Give the grandest of all gifts - your experiences
CHRISTMAS is a time of giving but it's important to think about what we are gifting our grandchildren.
Nannas and grandads everywhere are making lists and checking them twice with their children before they hit the shops because they know the pressure's on to find the perfect gift for the grandkids.
Knowing what to buy a grandchild who's grown 30cm since you last saw them can be quite the challenge. And the thought of adding another toy to a collection that's already overwhelming can feel like a waste of money.
But we want to show them how much we love them, so off to the shops we go.
Statistics show that many people are about to spend money they can't afford on gifts nobody needs. That is lunacy no matter how old you are.
At our ages we should not only know better, but also be better at showing our families there are other ways to express your love.
Here's my guide to thoughtful gift-giving:
Don't just hand over movie tickets - take the kids to the movies and watch it with them.
Don't just buy a book - buy a copy for yourself, read it and then talk about it with them. For the genuine reader, buy a book you enjoyed at their age.
Give them an "old-fashioned" invitation to an outing just for two (or more) the next time you see them. A trip to a cafe, park or local tourist attraction can become a special memory if you don't see them very often.
Dig out some photographs of you as a young person and put them in a frame - it's important our grandkids realise we were young once too.
Write each grandchild a letter about the things you want them to remember about you, about what's important in life and what you wish for them.
Create your own gift voucher for lessons in a specific skill you have - sewing, knitting, frame building, painting, changing a bike tyre, using power tools or baking a cake. Design a simple project that can be completed in an afternoon so they have something to take home with them.
Sharing your time, stories and life might not be something your grandkids have put down on their Christmas wish lists but there's every chance gifts that come wrapped in love will become treasured memories.
Resist the temptation to buy another "thing" or hand over cash. That "thing" will break, be forgotten and the money will be spent or possibly saved, but giving something of yourself can't ever be replaced and hopefully it's never forgotten.