As we approach the gift-giving holiday season, it can be tempting for aunts, uncles, grandparents, parents, and caregivers to want to buy toys to give to the children in their life.
It sounds simple right? The kids ask their parents for a toy, the parents go out and buy the toy, the kids open it on Christmas, and then they play with it with excitement and happiness.
So, what’s wrong with this picture?
Well, there’s nothing exactly wrong. However, there’s something new emerging in the gift giving world that should be given some consideration. This has become popular among my own friend circles and in the parenting world, and this is the gift of giving experiences. I’d like to give a few reasons why you should consider giving this type of gift this holiday season to the children in your life.
Why You Should Consider Gifting Experiences
What does it mean to give a gift of an “experience”? It simply means that instead of giving a toy, you choose to spend the money on an “experience” instead of something tactile. This could look different in a variety of ways, and, later, I’ll list some ideas of what experiences might be good ones to give as a gift.
For now, I want to talk about the benefits of giving this type of experiential gift. Here are 4 ways that giving the gift of an experience can benefit your child.
- It fosters family unity.
When you give the gift of an experience, it’s something the whole family can enjoy. It creates lasting memories that everyone can remember and look back on together. Anything that encourages family members to spend time together is a win in my book, especially as the kids grow older!
- It takes the focus away from the tangible.
Children are never too young to grasp the true meaning of what values you hold near and dear as a family. It’s amazing what they can understand! Gifting an experience allows for kids to develop an appreciation for something greater than what they can hold. A tip for younger children: gifting something intangible as a gift can be hard for young children to understand. If you do have young children in your family, consider pairing the experience with something that they can use on their outing, such as a camera for taking pictures or a backpack filled with helpful supplies. This way, pairing the tangible with the intangible creates a more concrete understanding, while also creating anticipation for what is to come.
- It reduces waste.
Let’s face it, toys only provide entertainment for a few moments. Memories can last a lifetime! Gifting an experience can help the environment by keeping those toys out of the landfill.
- It creates an opportunity for your child to learn about something new.
Whatever the experience is that you choose to give your family, you’re giving your child the chance to learn about something new. The best part is that they will be learning in a fun, hands-on way!
Giving the Gift of Experiences
You might be thinking, sure, this is all great, but what kinds of “experiences” can I give as a gift?
Don’t worry – I’ve got some ideas for you! Here are 15 experiences that work as great gift ideas:
- Zoo Membership – Most zoos have an annual family pass. This is a great gift idea for families of young children but definitely one that kids at any age will enjoy. If the annual membership is too expensive, consider getting tickets to the zoo a few times a year.
- Community Theater – Usually community theaters will have a great variety of plays that younger kids, teens, and adults can enjoy at different times of the year. Investing in season tickets allows you to enjoy it all! If your child is into drama and acting, this is a great experience.
- Concert – Concert tickets are never a bad way to go. You can adapt this to the ages of your kids as needed.
- Amusement Park – This is a great gift for anyone who loves a thrill. Amusement parks have something for everyone at any age and are a great way to spend time together while enjoying an adrenaline rush.
- Aquarium – If you have an aquarium in your area, this pass is a great choice for an experiential gift because it can be used year-round. You can also use it to discover more about ocean animals and ocean life, which kids will really enjoy learning about.
- Trampoline Park – This is a great place to get all the wiggles out! Moms and Dads will have fun at the trampoline park too, making it a great family gift that can be used all year.
- Mini Golf/Fun Park – Fun parks have something for everyone to enjoy. Each fun park offers different options depending on where you are, but they commonly have games like bumper cars or boats, mini golf, and laser tag, etc. This is a fun option for teens.
- Circus – Children will love seeing the animals and acrobats at the circus. An option everyone will enjoy.
- Comedy/Magic/Puppet Show – This is another experience that can be tailored towards younger kids, older kids, or teens. If going to a comedy or magic show, check ahead of time to make sure it is appropriate for kids.
- Historical Society/Museums – Great for older kids and teens, buying an annual pass to a historical society or museum in your area is great for the history buffs in your family. Some places might even offer discounts for local residents.
- Science Center – Here’s another great option for older kids or teens. Purchasing a yearly pass is usually cheaper than buying tickets for the family one time! Many science centers feature several different exhibits throughout the year, so you’ll be able to experience a few different topics.
- Sporting Events – Sporting events are an exciting experience! If kids are not into the game, they can enjoy the snacks!
- State Park Pass – Getting a seasonal state park pass opens the door for easier access to camping, nature hikes, canoeing, and all things outdoors. This seasonal pass can be accompanied with the gift of a tent, sleeping bags, kayaks, etc. for some added fun.
- Community Center Membership – Most community centers are well equipped with a swimming pool, rock climbing wall, soft play area for toddlers and babies, a fitness area, a walking track, etc. This is a great option for families who love to stay busy in all seasons.
- Family Trip – Are you saving up to take the family on a trip? Christmas is a great time to reveal it! Make it fun by printing out photos of your destination and having the kids guess where it is.
Let This Year Be Different
If you’re still on the hunt for that perfect gift for your family this year, consider giving the gift of an experience. Your family will look forward to the time that they get to be together and the memories you will make. Who knows, you might even start a new holiday tradition!