It’s the most wonderful time of the year, and you’ve got some shopping to do, right?
If you’ve got kids on your list—whether your own or someone else’s—allow me to give you a head’s up: They’ve got enough toys. Really.
Actually, they probably have way too many toys requiring all manner of storage solutions and regular yard sales or eBay postings along with constant reorganizing and picking up with possibly an entire room dedicated to housing them all. The kids may not even recall all of the toys they presently have.
First World problems, I know.
Despite what every advertisement you’ll see this holiday season tells you, however, toys are not the only gift option for kids.
What’s more, they’re not even the best option. Rather than adding another item that will be played with for minutes and then put away, let’s look outside the colorful storage box for our gift ideas, shall we?
(Disclaimer: Now, I’m not suggesting that kids should not have toys. I love toys. I value toys. I understand that the right toys are essential elements of play, which is crucial to every child’s development. More on that in a future article.)
However, the pace at which most children today accumulate their collection of essential playthings is astonishing. The average 3-year-old is all set. If they’ve got older siblings, they were born stocked.
If you’d really like your gifts to be meaningful and memorable to the kids on your list, this year consider shifting your focus to experiences over just more stuff.
Here are seven ideas for the kids on your list:
Do you know a little one who loves to paint? Someone who is interested in music? A little techie who wants to learn to code? A young sportsman who has been asking to take up golf?
Whether virtual or in-person, you can gift lessons that answer the budding curiosities and interests of any child on your list. The availability of these experiences today makes me downright giddy. Your gift will celebrate the recipient for who he or she is, and who knows what impact this simple gift might have on the child’s life.
A day of fun to look forward to is a delightful gift, for sure. Think bowling, ice skating, painting your own pottery, skiing, fun gyms, and the like.
Zoos, museums, aquariums, and all manner of specific interest groups offer season passes and memberships. Focus in on the interest of that special little someone, and give a gift that will last the whole year.
4. Event Tickets
The ballet, the theater, a concert, an upcoming convention or fair, the opera, a sporting event, the no-fail “Disney on Ice,” or simply the movies—give tickets to their long-time favorite or some experience you wish to introduce them to.
5. Restaurant Gift Cards
Know a little foodie? A chocolate lover? Someone who enjoys a fancy supper? A cupcake connoisseur? A pizza expert? Whatever the case, a gift card to a favorite restaurant or specialty bakery, and so on, would be a special treat.
Not experiences in and of themselves, but those little makers and doers have tools and supplies they need to keep on making and doing their things. These are items that do not add to the clutter per se because they are regularly consumed and need to be replenished.
Consider items like art supplies, crochet yarn, sewing fabric, golf balls, baking ingredients, bird seed, garden seeds, nail polish, guitar strings, and so on. Whatever your little people are into, stock them up this holiday season.
7. The Family Vacation
Want to knock their socks off?
If your family is planning a trip anytime soon, consider giving that to your kids for Christmas.
A gift of max excitement, you could include travel bags and supplies, a countdown calendar, brochures and books about your destination, and anything else that coincides with your trip.
If you were planning it anyway, you were likely going to make some purchases in preparation—bundle those into your holiday gifts and enjoy more time to delight in the anticipation of the trip.
And, hey, even if you weren’t planning a vacation, but you can, consider it. Time away together as a family is the gift of lifetime memories.