A Celebration Hack For Grandparents



Gifting has become a bit of a personal dilemma since becoming a mom. I realize that people love to give gifts to the kids they care about and that my child receiving gifts is not about me. However, as Mom and manager of the toy rotation, I have opinions about which toys stay and which ones do not. Plus, I only keep so many toys out at a time to increase focused play and reading and (try to) reduce the household chaos.


We visited my in-laws at the beginning of October. While visiting, my mother-in-law excitedly told my daughter she had something for her and stepped out of the room to get the gift.

When my mother-in-law returned, she presented my daughter with a fall-themed board book about visiting a pumpkin patch. Adorably illustrated with bright colors, pops of glitter, and dimensional pages, my daughter was delighted…and so was I.

Okay, yes, I realize my child’s gifts are not about me…but, in a way, aren’t they? After all, I do manage the toy rotation.

Gifts are nice, but gifts are not my primary love language.

Quality time is my love language. I am deeply appreciative of quality time and, peripherally, of gifts with practical applications.

Gifting a book is like gifting an invitation for reading together. It presents the opportunity for quality time, not to mention immense developmental benefits from a shared read-aloud.

So, a seasonal book? Yes, thank you!


As my daughter began exploring the pages, my mother-in-law mentioned to me how she had thought about choosing a seasonal card but decided a book was even better.

Knowing how much my daughter loves books, my mother-in-law said she thought my daughter would be able to enjoy a book for longer.

Yes. A thousand times, yes!


As my mother-in-law mentioned the choice of a board book instead of a card, I noticed the price printed near the barcode on the back of the book.

Having just stocked up on a variety of quality cards, I am aware of the price-tag on a quality card.

Guess what?

A simple board book costs the same as a quality card.


Whether you are parenting, grandparenting, godparenting, or generally caring for littles (in-person or at a distance), my recommendation is this: be like my mother-in-law.

Skip the card.

Skip it for birthdays, holidays, seasonal changes, and most life events.

Be bold and skip the card for all occasions.

Gift them books instead.

Growing up, my parents gifted books. Each year of our childhoods, my brother and I each received a picture book that we could unwrap on Christmas Eve. Now, as adults, my brother and I each have a personal collection of Christmas themed books with a hand-written note from our parents inside the front cover of each book.

Get creative about getting books into the hands and hearts of the kids you love. Maybe, if it becomes part of a seasonal celebration or a meaningful family tradition, kids will come to joyfully anticipate the gift of reading! For other meaningful gifts, give the gift of an experience.

POSTSCRIPT: The Importance of Reading

If you haven’t read The Enchanted Hour: The Miraculous Power of Reading Aloud in the Age of Distraction by Meghan Cox Gurdon, I recommend it. Talk about a clear expression of the importance of reading, reading aloud, a child’s development, and the impact of literacy on the entire spectrum of human development – it is all there. Read it or listen to an audio recording. It is worth your time.

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Laura G
Laura Ginikos has called Columbus home since 2015 and works full-time as the director of youth and young adult ministries for a church in Dublin, OH. Laura met her husband in a freshman English class at the University of Dayton. After graduating from the University of Dayton with a degree in early childhood education, Laura headed to Michigan for a brief stint to earn her master’s degree in Family Life Education. Columbus is central to both Laura and her husband’s extended families and felt like a natural place for them to call home. Married in 2017, Laura and her husband welcomed their daughter into the world in the summer of 2019. Their hearts and laundry baskets have never been so full. Lately, Laura is more likely to be found on walks rather than out running, but she has always loved running and is slowly getting back into it. Laura enjoys a good conversation, Panera Bread’s hazelnut coffee, puzzles and board games, a good novel, and all things autumn.