There’s just something about gifts from grandparents, especially at the holidays. If your kids are lucky, their grandparents want to give them something they really want, even (and perhaps especially) if you don’t want to be the one to get it for them. Grandparents, after all, get to enjoy the fun of not having to say “no.”

But there’s a real art to the grandparent gift. The best ones are useful, special, and something a kid’s parents aren’t already getting them — but not something their parents will be furious about, either. So whether you’re a grandparent or a parent looking for recommendations to send the grandparents, keep reading to get the brainstorming started.

1. The 2024 American Girl Doll of the Year

Lila, the 2024 American Girl “doll of the year,” has a story that revolves around her desire to make the Xcel gymnastics team. Through friendship and hard work, Lila finds creative ways to train for the team. She comes with a journal that tells her story, and while other accessories are sold separately, Lila does include an extremely on-trend fanny pack. Plus, the outfit is perfectly in keeping with the Y2K fashion revival and the runaway popularity of the Barbie movie.

2. A Quality Suitcase

They’ll need something to pack their stuff in when they visit, of course. This suitcase comes with a scooter on the back, making travel fun for kids but also making it easier to get them from place to place. Target also carries a version of this suitcase.

3. A Sleeping Bag

They’ll need a place to rest when they visit, too. This sleeping bag has a built-in pillow and looks super cozy. They also have a version that looks like a bunny. This Lilly Pulitzer sleeping bag is also an adorable option that could last well into the child’s tween years.

4. A Storybook Speaker

Adults aren’t the only ones who want to listen to stories and music — kids do, too. There are two big options on the market: the Yoto Player and the Toniebox.

Toniebox may be a little more appealing for younger kids, who can play stories by placing small figurines on top of the speaker. You want Encanto, you put Mirabel on top. The Yoto Player operates via card instead, and the company’s card store has an expansive selection ranging from picture books to chapter books to movie adaptations to music, including Kidz Bop. (Plus, they make a travel-friendly mini version that’ll come in handy for visits.)

5. Outdoor Activities

Bubbles, chalk, and snow paint are the type of “toys” popular with many parents because they disappear over time. They’re also pretty inexpensive, so you can buy a lot of them for less or even pair them with another small gift. These bubble wands are a particularly cool gift because they make giant bubbles, and you can get a six-pack of them for only $5.

6. A Large Stuffed Animal

This huge stuffed animal is the type of thing that a kid would love to sleep with every night. Not only is it cuddly, but it will remind them of you. Douglas Toys makes a lot of different oversized animals, including different dog breeds, horses, and even penguins.

7. Anything from Fat Brain Toys Co.

Fat Brain Toys Co. makes a lot of STEM toys for young kids, like this 3D puzzle. This Tiltago puzzle, which is a similar challenge to a Rubik’s cube, is pretty cool. They also make this clay that comes with instructions to create different creatures and hardens after 24 hours so they can enjoy it forever. (Or until you secretly trash it in the dead of night.)

8. A Membership to the Closest Museum or Aquarium

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A membership to a nearby museum or aquarium will get a lot of use since it offers something priceless: a way to get out of the house. It makes it possible to go whenever and for however long feels right that day. Your kid has a meltdown after 35 minutes because, actually, real-life giraffes are a bit much? No big deal. Bitterly cold day when the playground would be miserable? Off we go to the local children’s museum for three hours.

Be sure to price out the parking add-on, if there’s one available. Depending on the numbers, it could very well save a ton of money, too.

9. A Dollhouse

A dollhouse is a classic grandparent gift — it’s the kind of thing they’ll use for years, and it’s just a touch old-fashioned (in a nice way!). Whether it’s a dollhouse that’s very traditional looking or a dollhouse based on a show they love — like this Gabby’s Dollhouse that they can build out of Legos — they’ll be so happy to have gotten one from their grandparents.

10. Snow Clothes and Boots

Snow clothing is used a few times a year and then promptly grown out of. And it’s certainly not cheap, either. It’s not an everyday essential, but man, it’s a godsend when you do need it. Whether the grandkids live in an area where it snows for months, or you regularly ski as a family, gifting anything snow-related is a good idea. Snow boots, snow pants, and a cold weather coat will keep kids comfortable and going for hours in winter weather — and save mom and dad a pretty penny, too.

11. A Snow Tube

If you’re going to get them snow gear, may as well get them a snow toy as well, right?

12. Contributions to their College Fund

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Listen, we all know just how many kids don’t need any more stuff. Not one more physical thing! So, here’s an idea instead: What parent wouldn’t want to get a donation to their child’s 529 plan for Christmas instead of something else to trip over in the playroom? It’s basically a gift for them, too. If you want to wrap it in something more fun than an envelope, try this cool dispenser-style wrapping hack.

Any of these options would be so memorable for a kid to receive from grandma or grandpa — so enjoy all the love you get after you see them unwrap their new favorite gift.

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