Raise your hand if your kid needs more toys. No?
Oh come on, how about a few dozen more plastic things cluttering up your house and then getting forgotten in a closet a few weeks later? Don’t call us a Scrooge yet – we’re not anti-gift, we’re just pro-experiences as gifts, instead.
Experience gifts can check the box in several different ways. An experience can be used now or later, or even throughout the year (if it’s a membership, for example). Experience-based gifts open the door to invite friends and family along with you, too, bringing everyone together for fun.
So, this holiday season, think outside the box and consider giving an experience instead of a thing. Here’s our list of the seven best experience gifts to consider for Hanukkah, Christmas, or other winter gift-giving celebrations.
Explore Your Favorite Museums
Do you have a favorite spot in your city or a nearby city that offers a membership? Consider adding it to your list and then making it a priority to make it there more often in the coming year. Memberships are more cost-effective than buying individual entrance passes, particularly for larger families, and can make the dreary days of winter more tolerable! Look for museums that participate in national reciprocal membership programs for an even greater bang for your buck. Too pricey to add to your list? Add day passes or punch cards to your list instead.
Getting outside into nature more often is a great way to de-stress and connect with the planet we live on. Many state parks are home to great hiking trails, playgrounds, and nature centers just waiting to be explored. Park entrance fees vary but are often between $7-15 per visit, and with a state park pass, you have an excuse to see them all.
Try Something New
Are your kids getting tired of swim lessons and soccer practices? Give them an experience that is different from traditional sports – NinjaZone. NinjaZone classes combine gymnastics, martial arts, parkour, and obstacle training to instill confidence in children ages 18 months - 11 years old. Many NinjaZone locations offer trial classes and gift certificates for classes, and with over 300 locations, you’re sure to have one near you.
Do you have a local art studio or paint your own pottery location in the area? What about a tie-dye shop or cooking school that you’ve been meaning to check out? Encourage your child to get creative and make something they normally wouldn’t with a gift card to a crafty spot.
The Tickets You Wanted to Buy Anyway
Admit it – you saw that touring Broadway show was coming to your area next year and was contemplating tickets anyway…say yes, and give them as a gift! Check out your go-to ticketing site to get an idea of what’s coming to your area in the coming months or poke around on Facebook to see which events your friends are responding to. Plays, musicals, Disney on Ice, Monster Truck Jam, and local high school and college productions are all possibilities!
Take Me Out to the Ball Game
This goes along with the previous category, but sporting events are fun opportunities to try something new and experience a big crowd cheering for the home team. Tickets to professional sporting events can be expensive, so unless you have a child who is a big fan of a specific team, look around for tickets to smaller, more affordable events instead. Minor league baseball and soccer, or college football or basketball games can be just as fun as professional team games at a fraction of the cost.
Take It On the Road
When was the last time you took a family vacation? Travel as a family builds lasting memories for years to come…and doesn’t have to cost you an arm and a leg. Check out State Park Inns, VRBO, Airbnb, and Groupon for deals. Consider even just a weekend trip to a hotel in your closest major city (or downtown in your current one!) Children don’t need a lot of bells and whistles to make a vacation fun. A hotel with a pool, vending machine, and a late bedtime can make for a great family vacation!