DEAR ABBY: I disagree with your advice to "Not Ungrateful," regarding the beautiful dolls that were sent to her children by their grandfather.
I run a children's store. Not all grandparents want to give a gift that might end up in a garage sale or giveaway box years down the road. Many want to give a special gift that their grandchild will enjoy later and that will be a special memory of them when the children are older. Keepsakes are treasures that can be cherished long after the grandparents are gone.
Special gifts should be put aside until the children are old enough to play with them and enjoy them. Be sure to remind the children that Grandpa gave the gifts when they were babies because he thought they were so special. Cuddly stuffed animals are cute for babies, but generally don't last, nor is their origin ever truly appreciated by the child. So let Grandpa give the most special gifts he can. Those gifts are worth receiving at any age. -- VICKI IN CODY, WYO.
DEAR VICKI: I heard from many readers who agree with you. Read on:
DEAR ABBY: Perhaps that grandfather is thinking down the road that someday (when he may be gone) his grandchildren will appreciate his foresight.
We get our grandson the "appropriate cuddly gifts," along with substantial contributions to a 529 college plan. Someday, between political science, beer and young women, we trust he will have kind thoughts about his grandparents. More important, we hope he will repay the gift in kindness to his own grandchildren. -- AN APPRECIATIVE GRANDPA IN CALIFORNIA
DEAR ABBY: As a very young girl in the early '50s, I received by mail a beautiful string of pearls in a velvet case from my bachelor godfather. Talk about age inappropriate! (How can you play with pearls?)
My disappointment turned to pride as my parents explained they were a special gift -- my "first pearls" -- to be worn when I became a young lady. The case graced my dresser top for years, until I was finally deemed "old enough" to wear the elegant necklace.
I still cherish the pearls and their memories of a sweet godfather I rarely saw, and of the times I would carefully open that fancy case and rub the pearls against my cheek, daydreaming of someday being a lady. Let other friends buy their children the soft things they can play with now. "Not Ungrateful's" father-in-law may also intend for the fancy dolls to be future heirlooms. -- SENTIMENTAL IN SEABECK, WASH.
DEAR ABBY: When my granddaughter was born, my mother gave her a chest of sterling silver flatware because she calculated that she wouldn't be here when "that baby grows up," and the price of sterling silver would be out of reach. Through the years, we have added serving pieces to match. Now that my granddaughter is married (and my mother is no longer with us), she has a beautiful service for eight thanks to her great-grandmother.
When it was determined that my step-grandbaby was to be a girl, I bought the prettiest, most expensive doll I could find, as I wanted her first doll to be special. For her first birthday we gave her a diamond drop necklace with instructions that it was to be put away but worn on her wedding day. Because of our advanced age, we won't be alive when she is married, and we wanted to be part of her very special day. -- ANN G., TUPELO, MISS.
DEAR ANN: I'd say your step-grandbaby is a lucky little girl -- and not because of the jewelry.