The lovely Crista writes:
My husband’s brother and his wife had their first baby this year. Hubby and I are thinking ahead to Christmas and we know it’s going to be a toy orgy. The parents can afford to get the kid whatever they want, and she is the first grandchild. Hubby and I want to do something different. For my sister’s kids, we adopt an Angel Tree kid or something similar. They love that idea and as they have gotten older have helped us pick out who to donate to. My brother is broke and they very much appreciate the clothes and books we give to their kids.
My in-laws are different. I don’t think they would appreciate the charity thing. And like I said, they don’t need us to buy clothes and books for their baby. We want to start a tradition. Hubby doesn’t like the idea of savings bonds, and that is the only thing I can come up with. I have thought of things like dance classes or paying for her sports, but that is a few years off, and what if she ends up not doing any of that. We want something we can start now and continue into infinity :). Any ideas?
I think savings bonds are the obvious answer, Crista, but if your husband objects, there are a couple of different routes you can go, instead.
Other money. Does your husband dislike the savings bond itself or the impersonalness (let’s pretend that’s a word) of money in any form? If the former, you might consider opening a 529 savings account in your niece’s name; few people are loaded enough that an additional college savings account would be unwelcome.
Support to a meaningful organization. Perhaps their family wouldn’t be touched by an Angel Tree thing (though what kind of blackhearted people aren’t honored by that??), but a yearly donation to the local library or family membership to the art museum or something else somewhat intangible would be welcome. I don’t know, obviously, but it’s something to consider.
Keepsake collections. This is my least favorite option, because I’m not a “stuff” kind of person, but lots of people start a collection for an important child in their lives, whether it be a keepsake Christmas ornament every year or commemorative coins or whatever.
Monthly subscription. One of my relatives always got my brother and me a yearly subscription to a kid-appropriate magazine, and it was always my favorite gift. (Yay! Mail!) She’s a little young now, of course, but something to consider for the future. There’s also kids’ book-of-the-month clubs and even various toy-of-the-month clubs.
Special study. While I love the idea of paying for a specific activity, that’s hard to figure out while the kid’s still a baby, of course. Plus you run into the potential issue of the parents wanting to enroll her in something that’s more expensive than you want or something you perhaps would rather not support. That aside, you could always start a special account now with the explanation that you’re setting aside this much each year and you’re ready to start funding piano/karate/basketweaving/whatever as soon as she’s old enough.
Readers, help a gal out. What are some other ongoing gift ideas for the special child in your life?