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Share the gift of love with a
child or grandchild, mother or grandmother – the heartwarming bestseller A Little Something is about love and legacies across generations

Download now: Illustration Slides to use A Little Something with a group

Share the gift of inspiration –
the bestseller Dream: A Tale of Wonder, Wisdom & Wishes

Download now: Illustration Slides to use Dream with a group

Get free online family Across Generations activities and guides

Share the gift of listening and learning – children and teens can interview a grandparent or grandfriend to enter the Listen to a Life Essay Contest to win a computer

Give the gift of inspiration – use your creative power to inspire others in a Share the Dream video

Encourage a parent or grandparent to share their life and give the gift of a Life Statement

Post an Un-Ad this holiday season to share what really matters to you

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Legacy Project



Gift ideas
that are meaningful and memorable for all ages

Gifts are a BIG source of holiday stress for many people. Sometimes it's important to remind yourself what really matters.

Gift stress is a modern phenomenon. Gift giving wasn't that important to adults in the 19th century. Holiday preparations were far less elaborate. The season stayed in the season (it started in December not October!). There was no lead up of a barrage of advertising or worrying about gifts months in advance. No one spent weeks in lines buying gifts. And the emphasis was on togetherness and celebration, not on the gifts themselves.

Holiday Gift Ideas for All Ages from the Legacy Project at www.legacyproject.org

The Legacy Project is very much about giving. Your legacy can be a gift you give successive generations. Part of the idea of LegacyCubed is that your legacy is the coming together of what you're given (by past generations, by those around you), what you bring into being (using the full potential of who you are), and what you give back (to those around you, to future generations).

When you do give material gifts, they should reflect who you are and what you value, and they should mean something. They should emphasize the timeless over the transient.

Gifts have their advantages. They look very pretty under the tree! They lend an air of expectation. They can be a token of caring and, when appropriate, bring joy to the recipient. But gifts also put a lot of pressure on people. Most of the time, we can't afford them. We don't have the time to buy them. We don't really know what the other person wants or needs. We also feel pressured by certain unspoken rules – like giving a gift of equal value when someone has given you one, once you put a person on your list they're supposed to be on there forever, and gifts should be of consistent value from year to year.

The good news is that you can make gift giving more meaningful and manageable by: trimming back your list; pairing up people by drawing names out of a hat; giving one gift per household instead of one per person; giving gifts just to children; and coming up with alternative gifts. That last point is where you can get really creative. Here are some alternative ideas for young and old that shy away from the trends and get back to meaningful basics.

Some ideas for gifts the whole family can enjoy together:

  • Use keepsakes to bring the generations in your family closer.

  • Give two decks of cards with a book that describes different card games.

  • Try a traditional jigsaw puzzle or "wow 'em" 3-D puzzle.

  • Board games are fun for all ages (LifeStories is a family favorite).

  • Buy and learn how to use family tree software (try Family Tree Maker).

  • An introductory crafting kit can introduce your whole family to a new hobby.

  • Buy a gift pack of basic scrapbooking supplies so that everyone can work together in the new year to organize and preserve old family photos.

  • Books never go out of style. For family read-alouds, check out the bestsellers A Little Something, about love and legacies across generations, and Dream, about hopes and dreams across a lifetime.

  • Everyone loves to eat – give a bread or ice cream maker, or a pasta machine.

  • Everyone also needs to dry off – give sets of towels with the family initials on them!

  • For some quality family time, get tickets to a play or event appropriate for all ages.

  • Make or buy special keepsake ornaments that you add to every year.

  • Create and post an Un-Ad to share what matters to you and your family.

  • Share a gift across generations when you create and record a Life Statement.

Some ideas for giving gifts to the young, especially if you're a grandparent giving to a grandchild:

  • Cautions: Don't overwhelm your grandchildren with too many gifts; don't try to buy their affection; don't go against their parents' wishes; and never buy a big gift or one that will require special care or arrangements (e.g. pet, trip) without first consulting the parents. You may also want to stay away from clothing since children's sizes and tastes are so variable.

  • You don't have to give big or expensive gifts. Gifts just need to be thoughtful and given with love.

  • Children like the hottest "new" stuff, but they also have a real need for "old stuff" that connects them to their family and its history. Consider a special keepsake gift if your grandchild is old enough. You can accompany it with a copy of A Little Something, a story about the special keepsakes a grandmother gives her granddaughter through the years.

  • Pass down your adult children's old books, blankets, sweaters, toys, and scrapbooks. Tell your grandchildren stories about their parents when they were young to strengthen family bonds.

