Trading More Kids’ “Stuff” for Christmas Gifts That Make Memories

Experience Christmas Gifts

Christmas is here and with it comes the search for the “perfect Christmas gift”. Often time’s children get inundated with trinkets and toys that pile up and become overwhelming from a parent standpoint. Unique experience Christmas gifts are a great way to alleviate some of this holiday anxiety while at the same time making lasting memories. I know as a parent I would personally be elated if someone did some of these things for my children instead of getting them more “stuff”.

Here are some ideas that I think would be valuable to fill their memory bank instead of the clutter your house!

Experience Gifts:

A Membership to the Children’s Museum and/or Science Museum

We LOVE our local Children’s Museum!

These museums are gems, filled with play-based learning that you can do with your children. They become a great haven for kids to explore and learn with new materials. Get a family pass for them to go any time throughout the year or just a few passes for them to go with you! Set aside the time to go with them and get in on the action as they create projects, do experiments, try out hands-on stations, and have tons of fun! Best of all you are helping foster their love of learning!

A Membership to the Local Zoo, Playgroup Areas, Pools, Arboretums, etc.

Do a little digging for some fun local areas to take kids. Many of these places sell memberships or passes that you can give as Christmas gifts. As a Mom who loves to take the kids on adventures, having memberships to different places can be very helpful. Often pools, zoos, arboretums, nature centers, and playgroup areas have season passes that might not normally be in the budget but if they receive it as a gift they may be able to experience it more often.

My girls loved experiencing the Butterfly House at Beaver Creek with their Mema and Grandma-Great!

In our local area, we have unique places such as Tiny Tots or the Indoor Sports Center, where kids are able to play. These venues are especially nice in the winter or on rainy days! We also have Beaver Creek Reserve which has a lot of fun nature trails and activities, as well as an area for the kids to play. Our local pool also sells summer passes that might be a fun idea, however, living in the midwest this gift wouldn’t be used until summer…or for a winter option, we have a local volleyball complex that turns the sand area into an indoor kids’ beach party! They sell passes for that as well!

Indoor beach parties are perfect for March in WI!

When we were in Dallas, we fell in love with their Arboretum. It had a whole area dedicated to children where they could explore and learn in an outside setting that was similar to a children’s museum. You can bet that if we lived there, we would LOVE a membership!

Each city has its own unique venues for children!

Dig around the area that the children live in and find out what are the great family-friendly places. There might be a whole bunch of hidden gems that you can help them experience. Any of these places would make great Christmas gifts! Parents would be thankful and kids would be reminded of you each time they visit!

Classes for the Children

Swimming lessons were a hit with this little fish!

Cooking classes, dance classes, karate, soccer, piano lessons, painting classes…all of these are fun activities for kids but add up for parents. It is such a blessing when a family member says that these lessons will be their Christmas or birthday gift!

We have a fun place called The Lily Pad lab that offers a variety of different classes geared towards younger children and their parents. As a mom of three, I struggle with providing a class for one and not the other. Taking all of them to class would break the bank! Having the flexibility to do this because it was given to them as a Christmas gift can be such a relief as a parent. You want your children to have experiences, but they must fit in the budget as well! You can feel good that you are helping out the parents and helping give them experiences to make them a well-rounded person.

If someone does give them a class as a gift, we always make it a point of talking to the children each time we go to the lesson how lucky they are that they are able to go because “Grandma Susy” got them these classes. And as an added bonus, if you are able to go with them to the classes that would be even better! Then you are making memories with them!

Day-Date

My oldest spent an evening packing meals for people in need with her Mema.

Taking the children on a date is a great Christmas gift! They will be so excited to have that special one-on-one time with you. It will be something you can be sure they will talk about for days and they will remember for years! Do something they enjoy together whether it is going to dinner and a movie, go bowling, play at the library, checking out a park, or picking out a craft at the craft store to go home and complete together. Giggle, have fun, and let their youthful excitement rub off on you!

What kid wouldn’t like a date to Chuck E. Cheese?

Trampoline Park Pass

Trampoline park Christmas gifts

Winter time and rainy days make for lots of cooped up energy! Give them the gift of time at the Trampoline Park! By the end of it, they will happily have quiet rest time and their parents will be so thankful!

Theater Productions

Get them tickets to see a live theater production! Support the local arts while providing the children with a cultured experience of viewing a live theatrical performance. This year we are giving our girls tickets to go see the Annie at our local theatre, ECCT. They are so excited and so are we!

Tickets to Unique Events

Christmas gifts
Tickets to the Princess Tea for a gift!

Is someone a big music buff? Does another one love princesses? Is one in love with a certain sport? Get tickets to a concert, Disney on Ice, Princess Tea Parties, or a local sports game. Take them to the event and invest in that time together. Not only are you investing time with them but you are also showing them you are in tune with what things they like and care about their interests.

Hotel Stay/Water Park Night

What is more fun than spending the night at a hotel and hitting up their pool!? Rent some movies, pop some popcorn, and swim to your heart’s content! Enjoy the time together. That is more important than any toy that will lose its luster after a few days.

Kids Love Mail:

Millennials are big into things coming to them in the mail. Subscription boxes are in big demand. And let’s be honest, who doesn’t love it when something shows up in your mailbox or on your doorstep? They are also a great Christmas gift that keeps on giving for months! It can be something easy for relatives that are farther away or who aren’t as familiar with local venues. Here is my tip since I’m all about making connections and going the extra mile…have them Facetime or Skype when they open the box or get the subscription each month! You can still be a part of the excitement from afar.

Magazine Subscriptions

My grandparents did this for me as a child and I loved it! Now our children get a magazine a month sent to them and it is so fun to watch their excitement when it comes in the mail! Here are some great magazines to look into:

Box Subscriptions

Christmas Gifts

There are so many fun subscription boxes to choose from. My current favorites are The Story Box and the newly launched Little Feminist Book Club for kids. I love books and these provide questions and interactive activities that go with the stories! And while you are at it maybe you want to look at a Date Night In subscription for the adults!

Why These Types of Christmas Gifts?

I recently was at dinner with a good friend whose Aunt was passing away. One thing she said really resonated with me. She said, “She was the Aunt that got down on the floor and played with us and spent time with us.” It was in the little things that she did to foster a relationship by creating experiences together that she honored and remembered at the time of her passing.

At the end of the day, it will not matter how many things you bought them, but what will stand out is that you connected with them!

20 thoughts on “Trading More Kids’ “Stuff” for Christmas Gifts That Make Memories”

  1. We are on a minimalism kick over here and this is a great list! I’m going to tell my family about the subscriptions as my kids are obsessed with mail right now. What a great idea!!!

  2. What a great list! I will definitely be encouraging this kind of gift giving with my extended family. And I love the idea of a subscription box☺ Thanks for sharing!

    1. Magazine subscriptions are the best! My grandparents ordered me American Girl growing up and I would pour over those for hours. My girl’s grandma ordered them the highlights and they do the same! It is so fun getting something like that in the mail!

  3. I love the idea of giving the kids (and adults) experiences as gifts! Creating special memories is the best kind of gift. We usually do a house decluttering and donations before the holidays to prepare. I’m definitelly using some of your ideas for inspiration. Thanks for sharing!

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