O.K. They go see Santa; they make their lists; they may even have an “elf on a shelf” watching over their behavior during this magical time, and an advent calendar with candy or trinkets. The anticipation grows with each day, until on Christmas morning, they find their beloved treasures under the tree.
But maybe there are other ways to make Christmas special for your kids. After all, 5 years from now, will they remember what they received this year? Probably not. One thing we know as adults is that it is not “things” we remember, it is experiences. So, here are some experiences you can give your kids that will make Christmases special to them as they look back as adults.
- Place Excursion Envelopes Under the Tree
- Provide a Learning Experience
- Get Tickets
- Adopt a Family
- For Those College Kids
- Make Cards for Others
- Plan Days for Events
Plan one large trip/adventure or two-three smaller ones to be taken over the holiday break or into the new year. Go somewhere they have never been before. Even a train ride is a great idea (most kids haven’t been on a passenger train). Or how about a hot air balloon ride for the family?
What does your child have a special interest in? Give him/her a series of lessons in that area.
Have a sports fan in your house? Tickets to a few of those games would be phenomenal, especially when a parent goes too. And if attending means travel, make a weekend of it. Find the best service for weekend packages, and it’s a wrap. For older teens, give tickets for two so they can take a friend.
Older kids would also be thrilled with concert tickets if their favorite artist is coming in the next year.
If there is no such project at your church, find a professional service that allows you to adopt a family. Begin in early December and have several shopping excursions with the kids. With a list from the family, let them pick out the items and wrap them. There may be fewer gifts under the tree for them, but teaching the spirit and joy of giving is important. And they will remember the experience – especially if you make it an annual tradition.
It’s hard to plan experiences for college students, when usually all they want is money. Instead of writing a check or giving a generic gift card, identify their needs so that you can be more specific. Do they have a car? A prepaid gas card or certificates for oil changes would be welcome. One parent of a Ph.D. student even prepaid for the editing of her son’s dissertation through the dissertation writing agency, OKDissertations Service. He was grateful to have the chance to use a professional writing agency and not to have to go the cost out of his tight budget. Kids who are grad students can all use some help from a dissertation or thesis writer who can provide some solid help. Much better than the latest gadget.
Making Christmas cards for the troops or for those in nursing homes is something parents and kids can do together, and it’s especially fun to deliver them to nursing home residents.
There can be Christmas cookie or ornament making day or both. Have a Christmas movie viewing night in pajamas with popcorn. Have a night of driving around and looking at Christmas decoration on homes. These can become traditions that occur every year.
Very year, people decry the commercialization of Christmas. In fact, it has become such a trite observation and commentary, that we have all turned a deaf ear. Of course, we want to provide our loved ones with gifts. We love to give and to see their delight when a package is opened. But, rather than complain about how much money we spend, perhaps it is time to take a bit of it and use it in new and different ways. Giving experiences; teaching our kids to be of service to others, and providing events that will be memorable far longer than the “things” of Christmas, will have long-lasting impacts.