The countdown to Christmas is in full swing. I have slowly started to make my shopping lists and start to grab things when I find them out. I have always been someone who loves to give to others. I thoroughly enjoy watching my children’s faces when they open up that one present that was on the top of their wish list that year. However, as I was making my shopping lists, I couldn’t help but think of how many times my child actually ends up playing with most of the toys Santa delivers. They always seem to have their favorite couple of presents that they cling to more than others, but most of them are inevitably thrown to the bottom of the toy chest or closet by the end of winter break. While I still want them to have the experience of opening presents on Christmas morning, I also know I want to cut back on how many presents will eventually get ignored. I decided this year I want to try gifting my children with experiences in addition to a few special gifts. This also made me realize that instead of putting pressure on myself to find other loved ones the perfect gift, I could pass along experiences to them as well. I feel like we lose the magic of Christmas when we are stressing over the perfect gift for everyone. I also love that when giving someone an experience, you can often share the moment together. The gift ends up being enjoyable for everyone and will create memories to last a lifetime. Check out some of my favorite experiences I thought of and heard about from other folks. Let me know if you decide to participate in any of them with your own family this year!
1. Have a “Yes” Day
I totally stole this idea from Jennifer Garner. She has revealed in interviews that she has one day a year where she says yes to any of her kids requests (obviously, she sets boundaries beforehand). However, for the most part, she says yes to her kids all day long. How fun could it be to have one day a year to have ice cream for breakfast and go do all of the fun and goofy things your kids love to do? I am sure you would be one tired Mama at the end of the day, but I think it sounds worth it!
2. Theatre or Movie Tickets
We love to go to the movies, but it can get quite pricey as a family of five. However, it would be more affordable if we cut out on a few toys this year and replaced it with a fun night out. If you want to give the experience to the adults in your life, try seeing if there are any fun theatre shows nearby instead of a movie. It can be fun to switch things up!
3. Sporting Event
There are always sporting events all year round in most major cities. Even if you do not live close enough to go to a professional team event, see what is going on at your local high schools or colleges. Sporting events are always a great way to kick back and show some team spirit, no matter what the sport or team is!
4. Paint Night
Paint nights can be a fun girls night out. Not only do you get to spend time being silly and catching up with your friends, you also get to take your artwork home with you. With this gift you are getting the best of both worlds- an experience and something to hold onto forever!
5. Cooking Class
Cooking class can be a great gift for adults or children, depending on the age restrictions of the class. Check out what your area has to offer online. You can sometimes find these types of classes being offered at your local community college, library or restaurants.
Spa days are a great gift to give someone who needs some R & R time. Depending on how much money you are looking to spend, there are a ton of different options to choose from. If an entire day is out of budget, look into a mani/pedi option or an express facial or massage. I personally love getting pampered for any amount of time and with any service!
7. Movie Night In
A movie night can be just as fun from the comfort of your own home! Check out what popular movies are trending or grab one of your favorites that you already own. If you’re able to, take time to splurge and do a few extra things to make this movie night stand out from others. You could build a blanket fort, make a popcorn and hot chocolate bar, order pizza, or make huge ice cream sundaes with all of the toppings!If you are feeling extra creative, you could even set up a fake concession area and create fake tickets for admission!
8. College Non Credit Class
Most community colleges offer non credit classes each semester. These classes are usually way more affordable than credited classes and don’t require books. I have seen some really fun things being advertised and open to the public to sign up for like photography, cooking, second languages, fitness and dance classes. See if anything in your area would be a good fit for one of your loved ones!
9. Comedy Show
The gift of laughter is one of my favorite gifts to give! What better way than to get tickets to a comedy show? Get online and see who’s coming to your area and grab some tickets for a fun date night out with your loved ones!
Skating always makes me nostalgic, no matter what kind it is! Pick a night and take the whole family to a local ice rink or roller rink for a fun night of laughing, falling and silliness.
11. Monthly Yoga Pass
A lot of yoga studios offer one month passes which can be a great way to see if it is something you enjoy doing before fully committing. If you have someone in your life who could use a little “Me” time, think about giving them a pass to try yoga. It could help them relax and feel better after the stresses of the holiday.
12. Dinner Date
I know that dinner out can really add up as well, especially when it is a family going. If you have a fun new restaurant in your area, think about getting a gift card for a family or couple that are on your gift list. It can be a missed experience for someone who doesn’t get to enjoy going out very often.
13. Amusement Park Tickets
Amusement parks are fun for the entire family. There is always something that can be found at an amusement park for any age! Check out Groupon or other sites online to see if you can score a good deal on tickets. Once the weather gets warmer outside, head to your local park to soak up some sun and fun with your family!
14. Concert Tickets
Any music lovers in your life? I always love going to a good concert and enjoying a night out listening to my favorite tunes. There are also a lot of local kid concerts that are offered in most cities. It is a great way to introduce music to your kiddos and have an excuse to break out your dancing shoes!
15. Photo Shoot
A fun photo shoot is probably my favorite experience idea of all! I can’t think of anyone who doesn’t love to get pictures taken with their families. Check out local photographers and see what kind of holiday specials they are offering. You can often find someone who offers mini sessions at affordable prices. It’s a great way to grab a few awesome pictures that your family will be sure to cherish for years to come!