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The Grandma Who Sends Boxes Full of Books

Ever since my young grandson was born, I have struggled with how I can be a presence in his life.  At the age of 4-1/2 years, he lives across the continent with his parents; a 1200 mile (2 long days) drive.  For the past year and a half, he has lived in the home of his "other" grandmother, and while she finds spending time with him annoying and unnerving, she has plenty of money and is able to regularly shower him with things.  There is no way that I can compete with that.  In fact, there is no way that I WANT to compete with that.  I am not interested in being the person who buys him stuff.  So... what to do?

Christmas is one of those times when I am challenged to find an appropriate gift that I think he will like, and that I like sending to him.  When he was very young, it wasn't hard.  There were lots of cute, fun, educational toys -- and I enjoyed finding something unique and interesting to give as a gift.  This year, it seems harder.

All of the toys that I find for boys his age seem dull and unimaginative; or they simply offend my sensibilities for one reason or another.  And yes, I am prone to not supply toys that I find "offensive" on whatever level.  Ask my own children.  They will be happy to tell you how they suffered through childhoods without toy weapons of Barbie dolls or video games that included violence.  Poor things.

Anyway, somewhere last summer, I began to gather a collection of interesting, fun, and beautiful children's
books -- until I came up with a significant pile of very nice books:

And then I finally figured it out...  I will become the Grandma that sends boxes of books!  I will hunt down neat and interesting and beautiful children's books, and I will send them off to my sweet young grandson.  They will be presents, but they will also give the two of us something to talk about.  As he grows, I'll find books to send that match his interests (like pirates) and others that might expand his interests.  All those fancy toys will have their day, but they will eventually fade away or fall apart.  I am hoping that the books will become good friends and treasures to be visited over and over and over; enjoyed and cherished well past his childhood; perhaps tucked away to be given someday to another generation of young ones...  my great grandchildren.  

It all makes me happy.



  1. Well, i am a happy member of this club. My grands know that this grandma sends books....this year for Christmas my goal was to find a book with the child's name in the title. (They all have uncommon, old fashioned names). It was not easy , but i did it.....
    hugs abby

    1. What a great idea, abby! I'll have to see if I can find some Alexander/Xander books :-)


    2. Wonderful idea, to get him books, and as far as the names how about Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day by Judith Viorst?

  2. How totally wonderful!


  3. weirdgirl1:10 AM

    I love this idea! Books are such an amazing gift - and one that can be opened again and again ;)

    Season's greetings to you all

  4. Anonymous12:29 PM

    Sue there is a company that has books where you can read and record your voice. Go to and check it out. They are called Record a Story. The one called "Guess how Much I Miss You" would be perfect for you to record and send to your little Alexander.


  5. Leucrocotta1:45 PM

    I love this idea. Having family friends who gave theses types of gifts to me, and really emphasized the wonder of books and the variety of ideas/information in this world, contributes greatly to the intelligent, well rounded individual I'm told I've become today. I've also definitely carried that love of books with me throughout my years.

  6. My former career was as a bookseller.I worked in bookstores for 18 years. I absolutely love this idea. I also collect picture books for myself. (I finally admitted to the world and myself that I wasn't buying them for my kids after the middle one turned 20 ).

    I don't have an Alexander book, but I do want to suggest a double threat, pirates and dinosaurs together. "Captain Flinn and the Pirate Dinosaurs" by Andrade and Ayto. I bought mine in 2006, but you might still be able to find it. It is adorable.

  7. That's awesome!
    When I was five, my grandma sent me the chronicles of Narnia. I read those books until they were tattered pieces of paper holding on desperately to book form.
    If I had to pick one single thing that sparked my adoration of reading, I would say it was that set of books my grandma sent me all those years ago.

  8. we didn't have a grandma that bought books - we had Aunt Olive (she was such a special woman)

    Anywayyyyyyyyyy as the girls got older she got them subscriptions for magazines - that way they got a surprise every month............ just a thought for when Xander gets a wee bit older :)

    Enjoy the Christmas season (and break from school )

  9. I/m a lot like that as well. Toys toys toys toys. I find Christmas shopping for my kids, grandkids and kids that I nanny a tedious affair. Nothing imaginative, or that's not a version of something they already have. I sent one grand daughter a set of the Boxcar Children and Half Magic when she was about 10, because they were books I loved at that age.

    Books. Books are excellent gifts. I've made them a part of any gift I give the children!

  10. Brilliant, brilliant, brilliant!!!! I have always liked giving books as gifts. This year however, I am making red and green tie dye socks! Grins. Hugs and Happy Holidays from us both!!!

  11. That's what we do too. Our grandson's other grandmother visits often and gives him huge, expensive presents. We see him maybe twice a year, and give mostly books for Christmas and birthdays. It's the present his mom requested, and we both think it's a great idea. Instead of competing, we give him unique treasures.



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