How Much Grandparents Spend On Christmas Gifts For Their Grandkids Might Surprise You


A couple months before the holiday season rolls around is when most families probably start thinking about gifts — planning them, asking their children want they'd like Santa to bring, and making empty threats about lumps of coal when the kids are acting like jerks. It's probably not out of the ordinary for parents to plan on spending a couple hundred dollars per kid. (If they can swing it and want to, of course.) But what about grandparents? Should they be expected to shell out more or less money per child on presents? Based on the results of one new survey, how much grandparents spend on Christmas gifts for their grandkids might surprise you.

But first, let's gain some perspective. According to RetailMeNot, parents planned on spending $330 on children in 2017. However, according to Forbes, parents were predicted to spend $495 per child in 2016. So I'm just going to go with a happy medium, and assume the actual number for 2018 is somewhere in the ballpark of $400 per child. (Which is still way more than my husband and I spend per kid, for the record.) With this in mind, where do grandparents fall on the spectrum?

Recently, OppLoans surveyed more than 1,700 grandparents from all 50 states and the District of Columbia — asking how much they spent on holiday gifts, if they felt these gifts were appreciated, and whether or not they planned to ever stop giving their grandkids gifts. Drumroll, please... The average amount that grandparents sped on holiday gifts for their grandkids is $218 per child. However, grandfathers actually spend more on holiday gifts ($244) than grandmothers spend ($202).


Furthermore, grandparent holiday spending also varied depending on where they lived. Here's a look at the five states with the highest-spending grandparents: Oklahoma, $339; Connecticut, $336; Washington, D.C., $330; Louisiana, $328; California, $311. The five lowest-spending states were: Minnesota, $128; Washington, $121; North Dakota, $118; Wyoming, $113; Nebraska, $93.

And to this I say, "Holy moly, Oklahoma grandparents!"


Other interesting findings from OppLoans include:

  • Older grandparents spent less on gifts. Grandparents between 35 and 44 spent $312, grandparents 45 to 54 spent $248, and grandparents 55 and older spent $179.
  • Eighty percent of grandparents feel their grandkids appreciate the gifts, 11 percent feel their grandkids appreciate the gifts a little bit, and 4 percent feel their grandkids don’t appreciate the gifts at all.
  • Clothing, toys, and gift cards were the favorite gifts for grandparents to give.

I don't know about you, but neither my parents nor my husband's parents spend anywhere close to $200 per grandchild on Christmas presents. (In fact, that's closer to what we actually spend on our kids.) My divorced parents both live nearly two hours away — so they don't get to see my kids very often, which is cool; we're all so busy, that I don't really notice. When the holiday season rolls around, however, my parents have very different takes on gifting.

My mom gives each of my kids a sensible gift, spending about $30 apiece. However, my dad tends to go a little overboard with gift-giving. Maybe he just likes spoiling the kids. Or maybe he feels like he has to make up for not getting to spend a lot of time with them. Whatever his inspiration, I always felt my dad spends more than average on his grandkids, compared to other grandparents. Turns out I was completely wrong!

After experiencing a traumatic c-section, this mother sought out a doula to support her through her second child’s delivery. Watch as that doula helps this mom reclaim the birth she felt robbed of with her first child, in Episode Three of Romper's Doula Diaries, Season Two, below. Visit Bustle Digital Group's YouTube page for more episodes, launching Mondays in December.

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