Every Thanksgiving break, my family works together to declutter our house. We box up toys and books that are ready for new homes. We clean out our dressers and closets and say goodbye to the things we don’t wear anymore.
And after all this hard work of getting rid of the things we no longer need, our home is yet again bombarded with piles of new stuff once Christmas day rolls around.
The holidays are the season for giving, and perhaps no one remembers that as much as our kids.
The excitement of waking up in the morning to find shining packages under the tree is enough to pull any bed-head out of bed before the break of dawn.
But once the excitement of the day is over and all the wrapping paper, boxes and bows are tossed out, what most families (including mine) are left with is yet another pile of toys and trinkets that will be added to the piles of gifts from years before.
A few years ago, I finally decided that my family had had enough. Christmas should be so much more than a time to amass more stuff.
I realized I wanted my family to remember Christmas as a time when we made memories together. And one of the best ways to do that was to give my kids the gift of experiences.
From new classes that let them dance or draw to memberships to museums or gyms, Giving the gift of experiences can have such a longer-lasting impact than a new toy for your child this season.
Here are 5 tips to revolutionize your family’s Christmas tradition and give the gift of experiences this holiday season.
1. Activity Classes
From dancing to drumming to drawing, buying your child activity classes encourage your child’s interests and allow them to grow and expand their skills.
Plus, activity classes are a great way to show your kid you pay attention to their passions, and want to support their growth.
2. Tickets to Events
Whether it’s a musical, play, sports game or concert, tickets to a special event is exciting for your child — and a great opportunity for family bonding.
And this gift gives your kids something to look forward to long after Christmas day is over.
Most kids look forward to those seasonal trips to the zoo, aquarium, museum, or skating rink. So what could be more exciting to your curious little tyke than a membership to their favorite place in town?
Not only do memberships encourage play and learning, but they’re another opportunity for the whole family to have fun together.
4. Special Dates
Does your kid love crafting? What about fishing, skiing or Frisbee golf? Give your kid a “coupon” to redeem anytime they want to spend the day with you doing the things they love.
It will mean the world to them to know they get to choose any day to do their favorite thing with their favorite person — you! (As an added bonus, you could include a few new art or craft supplies with this gift as inspiration for your next project together).
5. Outdoor supplies
If your family is anything like mine, we spend as much time outside as we can. And giving your child outdoor supplies can encourage this habit year-round.
From new hiking boots to skis to new gardening equipment or a fishing rod, outdoor equipment can feed your child’s sense of adventure and stoke their love for the outdoors.
These are just a few ideas to help move away from materialism and give your kids gifts that are so much more enriching to their lives than new toys.
And of course, the gift of dance, gymnastics or ninja zone classes with Mountain Kids is a great way to encourage exercise, play, and fun in the new year. Learn more about our programs and camps that can make wonderful gifts for your active child this holiday season >
Does your family have a holiday tradition that focuses on experiences rather than toys? Please share in the comments below!