  • Children today have so many toys, many of which quickly become discarded or broken. Try to focus on toys with lasting value, or things children can use to be creative (e.g. art supplies, building sets, board games, a microscope). The more flexible and unstructured the toy is, the more lasting it tends to be.

  • Try to break the toy stereotypes – don't just give girls dolls and boys trucks.

  • It's okay to indulge your grandchildren once in a while with an extravagant or "fad" gift they just "have to have." But, consult with parents first to ensure they don't have any strong objections.

  • Play detective. What are your grandchildren's interests and blooming talents? Give gifts that encourage and support them – tickets to events/plays/concerts; lessons; musical instruments; sports equipment; posters or paintings; calendars; videos; computer software.

  • Buy young grandchildren things "big kids" need – like a radio, clock, camera, desk, bookcase, or bags for carrying things to school, for sports, or for travel.

  • Books are always in style – and won't break! One of the best gifts you can give a grandchild is to encourage their hopes and dreams. Everyone needs a dream! Share the bestseller Dream and talk about your dreams, achieved or yet to be achieved. Then, make Dream Stars together, with both your wishes written inside. You can also buy a Tuckadream Pillow so that grandchildren can make a new wish every night before they go to sleep.

  • Something handmade makes a special gift in the present and can become a treasured keepsake over the years. You might make your grandchildren a quilt, a special blanket, a sweater or scarf, a fancy T-shirt, a stuffed doll or bear, or doll clothes. If sewing, knitting, or needlework is new to you, start with a kit from a needlework or craft shop.

  • Grandchildren will always welcome money, even in small amounts. You just don't want to use money as a way to "buy" your grandchildren. A roll of quarters can be a big deal for very young children. For older children and teenagers, consider buying savings bonds or stocks, or contributing to a fund for college.

  • Time is the greatest gift of all. Time coupons are a creative way for both you and your grandchildren to anticipate a fun, shared experience. They also give your grandchildren power in "redeeming" the coupon. You might have coupons for baking cookies, reading a story, going shopping, or learning how to do a craft.



Give the gift
of inspiration

A Little Something

Give the gift
of love

Here are some ideas for gifts for older adults, including gifts for those in a care facility:

  • For older people living in their own home, have a house cleaning or repair party. Or purchase the services of a house cleaner or yard maintenance firm for a year.

  • Take a grandparent or grandfriend shopping to purchase items for themselves, or gifts for friends and relatives.

  • Run errands for an older person.

  • Invite grandparents and grandfriends over to bake and/or decorate cookies.

  • Set a monthly date to go to the library, museum, shopping, or for lunch.

  • Most people enjoy sweets. But do check about any dietary restrictions ahead of time. Some older adults appreciate hard candies because their mouth will often be dry. Make sure you get sweets that are appropriate (e.g. jelly beans for someone on a soft-food diet are not appropriate, but some flavorful pudding cups are).

  • Try a basket filled with an assortment of flavored teas or coffees.

  • A clock or phone with large numbers is a functional gift.

  • An iPod with a playlist of old favorites can provide hours of enjoyment, especially for someone with cognitive or physical limitations.

  • An iPad with appropriate apps, photos, and videos can be an easy-to-use gift to keep older adults connected and engaged, even those with dementia or other cognitive or physical limitations.

  • Brighten the season by giving an arrangement of colorful, long-lasting flowers.

  • Give a warm, colorful lap blanket or bed jacket for use when sitting. A warm, colorful, washable sweater is also a nice idea.

  • Warm, soft slippers will be appreciated (be sure to get soles that grip rather than slip!).

  • Purchase books with large print (many bestsellers are available in a large print format).

  • Give a gift subscription to a magazine that's available in large print format (e.g. Reader's Digest).

  • Give favorite books or bestsellers as audiobooks. You can also use picture books to spark conversation and reminiscing. Share A Little Something as you look through and talk about your family keepsakes and old photos. Evoke memories through a lifetime by sharing the bestseller Dream – and remind an older adult they're never too old for new dreams! You can even help them fold a Dream Star with their newest wish inside.

  • Give a set of DVDs of favorite old movies.

  • The gift of listening can be one of the most appreciated. Young people can interview a grandparent or grandfriend and enter the Legacy Project's annual Listen to a Life Essay Contest.

  • Help an older adult share the most important parts of themselves by creating a Life Statement.

Whatever the gift, and whoever the recipient, the best gifts are the ones given with a little thought and a lot of love.




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