Every year my husband and I try to plan activities with our children and grandchildren as their main Christmas and birthday presents. It’s harder to do with my son’s family because they live ten hours away, but sometimes we find options to make it happen. We have taken some fun trips and had the pleasure of participating in great activities with them.


My husband and I are into many activities, adventures, and travel and we want to pass that passion on to our family. Creating wonderful memories is the best gift. A toy will break or a child will outgrow it. An outfit will wear out or be outdated. A gadget will not last forever, but memories will stay with you a lifetime.


Each person in our family has their own interests and we try to find something that will excite them. We will wrap the gift certificate with a small gift. For example I will wrap a $5 book for my grandchild and in the book there will be an envelope with the certificate. Here is an example of what one looks like.

A Gift For You

 Happy Birthday!

This certificate is good for a day at the zoo
and dinner of your choice

TO: Ariahna           From: Yia Yia and Yia Yo


My kids and grand-kids love this and have come to expect the certificates even though they don’t know exactly where we will be taking them.


Here are some of the activities and trips we have presented this way:

  • A day at the museum and a sleepover with a movie and popcorn.
  • An evening at Canvas and Cocktails and a nice dinner of their choice. (Canvas and Cocktails has a family time on the weekend so it can work for all ages.)
  • A personal instructor at the shooting range and dinner afterward. We did this one with my son-in-law and he even stayed the night with us so he could have a beer with dinner. I think his biggest treat was sleeping in without the kiddos waking him up at 6:00 AM.
  • Beauty day with me to include a pedicure and shopping for a new outfit. Lunch included.
  • A weekend in the mountains at a cabin with horseback riding, river rafting, and an adventure park. We did this one two years in a row with our children and grandkids.
  • A day of bowling and arcade games with pizza and a movie at our house.

Most of these activities ended with a meal out and a sleepover at our house. We would play board games that evening and my husband would read the grandkids a bedtime story and tuck them in.  We tried doing this with my son-in-law, but he declined.


Next time you’re stuck on what to give your family, think about the gift of time. It can even be just a sleepover with a movie and popcorn or playing board games and making an ice-cream sundae.