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Challenge: Reducing Holiday Stress

Gifting Experiences (instead of Toys)

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This article is written by Karissa Tunis For more on this topic, check out the full Gift Giving collection

Last year I decided to do something a little different for the holidays. I asked everyone on my side of the family to give my children Experiences instead of Toys. In the end it worked out, but I probably should have given some examples or suggestions along with this request.

At the time we had our house listed for sale, and I could not handle the thought of more "stuff" needing to be organized for each showing. So the request was really made for my sanity. However, in the end, I think my kids enjoyed it even more than I!

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Their favorite was a gift from my sister and her family. They gave each of my children a small wrapped gift which ended up being a book about fish for each of their levels of reading/interest, and then gave them a card with a certificate to the National Aquarium inside. My kids were thrilled! And over one of their school breaks, we planned for our two families to visit the Aquarium together. Not only was it a fun gift, but it created many fun memories that a year later we are all still talking about :)

Another favorite was a gift card to the zoo from my other sister. We already have a family membership, but often my kids like to jump on a ride or do an extra that's not included in our benefits. By having this extra gift card from my sister, it allowed us to make our next zoo trip extra fun! There was even enough left over to get something small from the gift shop to remind the kids of their favorite exotic animals (did I mention my daughter's favorite is an Okapi?!).

Toys are great, and my kids are very sentimental about everything they receive. But sometimes it's nice to bring the focus back to quality time. Material possessions definitely have their purpose, but a fun memory can last a life time! And it's easy to tie in a small souvenir if you like something physical to hang on to. Whether it's a trinket from the gift shop, a book about the topic, or even just a simple photograph that you can frame, there are lots of options for turning an Experience Gift into a lasting memory.

Some suggestions for Gifting Experiences are:

• Family passes to attractions - museums, zoos, aquariums, etc.

• Seasonal passes (make sure they are local so they can use multiple times) - the township pool, strawberry patch, apple orchard, pumpkin patch, Christmas tree farm, etc.

• A share of a local CSA Farm

• Gift cards to their favorite interactive places - laser tag, indoor play parks, arcades, etc.

• A picnic basket with a few goodies and a map of a fun park

• A certificate for a session or package of sporting lessons (example - gymnastics, dance, soccer, etc.)

• A family pass for a horseback riding trail adventure, or even horseback riding lessons

• A certificate to special classes - pottery classes, art classes, music lessons, etc.

• Concert tickets

• Create a scavenger hunt around a local playground and end with playtime

For more on this topic, check out the full Gift Giving collection

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