1. Borrow a stack of DVDs from the local library.
You'll have enough movies to keep the grandchildren entertained for hours without spending a dime.
2. Set up a playroom with used toys.
Purchase them from the local Goodwill or The Salvation Army store. (Take a few minutes to scrub the toys; a spritz of disinfectant doesn't hurt either.) Afterward, donate them back to a charity and get a receipt; you can claim the donation as a tax deduction.
3. Play a white-elephant game.
Karen Hoxmeier, founder of mybargainbuddy.com, says each person brings an inexpensive, fun, wrapped gift. Then, everyone draws a number and takes turns choosing one present from the pile. Players can open a gift or "steal" someone else's and that player gets another turn. This goes on until everyone has a present. If you suspect that your grandkids may fight, skip the stealing part of the game.
4. Get together for a gift-making party.
The experts at The American Specialty Toy Retailing Association (astratoy.org) suggest picking up inexpensive craft kits at your local toy or crafts store.
5. Plan a scavenger hunt.
Hide toys from the dollar store around the house, write out a clue sheet, and let the grandkids hunt for toy treasures. It will keep the little ones busy and get double-duty out of the presents that you were going to buy anyway!
How well do you get along with your grandchild and other family members? Want to know if your personalities mesh?Find out here.