday, but she’s missing a trick. If Alan 'Fluff' Freeman was happy to push one around London in his 70s, then we could all benefit from something pretty stylish that lightens the load. This one from John Lewis costs £55.
If they are a fan of the programme, then why not get your grandparents the game? They can follow the clues to find the celebrity's ancestors, and spark the traditional festive argument over a board game. This costs £20 from John Lewis.
You might have thought that the golf fan in your life had every bit of kit going, but do they have a washbag in the shape of a golf bag? At £15 from John Lewis, it's a fun addition to their ever-growing collection of golf-related memorabilia.

If you're lucky enough to have an awesome Nanny - and one who wears t-shirts - then buy her this, and let the world know how cool she is.

One Two Three T is selling them for £7.97 on Etsy (also available as Grandmother, Nana, Grandmother and Nona).

If your grandma deserves a bit of recognition for everything she does for her grandchildren, then this bag might be a good place to start.

Poppy and Petal Designs are selling it through Etsy for £12.45.

If you're buying for a green-fingered grandparent, then why not think beyond the usual bedding plants and get them a 'grow your own Prosecco' kit?

These are available for £38 through Not on the High Street, and promise to deliver a healthy grapevine (chosen for its ability to thrive in Britain and deliver grapes within a few years) - plus some personalised labels just in case they ever get to the winemaking stage.

If your grandparents are handy round the house, then you can celebrate their skills with a personalised mug.

You can add the name of the grandchild, plus whatever you call the grandparent in question, and they'll make a special mug for you. They are available through Not On The High Street for £16.


If you have a slightly more unusual grandparent, there are five questions to ask yourself - which will help you pick the right gift.

1. What do you want to say to your grandparents?
What you give will speak volumes, so do you want to say 'I want to make your life easier', 'I'd like to spend more time with you', or 'I know you really well'?

2. What aspect of their life do you want to focus on?
If you want to show how well you know them, you can buy something to help them do the things they love the most. If they need help, perhaps to see things better, carry things, or get around more easily: what kind of products will help them? If you want more time together, then why not buy an experience that you can do together?

3. Are you being lazy?
When buying things to help them enjoy what they already love, it's easy to fall into the trap of buying something familiar. Of course every golfer needs new balls - but not as their Christmas present every year. Likewise, just because your grandparents like to drink tea, it doesn't mean they want another teapot. Ask yourself whether you're buying something because they'll want it - or just because it's easy.

4. Will they appreciate it?
If you're trying to help, then it can backfire on you, so before you buy, think what their reaction will be. If something is already an issue between you, then even if the item is perfect, they may be too offended to actually take advantage of it.

5. Do they want it?
Finally, when you have decided what to buy, leave the purchase in your online trolley for at least an hour. When you come back to it, think 'Do they need this? Will they like it? And would they want it as a present from you?'

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