“Fill your life with experiences, not things. Have stories to tell, not stuff to show.”
Another year, another holiday where I am drowning in clutter. New toys, old toys, broken toys, and toys they don’t even remember they have.
Every year I tell myself (and family!)… please no more things.
As a family, we enjoy experiences significantly more than toys. It isn’t the play kitchen or the millions of LEGOs that our children are going to look back on one day and cherish. It is the trips to the zoo, the vacations, and the days spent together that are going to stand out in their minds.
Think about your own childhood. What stands out to you more? I guarantee there are only one or two toys that you can even remember let alone have an emotional connection to.
I’m not saying that we don’t buy toys or love seeing our daughters face when she opens a new toy on Christmas morning, but over the past few years, we have learned to limit our spending on toys and use it towards experiences that we will never forget.
Experiences to Gift Kids Instead of Toys
We have so many that we have tried out and love, but these are our favorite experiences to gift over toys.
One thing I either get for my daughter or let other family members know she wants is a movie theater gift card. She loves to have family dates to the movies where we share popcorn and coke and watch the newest cartoon out.
I usually get her a gift card that has enough for several movies on it that way she can go multiple times. If you go during the day it costs significantly less too!
We have done swim lessons, gymnastics, soccer, and most recently dance classes. It is such a fun gift to give to a child that lasts for months!
Most museums sell annual or season passes that you can use over and over again and we have some really great museums for kids in the Dallas area. Plus they are super educational!
Six Flags, Sea World, etc. We have had so much fun as a family at amusement parks or water parks over the years. The best part is that usually, attractions like this have activities for all ages so it can be a gift for the whole family!
Most zoos have some kind of season pass program where you can purchase tickets to get in several times per year. We love visiting the zoo as a family and there are a lot of opportunities to learn at the zoo too!
Vacations or Overnight Trips
We have a Great Wolf Lodge nearby and it is a popular destination for staycations!
Or you can make a vacation a big gift to give the whole family on Christmas!
I will never forget as a kid my favorite Christmas gift ever was tickets to my first concert (Christina Aguilera!). My mom gave me tickets for her, myself, and a friend of my choosing and it is still one of my best memories.
If your kids are interested in music or sports, try gifting them tickets to a game or show!
Technically this could be a crossover between a toy and an experience, but I would say it is definetly more of an experience. There are tons of kids subscription box companies that will send your kids a box of activities each month.
They are super fun for kids to do alone or with the whole family. A couple of our favorites are: