There are nights where I wake up nearly screaming from a bad dream. Maybe you’ve had it, too. It’s the dream where I’m drowning in all of the toys and clutter in my children’s rooms!
A few years ago I realized that my kids didn’t need more toys every Christmas or birthday. So I began asking grandparents, aunts and uncles, and godparents for things that they need (clothes, books, etc.) or for experiences. It has worked wonderfully! Some of our favorite gifts have been those experiences that we have enjoyed as a family.
If you would like to reduce toy clutter and promote enriching memory-making experiences, here are the:
6 Best Experiences to Give as Gifts
1. Craftsy Class
Do you have a teen or tween who loves photography, cooking, or crafting? Craftsy offers high-quality classes in a wide variety of subjects. I have recently been taking a cooking class, and I absolutely love it! The videos are great, I can work at my own pace, and the materials are professional quality. The courses would also make great gifts for other family members. Do you have a mother who loves to quilt? A father who is into gardening? A sibling who wants to learn to make jewelry or decorate cakes? There’s a course for that! There are currently some really good deals on the courses (up to 50% off!), so take a look HERE!
2. Museum Membership
This past Christmas, my parents gave our family a yearlong pass to our local children’s museum. It has been a life-saver! At least once a month I have taken the kids there on rainy days, snow days, hot days, or days where we just needed to get out of the house. We easily paid for the cost of the membership within the first three months. Is there a museum near you? How about a zoo? An amusement park? Some other attraction? Consider asking for a family membership this Christmas, and you will make memories all year long.
3. Lessons or Sports
We have had great success asking grandparents to give the gift of lessons or sports for our kids. They have paid for swimming lessons, baseball, and soccer. One Christmas my parents gave Big Brother swimming lessons. My mom, being the creative person that she is, made a nice little package for him with a swimsuit, goggles, and a “gift card” for the lessons. He loved it and had a blast swimming that summer. Fun, practical, and no clutter. A win!
4. Magazine Subscriptions
Magazine subscriptions are one of my go-to gift ideas. I love finding great deals on magazines that fit the interests of people I love. For example, a couple of years ago I saw an amazing deal ($8 for an entire year!) on a popular cycling magazine on the website Best Deal Magazines that I knew my brother would love. It made a fantastic Christmas present that he was able to enjoy the whole year. My kids also receive magazines (Highlights and National Geographic Kids) from their grandparents. Great fun! You can find hundreds of magazine subscriptions (some–like Family Circle and Women’s Day— as low as $5 for a year!) on Best Deal Magazines. Check it out!
5. Park Passes
If you live near a national park or are planning a summer road trip, then the America the Beautiful Annual Pass would make a perfect Christmas present. For $80 you can have unlimited access to any national park, as well as national forests. We live very close to Shenandoah National Park and would love to visit more frequently; however, it’s $20 a visit. An annual pass would allow us to take advantage of the amazing hiking trails and scenery more often. (I think you know what’s on my Christmas list this year!)
6. A Special Date
Finally, taking a child on a special date can be a wonderful experience and gift. Does your child enjoy ballet? Attend a production of The Nutcracker together. Do you have a sports fanatic? Give her tickets to attend a professional game. Have a great time making memories as you experience an outing together.
This year I’m looking forward to giving and receiving many gifts of experience, to making memories with my family, and to taming the toy clutter. How about you?
What are your favorite experiences to give as gifts?
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