Experience Gifting for the Holidays

Updated: Aug 21

How to trade stuff for experience to learn the real meaning of the holiday season

By Robert Helfst

Every parent is all too familiar with the amount of stuff that comes with having kids and how much is added during the holiday experience. A lot of families have started to use the four gift rule – something you want, something you need, something to wear, and something to read or another similar variation. But what do you tell the grandparents, aunts, and uncles who want to buy your Ninja stuff?

Too many toys

With every year, every birthday, and every holiday more toys come in and nothing seems to leave. It’s not that we don’t appreciate our relatives spoiling our Ninjas with all of the things, but do they really need all of the THINGS? More and more households are taking a more minimalist approach to the number of toys. There are some serious benefits to this approach including longer attention spans, less clutter, and creativity that comes from imaginative play. So while experiences may not be wrapped with a big red bow, they can still go even further than that toy gathering dust in the playroom after its newness wore off.

Hold onto These Experiences Forever

Another huge perk of experience giving is the fact that the memories it creates will last forever. There are few things that a child really holds onto forever, and out of the ordinary experiences make a huge impact. These experiences become something that children will pass onto their children. You could be responsible for starting a whole new wonderful tradition for generations to come.

So What Experiences Should I Give?

It can literally be anything! There are so many different ways to give experiences! Here are a few favorites to start with:

Memberships last longer than Christmas morning

Memberships are a gift that lasts all year! With the gift of memberships, what is normally a big splurge for a family becomes a fun and {mostly} free day that they can enjoy anytime. Most city attractions offer great family membership deals and are full of built in extras like holiday celebrations, fall festivities and so much more. Some great ideas to check out for membership offerings are local zoos, ninja gyms, and museums.

Sports, games, and events

Going to a sports game is sometimes a once in a lifetime experience. Tickets are expensive, and then add in food and souvenirs, and you’re paying a hefty amount to watch your favorite team. There are ways to make it more affordable to give this experience though! A lot of teams offer discounts to members of their fan clubs (which are usually free to sign up for). Check the schedule for special nights like “family night” which can mean food vouchers come with each ticket or there’s more planned during the game, like fireworks and other activities. Lastly, don’t worry if it’s not the “best seats in the house”. Stadiums and ballparks are designed so that everyone has a great time no matter where they’re sitting.

Outdoor Activities to Look Forward to During Warmer Weather

There’s not always a way to give an experience during the coldest winter months, so why not give something for a Ninja to look forward to once it warms up? Horseback riding lessons, summer camps, and a trip to a waterpark are all awesome things to look forward to during the coldest months.

A Chance to Try Something New

The best part of experience gifting is the opportunity it creates for Ninjas to try something new that they wouldn’t otherwise get to do. It can be as large as a vacation to a new area and as small as an opportunity to try out a ninja gym they’ve never been to before. A Ninja is always excited and grateful to try new things.

So before you throw those 7 new toys into your cart at the mall, just think about the possibilities for memories that you could create by putting three or four of them back and choosing a new experience instead. And remember, these experiences aren’t just for the Ninjas either! Many Ninja moms and dads would love the gift of experiencing a nice date away from the kids or a relaxing massage. Most of the time that’s as easy as offering your babysitting services for a few hours!


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