Christmas gift ideas for grandparents

Sarah Coles
Portrait of family at Christmas
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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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.

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?'