Christmas is the most wonderful time of the year!
I am a Christmas fanatic. I have many Christmas traditions that roll out every year and I pretty much listen to carols and eat Candy canes as soon as they hit the shops!
It is a time of giving and I absolutely love buying presents for everyone. Especially our kids and all our nieces and nephews.
But this year I have decided that I want to buy less “things” for my own kids.
( Our Family pic Christmas 2018 )
Last year, just before Christmas I did a special Starlight visit for a group of seriously ill children and when asked what they want for Christmas, one of them simply said a ball.
Out of everything he was suffering, he just wanted a simple ball.
That stuck with me.
Then comes Christmas morning 2018, and our family is quite extended on both mine and my husbands side with 4 sets of grandparents, loads of aunties and uncles, cousins and amazing family friends.
Jude sat there in front of our tree and opened close to 27 presents from family and friends and I felt ashamed!
Ashamed that my perfectly healthy child was just ripping apart paper and going wow but then moving to the next thing. It felt like there was far too much for him to even enjoy. And all I could think of was that little boy who was happy with a ball. I cried unexpectedly and felt sick that all this mountain of gifts was rather excessive.
So I made the decision that this year would be different. This year would be a few solid gifts from Santa, one big gift from us ( Mum and Dad) and I kindly asked family to perhaps pool together to get one or two large gifts that were something he might need or want or to buy experiences for the kids to enjoy.
At first some of our family thought that was a bit weird. But then they welcomed it.
I didn’t want to appear ungrateful for their kind gestures of gifts for my children. I just wanted to teach my kids that Christmas is not just about endless toys.
I also feel that toys can get out of control and turn into unused junk that just gets broken. And that to me seems like a waste of the gift givers money.
But an experience type gift, you give the child a wonderful journey to look forward to and you also give the most precious gift of all…. time. Time for the child to go on that experience with their Mum / Dad / friend / Grandparent etc. Time is much more valuable and fun for the whole family! It also helps kids to build skills and learn at the same time.
So I wanted to share with you the types of experiences I am giving to my kids, plus some others that I will use down the track.
When I gift an experience to a young child I recommend printing out some photos of the place so they can visualise it and look forward to the place or adventure they are going to go on.
Experience Gift Ideas
- Movie tickets or movie voucher ( Kids love going to the movies! and its a great way to spend a day of the holidays)
- Animal park voucher ( We are going on holidays so my Sister in Law is gifting tickets to one of the venues we are going )
- Tram ride
- A Voucher for a day out on the ferry or river cat in Brisbane
- An annual theme park pass ( We got Jude this for his birthday and it is actually the best value and kids love it! We just go once a week for 2-3 hours)
- Putt Putt voucher
- Ten pin bowling
- Build a Bear
- Museum visit
- Zoo pass
- Trampoline or Inflatable World pass ( most cities have these places)
- Aquarium visit
- Ice Cream date in the park or the local pool
- A night out to their favourite restaurant
- Rock Climbing
- Horse riding
- Tickets for sports events
- Dolphin swim
As you can see the list could really go on and it can be unique to your child and their likes.
I am not saying that toys are bad, I am just saying sometimes they can get out of control and I hope by sharing this, it might help others realise there are alternatives that are fun.
I also encourage you all to ask your child to chose a gift from the shops that you can donate to a charity for those in need. It is a tradition we follow each year and I think it is important.
Merry Christmas to you all and I hope you have a wonderful Christmas!