Things and Stuff
Our lives and homes are overflowing with things and stuff. Things we hang on to, stuff we don’t need; material items that we buy because we want them, and then we never use them. The same is true for our children. They see a commercial for the latest toy or gadget, and they want it. And so, inevitably, we or someone else gets it for them. They play with it for a while, and then it just becomes part of the stuff we have, and they don’t remember who gave it to them or why. But we can change that; we can give them more of an experience.
Experience Over Presents
My husband and I decided a long time ago that we would ask our friends and family not to buy our children presents for their birthdays. Instead, if they wanted to get them a gift, they were to gift them an experience. We feel that our family and friends are important, and we want our children to grow up making memories and developing deeper relationships with all of them. We want our children to appreciate quality time and enjoy the company of others just as much, if not more than, they appreciate getting things. Our family was hesitant at first, having a long tradition of giving presents on birthdays, but after the first year, they were all on board. They too, were making memories with our children, and that was a gift for them as well. Here are five examples of experience gifts.
5 Experience Gift Ideas
1. Meal & a Movie- Pick the kid up and treat them to a special meal and a movie of their choice. You can get plenty of conversation in during the meal, and you’ll have something to talk about after the movie too! Plus, kids movies are usually pretty funny these days.
2. Activity- Do you have a mini golf, trampoline park, or other cool kid place near you? Take the kid to somewhere a parent might not frequent. A lot of times, these places are not every day experiences for kids and parents. Parents may have too many kids to take at one time, so if you could take just one, it would make it a real cool and special experience.
3. Museum or Zoo- Kids love going to museums and zoos! And whether you take them yourself, gift them a membership to go whenever, or even just a gift of a one-time admission, they will LOVE IT!! The membership or one-time admission option is an especially good idea if you don’t live close enough to take the kid yourself. Every time we go somewhere that someone has gifted us admission, we send them pics of our experience there to thank them.
4. Keeping it Simple -You don’t have to spend money to create an experience with a kid. You can schedule a day to simply go to their house and play with them. Or take them on a bike ride, or walk to the park. Maybe even schedule a sleepover at your house for them. Experiences are about creating memories and developing relationships, not about how much you spend.
5. Something to Read- Maybe you have a kid who likes to read and learn! A magazine subscription would be perfect! Not only do they GET MAIL, but you will have some interesting topics to discuss the next time you visit. Another option might be a gift card to the bookstore, or a trip to the library to get a library card and check out books. Or maybe simply grab some books, and head outside to read with them!