Black Friday and Cyber Monday have passed. Nearly all the world has been on sale during the past week. But I’m guessing that some of you still have people on your list that you can’t find the perfect gift for. Look no further.
If you are searching for a meaningful, inexpensive yet very rich present for your loved ones I’ve got you covered.
Every year I struggle for what to get my grandparents for Christmas. My limited Christmas budget never stretches as far as I would like it to and they have absolutely everything they could ever need or want. So most years I end up making my grandma a small Christmas trinket or getting my grandpa something Dallas Cowboys related – until last year.
That’s when I had a stroke of genius.
Instead of searching the bargain bins at Wal-Mart and scanning through the clearance section on Amazon, I started searching online for meaningful gift ideas. I ran across a blog that mentioned family dinners.
I love visiting my grandparents. They live an hour away so any time we make a trip there we like to stay for several hours. Usually that means we are there during a mealtime.
I hate making them feel obligated to feed us – even though my grandma makes the best Swedish meatballs and has delicious frozen corn from her garden. It’s a lot of work to add a family of six to the menu.
So for Christmas last year we printed out and gave my grandparents twelve family dinner coupon cards – one for each month. Each coupon could be redeemed for a home-cooked meal with our family.
We have spent the year preparing simple meals and taking them with us, along with paper plates and utensils, while we spent quality time with my grandparents.
The dinners have been mediocre, the company and time spent afterward has been splendid.
It has been so rewarding, so fun.
We have giggled until breathless after dinner while watching America’s Funniest Home Videos together. We have shouted when one of us lost in the dice game of House of Fire. We have eaten Otter Pops on the back porch and swung back and forth in the backyard swings.
We have snuggled in next to grandma and grandpa and watched Disney movies. We have listened to and recorded some of the stories that have made my grandma and grandpa who they are today.
We have absolutely LOVED spending more time with them.
I’m not sure how they feel about our monthly dinners, but our family cherishes the time.
We gave the same gift to Travis’s grandpa.
My kids love sneaking M&Ms from his candy stash and when he offers them a soda pop from his storage room they think they have died and gone to heaven.
My youngest two giggle when he tickles them and tease him by running away. You should see the card towers my kids have learned to build while listening to grandpa’s stories. They love hearing what it was like growing up near the Boston Red Sox and they can’t get enough of his police force tales.
My husband’s grandma was an amazing cook, so I’m not sure he’ll ever look forward to the food we bring, but we look forward to eating with him.
This fall when we were spending the evening there I noticed the family dinner coupons were stacked neatly in the center of the dining table. He had carefully written dates on each one – the days that we came and redeemed the coupons.
It made me smile to think that he was keeping track. Maybe he really did look forward to it – possibly not the food, but at least the company.
The more we spend time with our grandparents, the more we don’t ever want to leave. Our family has become crazy busy these days, but I have thanked the lucky stars that we started this tradition. We have had the best time with some of our favorite people this year. I only wish we could do it more often.
Which is why we are going to give them the same thing this year – twelve family dinner coupons. If you are interested in doing the same for someone you love feel free to copy off some of the coupons found in this file. I promise you won’t regret it. I will never regret spending more time with the people I love. Never.