Pass it down now
You may already have gifts to give. Has your granddaughter admired one of your brooches? Perhaps your son needs some hedge clippers and you don’t have hedges anymore. If it’s just taking up space in your garage, jewelry box or closet, put a bow on it and put it under the tree for someone else this year. It’ll mean more than anything you can buy.
Pie or cookie of the month club
Whatever your specialty is, offer it to your kids, grandkids in college or friends every month for an entire year. Of course, you’ll need to tie the gift certificate around the first month’s yummy selection.
20 things I love about you
Type a list of the things you loved about your kids when they really were kids (“You flirted shamelessly with all the girls from your stroller”) all the way up to what you love about them now (“You always open doors for me”). Print the list on pretty paper and frame it for them.
Like a thief in the night
Sneak into your son or daughter’s house and polish all of their shoes, iron their clothes or wash their windows. Leave a card wishing them “Happy Holidays from Your Secret Santa.” Of course, this gift, you’ll have to give pre-holiday.
Give your kids a free pass to disappear for the weekend while you babysit the grandkids, take care of the animals and water their plants. If they check in more than once, threaten to stop answering their calls and texts so they can truly get away from it all!
Share your wisdom
You’ve been around the block a few more times than your kids or grandkids. Share the insight you’ve gained over the years through a series of heartfelt letters that they can open if and when the time is right. For example, “Read this if your girlfriend breaks up with you” or “Read this if you lose your job.” This advice will be better received than a lecture any day of the week.
Trip down memory lane
Scan those old black and white snapshots you have tucked away—the camping trips, birthday parties and pony rides—and make a digital photo album to bring back good memories for your kids and give your grandkids a peek at their parents when they were their age or even younger.
A box of treasures
Recently I stumbled upon a few of my Granny’s handwritten recipes. Those were true gifts! Don’t leave this inheritance up to chance. Write down all your specialties (particularly those dishes you made when your kids were growing up) and gift this heirloom to your kids or grandkids now. Tip: Writing them by hand will be so much more special to them down the road.
Share your ideas on how to give gifts without cost