Without Breaking Your Budget GET YOUR GRANDCHILDREN THE PERFECT GIFTS
‘Tis the season to flock to the stores to find the hottest deals on the coolest products just in time for the holidays. For older adults, however, braving a crowded parking lot and long lines can be a painful, difficult ordeal. Luckily, you don’t have to participate in this “rate” race in order to give your grandchildren presents they’ll cherish for years to come. Follow these steps to generate ideas for affordable, unforgettable gifts. STEP 1: MAKE A BUDGET Regardless of how much you’ve saved for retirement, you need to consider the finances. The best way to establish a budget is to set aside a holiday fund including the total amount of money you’re comfortable spending. Divide that total by the number of grandchildren you have, and you’ll now know approximately how much you can spend on each gift. Remember, too, that many presents don’t have to come with a price tag. STEP 2: TALK TO THE PARENTS Parents are the best resource for ideas of what is and isn’t an appropriate gift. They can tell you what each child is interested in, as well as list any gifts to avoid. Parents’ insights will prove invaluable
when it comes time to make a decision, especially because different parents have varying ideas of what’s acceptable.
STEP 3: GIVE AN EXPERIENCE Consider giving an experience-based gift rather than a toy or material object. Maybe you want to give all of the children in one family tickets for a getaway. Perhaps you want to accompany them to a museum or sporting event. No matter the experience that fits your family best, these gifts can create lasting memories for everyone. STEP 4: ADD A THOUGHTFUL TOUCH After you’ve purchased all of your gifts, take the time to add something personal to each of them. A handwritten letter, old photos, or other mementos could end up having just as much of an impact as the gift itself. It will also let the child know that you’re thinking of them, which is especially meaningful when you can’t spend the holidays together. STEP 5: HAVE FUN Buying gifts for your grandkids should be a joyful experience and a way to express your love. That’s what matters most of all.
MEET CHIPS The WWII Hero Dog
War heroes are revered for their acts of bravery in times of combat — and Chips, the shepherd-collie-husky crossbreed, is no different. During World War II, the Wren family donated Chips to Dogs for Defense shortly after the U.S. joined the war. Of the 40,000 dogs donated to the corps, more than 10,000 were selected to participate in the program after training. Chips was shipped off with his handler, Private Rowell, to French Morocco. Chips and Rowell patrolled the Casablanca Conference, where Chips was introduced to President Franklin D. Roosevelt and British Prime Minister Winston Churchill. Following the meeting, Rowell and Chips went to Sicily to support the invasion as part of Operation Husky, which was where Chips earned his hero status. On July 10, 1943, Allied soldiers were attacked on the beach by an enemy machine gun team. Chips ran for the hut where the barrage of bullets was coming from and tore into the enemies. His handler described hearing rapid noise and seeing Chips gripping one of the men by his throat
until Rowell ordered the dog down. Three more men came out of the hut, their hands raised. Chips left the fight with burns and a scalp wound, but his actions saved the lives of all the men in his platoon, and later that day, he discovered more enemy soldiers. On Jan. 15, 2018 — 75 years after the Casablanca Conference — Chips was posthumously awarded the People’s Dispensary for Sick Animals Dickin Medal, the highest award an animal can achieve for their time in military conflict in Britain. After his service, Chips returned to live with the Wren family. On U.S. soil, he was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross, the Silver Star, and the Purple Heart. These honors were eventually stripped by the Army after a policy barred animals from earning the same medals as people, but his platoon awarded him the Theater Ribbon and battle stars for his eight campaigns. To the men Chips saved, medals didn’t make him a hero — his selfless actions did.
2 • www.garryliday.com
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