Best gifts to give grandparents for 2020, from smart tech to sentimental

This story is part of Holiday Gift Guide 2020, CNET’s gift picks with expert advice, reviews and recommendations for the latest tech gifts for you and your family.

Year after year, it can be a true challenge to find the best gifts for grandparents (or even parents) without falling back on the same old clichés during the holiday season. But sometimes, it’s hard to spark that great gift idea and you fall back on a tea towel, mug or picture frame. If you want to skip that headache this year, we’re here to help. With these suggestions, you should be able to find something just right for your grandparents that will sit oh so pretty under the Christmas tree, even if you can’t be there to celebrate with them in person.

Still with us? Good. We’ve rounded up some thoughtful gift ideas that are easy to set up and use and can be delivered straight to their door, including some affordable smart tech ideas. When spending quality in-person time isn’t always an option for grandparents and grandkids, the love and sentiment behind the gifts you choose will communicate a lot.

Amazon

An Alexa smart speaker is the perfect gift to buy for your grandparent. My own grandpa uses his constantly to read him the news and his favorite audiobooks, tell him the time and more set functions that are personalized to his interests. Alexa can also help someone remember their medications, play music, turn the lights on and control the thermostat. 

If your grandparent isn’t completely mobile, or would rather not be getting up every few minutes, an Echo is a great gift that will allow them to easily stay connected to the world right from their armchair. It’s also great for anyone with mobility issues because once it’s set up, you can control it completely with your voice.

There are a plethora of ideas for Alexa devices out there, but the Echo Dot is an affordable buy that’s small enough to fit anywhere and has a great speaker.

Read our Amazon Echo Dot (third-generation) review.

Amazon

As we get older, we tend to need to take more medications every day. The Memo Box is a practical gift that helps make that process a little bit easier. It pings you with alerts when it’s time to take your meds, and it tracks your usage so that you can tell you if you’ve missed a dose or are about to accidentally double dose, a potentially life-saving idea. It comes with Bluetooth connectivity and a free app, so your grandparent (or a caretaker) can monitor their habits. 

You can also set the app up to remind you when your grandparent misses a dose. If your grandparents (or parents) live alone, buy it for them; it’s a useful way to keep tabs on their health.

Tile

Do you have that one elderly family member (grandparents or parents) who is constantly misplacing their precious belongings? As we grow old, it often becomes harder to keep track of all of our various knick knacks. Combined with declining eyesight, this forgetfulness can turn into a problem.

This Tile tracker pack is perfect to buy for anyone who struggles with losing things. It comes with two Tile Mates, which can be looped onto a key ring, and two Tile Slims, which can be slid into a wallet or stuck on a laptop. The Tile app tracks the location of your missing item, and if it’s out of range, other Tile users will let you know if they come into contact with it.

Filimen

If you can’t be with your grandparents, here’s something fun you can buy to give them a precious way to stay in touch with you that everyone will enjoy. A family photo book, pictures, phone calls and personalized, handwritten letters are a great choice, but sometimes it’s nice to just know that someone is thinking about you in a unique way.

If you touch your friendship lamp box, the other person’s will light up too at the same time, a sweet way to connect grandparents and grandkids over a long distance. All you have to do is both be connected to Wi-Fi. You can buy and connect as many friendship lamps together as you want, and they have hundreds of color options. You can buy a different color light for each family member, so you know exactly who is missing you at any moment.

Although the box lamps are a bit pricey to buy, these thoughtful gifts are an amazing way to stay in touch with an extended family scattered throughout the world.

Amazon

If your grandfather or grandmother loves reading a book but dislikes lugging heavy books back and forth, an e-reader is an amazing choice for a present to buy for them that they will enjoy. The Kindle keeps getting better and better than a book, and the newest model is lightweight, waterproof and has a battery life that lasts for weeks.

This Kindle can also connect with Bluetooth headphones and speakers, so this is a great gift to buy if your grandparent would rather listen to books aloud. Either way, they can curl up under a blanket with some coffee or tea and enjoy.

Read our Amazon Kindle (2019) review.

Posh Paper Designs

Some grandparents are low tech, but they’ve certainly learned a lot over the years. This unique gift is a heart covered journal, titled Letters to my Grandchild. This grandparent memory book is filled with blank lined pages, so your older and wiser loved one can write down everything they want to tell you about life and make it truly custom and personalized. Grandparents can also record memories, wisdom, hopes and dreams for future grandchildren. 

This is the perfect sentimental custom gift idea to buy, and the journal will be a treasured written and perhaps photo keepsake of unique memories for years to come.

More gift ideas

The information contained in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended as health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified health provider regarding any questions you may have about a medical condition or health objectives.

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