We love Christmas but sometimes the stuff that comes along with it, can leave us feeling stressed. We have started giving experiences to our kids and it has been so much fun! Gifting experiences is a great idea for grandparent gifts too! Your grown up children will thank you for creating memories for your grandkids and keeping their homes clutter-free.
Why give experiences this Christmas?
We all know that the excitement over a new toy fades over time. If our Marie Kondo Mondays taught us anything, it’s that we all have more stuff than we use. More than that, the stuff we own can actually contribute to discontent and stress. By contrast, our memories grow fonder with time. Even negative experiences become stories that are bonding for families to laugh about later. You enrich the life of someone by furnishing their minds with lovely experiences they can draw on throughout their lives. It really is the gift that keeps giving!
How to Give an Experience-
Last year we gave our family a trip to Hawaii for Christmas. Because we weren’t on vacation yet, on Christmas morning, we still wanted to have them open something up to reveal the gift! We gave them items that they’d need for the trip as clues to help them figure out what they were getting! We wrapped up sunblock, beach towels, sunglasses and new swimsuits. (All things I needed to buy for the trip anyway!) It was a memory I will cherish as they figured out what we were doing! Everyone had so much fun with the game of it.
When gifting an experience, I love the idea of wrapping something useful as a clue to what the gift is. It makes it a game and still gives them the chance to unwrap on Christmas morning. My mom always gives experience gifts and does a little gift to go with it.
Thank you Walmart.com for sponsoring this post
10 Experience Christmas Gift Ideas for Kids-
#1- Vacation Somewhere
I mentioned we gave Hawaii last year. That was a big gift. If you have something similar planned this year, consider luggage as a gift. Headed to Disneyland? How about some Disney shirts for the whole family! It is kind-of funny how excited my girls get over luggage. This luggage set was very affordable and so cute inside. You could fill it with things you will actually need on your vacation as part of the gift!
PS- buying your Disney shirts before you go is way more affordable and so many cute options I found at Walmart.com
#2- Hotel Staycation – (go somewhere with a pool!)
If a big trip isn’t in the plan this year, think about a staycation. Our kids love going anyplace and staying in a hotel, especially one with a pool! You could gift this for Christmas, and then go during Christmas break! How about some new swim trunks or suits as a clue? Or flip flops? Or a mini makeup bag (this one was $5!!!) with some essentials in it.
It is fun to be an explorer in your own town! See what it has to offer. Check out Groupon for great hotel deals and fun activities to do while you are on your staycation. A fun clue for this would be an overnight bag (only $12!!!), or pajamas (LOVED these Christmas pajamas!!).
#3- Ski Lessons/ Snow Shoeing/ Tubing-
Give the gift of learning a new skill! Think about ski or snowboard lessons or a tubing excursion. Give the gift of a beanie and scarves or gloves with this one.
#4- Museum Pass or Aquarium Pass-
My kids love the museum! (This one is a particularly great grandparent gift). If you have a museum or planetarium nearby, consider giving the gift of a year long pass to visit! Even a day pass is fun! Wrap up some dinosaur pjs or books for this or your kids favorite animal as a stuffed animal. If you do have younger kids, like Finn, he still very much likes to play with toys. BUT he doesn’t require much to be entertained. I did give Finn these $12 dinosaur pajamas and you would have thought I gave him a real dinosaur, he played pretend dinosaur forever, and he creatively got out his mini PJ Mask Gekko and happily played! So I recommend giving a small little toy with an experience gift if you have young ones. (PS- those “How Do Dinosaurs” are really cute books!)
#5 -Tickets to see a Broadway Musical
We gave Lola last year tickets to The Lion King for her Birthday instead of a big party and gave her a couple smaller gifts. And Ella chose to go to Hamilton. It would be fun to find a nice outfit to wear to the show! (I got the girls this matching red buffalo check dress and this plaid dress to give for their experience- date night gift! Or I might give them before Christmas to wear to church for Christmas!)
#5- Date with Mom and Dad
My kids love this one! Depending on the child, they may want the reins and help to plan it. Others may just want to be surprised. That sweet one on one time is wonderful for strengthening relationships and helping them feel special. It can be as simple as being checked out of school for luck one day! I would give a bag, shoes or outfit with this one! (LOVE these faux fur leopard print sweatshirts I got my girls).
#6- Zoo Pass
My mom has actually given our kids this a couple of times for Christmas and we all LOVED it (especially me!!). I would always remind the kids that it was a Christmas gift from grandma as we went through the year and always sent her a photo when we were there. You could give a mini backpack (very useful for snacks and water etc) and a new pair of shoes. I found both the cute shoes and backpack at Walmart.com in the Ellen Degeneres collection! SO affordable, the backpack was $10, so you really aren’t spending a lot of extra money, the pass is the main attraction!
#7- Bedroom Makeover
Your child may love to be surprised with a new bedroom for Christmas! If they would love to be part of the planning and design, give them a budget and shop together. They will remember the fun you had every time they are in their room! Consider wrapping up an alarm clock, throw pillow, or comforter to help them guess the gift! Loved the makeover we did below for a little girls room- this bed from Walmart.com is so unique, bed AND a place to play (check out the makeover here).
Cooking class? Singing lessons? One of my kids would LOVE this as a gift! Especially if their love language is quality time.
You can find subscription boxes for nearly any interest. Think of how many you see offered just on social media. Just type an interest, plus the words “subscription box” into google and you’ll likely have at least one option pop up!
#10- Tickets to a Sporting Event
So many kids would be over the moon for this! Our kids just love going places. Try looking for tickets now to kids favorite sport so you get the best price and don’t miss out on getting the tickets.
What’s better than creating family memories together? Really if we can strengthen our relationships and have less “things” that really go unused is a huge gift in itself.
Our trip to Hawaii last year was a highlight of 2019 and no one missed the toys. You can read all my Hawaii tips here.
Paula Berger says
I love this! My mom started gifting us a weekend away to Door County, WI about 8 years ago. She paid for the hotel and would watch our boys! It’s been hands down one of the best gifts and we still go every year, now our boys just have dinner with grandma while we’re gone since they are old enough to be home alone!
Emily Maiocco says
Great gift ideas Brooke!! I love the gifts that don’t clutter our lives but fill our hearts and memories!! 💕
SO clever! I love all of these ideas! I think we’re going to gift a trip to Disney this year and you’re making me feel much more confident about that rather than a heap of toys. Experiences are what they remember. Thanks for the tips!