When I was a youngster it used to be a standing joke (in a nice way) in many families that you could almost guarantee that grandmas would believe that socks and handkerchiefs were ideal Christmas gift ideas for their children and grandchildren.
Disappointing for the youngsters if their grandparents gifts were practical rather than imaginative but it wasn't as easy for the older generation to keep in touch with what the younger generation like as it is now, nor was there as much disposable income - not in my family anyway.
Now that I'm a grandmother I have great fun searching for ideal Christmas and birthday gifts for my young grandchildren and that doesn't mean hankies and socks! My only problem is trying not to duplicate what their other grandparents buy and that has happened! To avoid duplication I have to check with their mum and she has to check with her mother in law - sometimes it gets quite complicated.
Last year I bought my 6 year old grandson Jake a space station with lots of figures and accessories. He still loves it and plays with it more than anything else, so something to do with outer space like Doctor Who's Tardis and a Doctor Who doll. Jake loves Doctor Who and that feels weird considering that I remember watching the very first episode with my brothers. I still enjoy watching them and wonder if Jake would love a Dalek costume like his uncles had.
My grandson also loves playing with his toy cars - even asked me if I was too old to get down on the floor and play with them with him! He's got a garage and quite a collection including a remote controlled car so I don't think he needs any more. He is getting a notebook computer from his parents, has a toy fort and just about every toy I could think of.
In the end it was back to the space theme. At the top of Jake's list is an Imaginext Space Shuttle and Tower, supposedly a 'brilliant gift for future astronauts'. At least this toy will encourage him to use his imagination whilst he enjoys it. Also on his list was games for his Play Station Portable , poor mite had a PSP given with games that were too old for him so he was getting really frustrated. Always best to check the recommended age before you buy video games. A Kiddizoom camera is also on his list, oh dear it looks like we will be playing dodge Jake's camera at Christmas.
Jake's 4 year old sister Jessica knows exactly what she wants. On her list is a Baby Born Little Sunshine Doll and a Chou Chou Learn to Walk Doll. I don't think it's an either because she wants a double buggy to push them around in, unless she intends for the new doll to share it with her kitten who seems to have taken over the single buggy she got last Christmas.
Jess wants to join her brother as a gamer with a Nintendo DS and what should be no surprise to me, a Peppa Pig game. That girl is crazy about Peppa Pig, she already owns Peppa Pig figures, books, bedding, jigsaws and a space shuttle and now she wants a Peppa Pig Palace. I tried to interest her in a proper dolls house like her cousin Beth has, but as Jess points out - Peppa Pig is to play with now, a proper dolls house is to look forward to when she is older.
Now I've chosen their christmas gifts all I have to do is wrap them in coloured paper and wait for the big day. I wonder if I should try them out before wrapping them up!