3 Ideas for Gifting Experiences Instead of Toys

Young girl looking at a science exhibit, close up.

3 Ideas for Gifting Experiences Instead of Toys

I was talking to a few mommy friends about Christmas shopping and came to the quick realization that all of us had a common frustration. We all had the desire to gift our little ones something unique and memorable that encapsulated the spirit of the giving season without contributing to more junk in our playrooms.

It was then I did what any young modern mother does in this day of instant information, I whipped out my iPhone and… I called my mama. I know, you probably thought I was going to search every corner of the Internet for this year’s top toddler toys, but trust me when I say that my mother is the ultimate authority on Christmas in our family. If I was going to change how we “did” Christmas, I’d have to get Granna on board. Much to my surprise, she completely consented to our Christmas crusade to “think outside the toy box” and gift our children with memories and experiences instead of more “stuff”.

We are so fortunate to be able to provide our kids with everything they could possibly need and the majority of what they want, and this year when we used the Kon Mari Method to organize and tidy our home, the thought of a new sea of toys washing over my living room Christmas morning left me in a cold sweat. Not to mention that objects and toys only provided them with fleeting and temporary joy. I flashed back to last Christmas when our little ones attention spans could only take in so much at a time, and when the gift count started to climb, they became more and more jaded with each subsequent present unwrapped. This year, I wasn’t going to make the same mistake, and I was so thankful to get the grandparents on the same page. I know we’re certainly not the only family who feels inundated by toys come Christmas, so I thought I’d provide some inspiration so that others who have had this revelation might also try gifting experiences and thinking outside the (toy) box this year!

1. Arboretum or Community Garden Membership

arboretum membership

Teach your tots about growing plants by getting their hands dirty! An arboretum or local garden membership is a great educational opportunity and so much fun. Our city’s arboretum offers family events throughout the year that are exclusive to members, so a membership is truly a gift for us all. A small potted plant, a gardeners wheelbarrow, and a book about horticulture are great ways to bring the Arboretum home.

2. A Night At The Nutcracker Ballet

nutcracker ballet

Most major cities host performances of The Nutcracker Ballet and what an incredible early present it would be for your little one to attend an annual show. I think sweet ballet slippers, a lovely Nutcracker doll, and the storybook adaptation would be great keepsakes from this incredible experience.

3. Museum Membership

museum membership

The museum of natural science is such a magical place for kids. Nothing is a greater gift than seeing your child’s eyes light up taking in the sheer size of a Dinosaur fossil. Bring the exploration home with a mini fossil dig, a cuddly Dino, and festive bedtime story.

Tell us, are you gifting experiences this year? We’d love to know how you’re thinking outside the toy box!

About the Author /

Sarah Ring is a small business owner living in Dallas with her husband of ten years. She is a mother to two elementary aged sons and one toddler daughter. She is passionate about travel, date nights, Southern manners & traditional children’s clothing but above anything else, finding grace in motherhood is her greatest accomplishment!

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