As far as gifting seasons go, the biggest one of all is just around the corner. The longer you wait to make or buy gifts, the fewer options you'll have. Last minute shopping is a surefire way to run up mountains of unintentional debt. Been there, done that.
Gifts for grandparents don't always require a trip down memory lane. Today's grandparent is likelier to be tapping out email on a tablet than pounding away on a typewriter. So with that in mind, and to help you get going, here are four of my favorite gift ideas for grandparents, ranging in price from about $75 to $150, that are sure to delight Nanas and Papas everywhere -- even those who are hard to buy for. All of the following can be easily located on Amazon.com (the prices mentioned reflect the Amazon price at time of writing) or possibly a local retailer in your area.
--DIGITAL CAMERA. The versatile entry-level Canon PowerShot SX400 digital camera is one of best cameras out there for quality, functionality and price -- and several notches higher than the typical phone camera. Despite its size, this gem is packed with most of the same features and manual controls found on larger more expensive models. Complete with 30x zoom, it takes fantastic pictures. It is simple to use, too. Cost: about $150.
--PORTABLE PHOTO PRINTER. Just the other day a friend of mine lamented the fact that all of her grandkids' pictures are on her phone. "I wish I had prints, but I'm stuck with them on this tiny screen!" What she needs is a simple photo printer. I showed her the Canon SELPHY CP910 portable wireless compact photo color printer and you should have seen her face. She was like a kid on Christmas morning just knowing that something like this even exists. I'm hopeful that soon she'll be printing postcard and wallet-sized photos directly from her compatible smartphone, tablet or camera in full color on photo paper. Cost: about $85.
--KINDLE PAPERWHITE. One of the best things grandparents can do is vigorously exercise their brains. Ongoing mental stimulation is a proven method to sharpen mental acuity into ones senior years. And what better way to stay sharp than to read vigorously? Kindles allow easy, instant access to a library of millions of titles. The Kindle Paperwhite is particularly well-suited for the following reasons: 1) It's easy to hold 2) it has ridiculously long battery life 3) the fonts scale easily to make reading simple 4) the visual technology makes reading from the screen easy on the eyes and 5) it has massive storage to hold thousands of books in memory. Cost: about $120.
--WEBCAM. If there are many miles between kids and grandparents, Skype is their new best friend. Give grandparents the opportunity to see your kids regularly on their computer with this Logitech HD Pro Webcam C920 widescreen video calling and recording computer camera. It's foolproof and easy to install (seriously, just plug it in). For the money, the quality of this computer camera can't be beat. Cost: about $75.
I have posted a dozen more grandparent gift ideas for you at http://www.everydaycheapskate.com/grandparentgifts -- and some cost as little as just $9.
It's true that when giving a gift, it's the thought that counts. This year, put some extra thought into your gifts for grandparents. It will come back to bless you many times over.
Mary Hunt's column, "Everyday Cheapskate," can be found at creators.com.