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Buying Gifts for Grandparents - Even if Name is Not Picked in Family Exchange

By Jodie Lynn


I realize that it's sort of early to be thinking about this, but every year my family picks names for Christmas gifts. Some of the relatives are very strict about sticking to the rule of buying for that person only. However, my children always buy a gift for their grandparents. This is their way of showing appreciation, respect and love. What should we say to those individuals who demand we stick to the rules? Are we wrong in buying them separate gifts?


Allow your children to continue to buy separate presents for their grandparents simply for the reasons you listed. If there are relatives who get upset, so be it. It is basically none of their business. - M. T. in Indianapolis, IN


From the sound of your letter, certain individuals within your extended family are adamant about keeping to the gift guidelines, probably for monetary reasons. However, letting your children buy gifts for their grandparents has most likely become a family tradition for your own immediate family, one to which your children probably look forward. Unless the people who are up in arms over this are particularly important to you and your immediate family, I do not see any reason to change your plans. On the other hand, if those individuals who are protesting your going against the gift exchange rules make your life nearly impossible in some significant way or another, and it causes a great deal of stress between you and other family members, there are a couple of ways to deal with the scenario. Maybe talk with them and suggest that everyone could make a homemade gift for the grandparents or perhaps that in addition to the normal rules, those grandparents are also given gifts from your children as a separate rule. There could also be a set amount for their gifts so that no one gets bent out of shape. If they do not want to participate in the revised rule, then at least you offered a couple of solutions and just go ahead and continue to do what makes the holidays happy for you and your immediate family.

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© Jodie Lynn
Jodie Lynn is an award-winning internationally syndicated family/health columnist and radio personality. Her syndicated column Parent to Parent has been successful for over 10 years and appears in newspapers, magazines, newsletters and throughout the Internet. She is a regular contributor to several sites including,,,,, and Lynn has written four books and contributed to three others, one of which was on Oprah and has appeared on NBC in a three month parenting segment. Her latest books are "Mom CEO (Chief Everything Officer) - Having, Doing and Surviving It All!" (June 2006) and "Syndication Secrets - What No One Will Tell You!" (March 2006).
Please visit for details on her new radio talk show, Inside Parenting Success.


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