The things our children will look back and remember as adult won’t ever be the toys they received from Santa on Christmas morning. It will be the memories and experiences – not just from around the holidays but all year long. It’s not what they receive, it’s who they spend time with and what experiences they have. These non-toy gifts will help you give your children memorable experiences to last all year long, and for many years after that!
And don’t forget to snag your Kid’s 99-Page Holiday Activity Kit, complete with Elf on the Shelf Notes & Letter Boards, Letter to Santa, Activity Sheets, Countdown to Christmas, Christmas Scavenger Hunts & I Spy Games, and much more!
I am coming down off a cleaning and purging binge.
Every couple of months I hit a breaking point. I spend picking up, cleaning, and sorting all the belongings in our house that it’s all I feel like I do.
I want to play with my kids, but there is another mess or another pile to sort through.
It’s evident that we have too much stuff. Specifically, toys.
When this happens my palms get twitchy and I start grabbing things to throw away.
If I see a toy laying on the floor… in the trash.
A single sock laying on the floor… gone.
A pile of coloring books that have been sitting on the counter for a week…. see ya later.
But this time, I went pretty far when I was in purge-mode.
When the kids went to sleep one night last week, I ransacked the playroom, the toy box, and army crawled into their bedrooms to lurk around with my flashlight.
I filled my car full of boxes and bags of toys, clothes and equipment they’d long ago lost interest in, outgrown, or hadn’t played with in ages and did a late night drop at Goodwill all before anyone would see the pile of bags (and drag everything back out.)
The next morning, I felt a pang of guilt for getting rid of so much in such a sneaky way all while I sipped my coffee eyeing the kids over the brim to see who would say something first.
And you know what?
After a week, no one even noticed all the toys that were gone or asked for help finding anything!
That’s the moment I swore up and down we were doing something different for Christmas this year! We would not be filling our spaces back up with toys I would one day again purge on another cleaning bender.
Toys Should Not Be The Focus of Christmas
I grew up in a house where mountains of wrapped presents practically ate our Christmas Tree alive each year. We’d sit down on Christmas Eve to unwrap a huge pile of gifts and then again on Christmas morning to unwrap another pile of presents, tearing through one box after another, not even pausing to appreciate the toy we had just opened.
When I think back to all the Christmases we had, as an adult I can’t tell you a single toy I remember receiving.
What sticks with me are the traditions and memories around the holidays, not the toys.
This is precisely why we’re drastically cutting back the number of gifts each of our kids is receiving this year, and instead focusing on non-toy gifts.
That’s right, we’re gifting experiences and creating memorable time together as a family. Sure, my kids will get a small handful of presents but they’ll be more books, art supplies and maybe even a subscription box they can revel in all year long, but the “big ticket items” will be experiences.
PS – If you still want ideas for Christmas of the non-toy kind, be sure to check out our Epic Gift Guide with gifts kids will be excited to open and will last for months, if not years.
When You Plan Christmas Presents for Your Kids This Year…
Before you buy your children and your family one more toy this holiday season, consider giving them a memory making experience.
Children and Parents hold onto memories; they don’t remember toys and objects. What they do remember are meaningful times, places, trips they took and experiences they had with family and friends.
These experiences, just as important as the traditions you have with your family, create a lasting family bond, a sense of belonging and security for children.
Memories last a lifetime, toys don’t.
These wonderful experiences are ones you can be excited to give to your children, grandchildren, cousins and friends. