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for grandparents & those who love them

Best Gift Ever? Perhaps.

Best gift ever? Perhaps.

By Joyce Gillis – WhatHappensAtGrandmas.com

It’s Christmas and here comes the most difficult question of the year for me, “What do you want Santa to bring you, Grandma? What do you and grandpa want to find in your stockings?” Bless their little hearts, of course, but I think I speak for many who live the grandparent lifestyle. We’ve got all the “stuff” we need. (Just check out our closets!) Most of us don’t need things from our families to be happy; we just want to do things with them!

giftHoliday memories made together are gifts we give ourselves and they are often considered the best gifts of those received by seasonally frenzied parents! A mid-December Crafty Christmas Cousins Workshop and Movie Night Sleepover at Grandma’s means moms and dads get a kid-free weekend to shop, wrap, and assemble in “no-peeking” peace. Who’s going to turn Santa away with that gift slung snugly over his shoulder? Certainly not the parents of my nine grandchildren! And, while Christmas may not be the holiday your family celebrates, a crafting sleepover might still be the perfect holiday gift. Feel free to get creative about using our ideas and making them fit the holiday you enjoy together.

Next time you see this reindeer, he’ll be a potholder to tuck inside mommy’s stocking

Topping the list of fun things to do at this annual event is making gifts for parents. We sip hot chocolate and chatter away. Simple paper projects are a favorite here. We load ornaments with buttons anchored by enough glue to choke a reindeer, then hand print that motif onto fabric squares that are magically transformed into potholders after a quick stay in “Mrs. Santa’s sewing room!” Last year we baked brownies for Daddy and added a handy notebook too, one groaning with perky, artistically applied stickers, while Mommy received a dozen cookies and a cute pompom Santa face necklace to wear on Christmas morning. We’ve made catnip toys for our kitties, and donated extras to a local cat rescue. And did I mention that we carefully wrap all of our own gifts, too?

A mid-December Crafty Christmas Cousins Workshop and Movie Night Sleepover at Grandma’s means moms and dads get a kid-free weekend to shop, wrap, and assemble in “no-peeking” peace.

Cookie bakers hard at work
Always test the cookies

Maybe you’re not someone who sews or crafts. No worries, you can still help your little ones create fabulous gifts. I knew I had an annual winner when I was repeatedly thanked for the cookie-baking event I sponsored way back when our grandkid count totaled only two. Baking is a mess, so savvy grandparents pre-bake sugar shapes and set up individual decorating stations, and then it’s easy and fun for everyone.

After a light dinner, little heads go down and don’t pop up again until Santa cookie jars (one per family – thank you, Grandma!) are filled to the brim. I should mention that this event is now an entire family affair. Initially, it included only moms and kids.

Daddies soon petitioned for invitations to the fun and now my kitchen bulges and bustles to the lilting sounds and heartwarming sights and smells of Christmas. Do I sweep and scour for days after the little elves are gone? You bet! But I do it with a smile on my face because those precious memories – the gift I give to myself – are the reason there will be more crafting and sipping and wrapping and sprinkling until this grandma simply can’t deal with the sticky green and red icing that coats every door knob in my house each year at this time! And, that might never happen!

Santa necklaces and ornaments for mom.


Artistically decorated notepads for dads.

 About the Author – Joyce Gillis

joyce-gillisGrandma and blogger, Joyce Gillis believes in making her home an irresistible magnet, a welcoming haven of comfort, safety, love, affirmation, spontaneous originality, and infectious joy for the entire extended family. Join Joyce in fostering creativity on whathappensatGrandmas.com.


Christine Crosby

About the author

Christine is the co-founder and editorial director for GRAND Magazine. She is the grandmother of five and great-grandmom (aka Grandmere) to one. She makes her home in St. Petersburg, Florida.

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