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Unusual Gift Ideas for Grandfather: What to Get a Grandpa That Has Everything

Updated on January 22, 2015
Chris Telden profile image

For Chris, choosing gifts is like writing a story: By matching the character to the gift, you learn more about people and what they value.

Odds are, your grandfather has received some real dud gifts in his day. That set of musical fishing lures? That statuette of a moose - the heart-healthy protein powder? Boxed up, regifted...forgotten.

Here you'll find dud-free, creative but truly great gift ideas for your grandpa's birthday, retirement, Christmas, Grandparent's Day - or even his "new grandfather" celebration.

Different Presents for Different Grandparents

It may be the thought that counts, but in today's economy it's no fun shelling out money for a gift your grandpa is guaranteed not to like. My pocketbook balks at waste, so I spent decades dreaming up creative and unusual gift ideas for my own grandfather. A picky, practical man, he would get angry if I "wasted my money" and dismiss the idea of my giving him anything at all. Only once have I gone really wrong (a VCR, which he never could figure out how to use). Most times, he seemed to love his gifts. And I was by no means rich, so I'm proud of that accomplishment.

He was, however, easy to please. No bizarre hobbies, no odd sizes, no high-tech. Just regular slippers. Western novels. That sort of thing. Thinking up more unique ideas has been a bit of a challenge for me.

Grandfathers of All Ages

My grandpa lived nearly to his hundredth birthday. Chances are your grandfather is in his fifties, sixties, seventies, or eighties. So I've put together what I think are pretty unusual suggestions that any 50, 60, 70, 80, or 90 year old grandfather would especially like (with the caveat that people aren't defined by their age...)

Funny Gags & Jones

For the grandfather with attitude who likes to read and who has a sense of humor, these humorous, sometimes witty, sometimes sarcastic pottery presents and books should do the job.

Humorous Presents for Grandpa - Gag T-Shirts, Books, Pottery

Grandfather Gifts for Birthday, Retirement, New Grandfatherhood, and More

These gifts are good to give not only during the holidays, an anniversary, the birth of a new grandson or granddaughter, or another special occasion - they also make the best "thanks for being there" and "thinking of you" gifts for grandfathers. My ideas fall into the following categories:

  • Funny presents, such as books, t-shirts, and gag gifts.
  • Sentimental gifts, such as grandfather-themed gifts, mugs, clothing
  • Useful presents that an elderly man or baby boomer male would find practical, such as clothing, health and comfort items, food, and hobby gifts
  • Unusual presents, such as novelty items and "guy" gadgets

Grandfather: A Native American's Lifelong Search for Truth and Harmony with Nature
Grandfather: A Native American's Lifelong Search for Truth and Harmony with Nature

I love Tom Brown, Jr.'s naturalist books and guides - they taught me so much, and he often referred to his grandfather in them. His inspiring Grandfather is an account of the famous naturalist's relationship with the man who taught him much of what he knows.


Make-Him-Feel-Better Gifts for Grandpa

Get him the Body Back Buddy and he'll probably think it's weird-looking at first, then quickly find out how helpful and practical it is. With this ingeniously designed massage tool, he can get at the knots in his shoulders and back easily. It doesn't require much strength, because it works on leverage.

I own the Body Back Buddy, and use it all the time on myself. Although I'm pretty sure my own 97-year-old grandpa is too weak now to use even this easy-to-use tool, I'm positive this would make a great gift for a grandfather of 50, 60, 70, and maybe even 80 if he's a strong guy.

Mug With a Twist

Two things you may not know: 1) Not all mugs are boring, and 2)Some grandfathers are impulsive. Others are as regular as clockwork: coffee for breakfast, coffee after dinner, each day, every day. That was my grandpa. If that's also yours, then a witty mug is a way to make him feel close to his family in small ways at regular times in the day. Tumbleweed Pottery mugs have a substantial, non-mass-market style to them.

Luxury Gifts for Grandpa

For a really special occasion - a milestone birthday, Christmas, an anniversary, his retirement, a wedding - get him a nice present. If it's too expensive, consider pooling together with the family.

SolidTek DM-L2 DigiMemo L2 8-1/2-by-11-Inch Digital Notepad
SolidTek DM-L2 DigiMemo L2 8-1/2-by-11-Inch Digital Notepad

If he's the sort who likes to write memos and take notes, this clever gadget turns handwritten notes into digital format. He won't have seen anything like it!

Kindle DX, Free 3G, 9.7" E Ink Display, 3G Works Globally
Kindle DX, Free 3G, 9.7" E Ink Display, 3G Works Globally

For grandfathers who like to read, this large-screen, crisp, clear Kindle with an eye-friendly display is the perfect luxury present.


Any grandfather, whatever the occasion, will love these gifts designed to make him proud of being a grandparent. Whether you call him Papa, Grandpa, Granddad, Gramps, or any one of the many different names people use for grandfather-people, he'll be so happy to get a birthday gift, Grandparent's Day present, Christmas or Hanukkah gift, or other offering. And remember, it's not the special occasion, but him, you're honoring, so you don't need to wait for his retirement celebration or whatever to give him something. Bring him one of these gifts on your next visit, or send it to him by mail, as I did - boy, did that stun him! - and he'll be thrilled.

See the author's disclosure statement regarding compensation for this article.


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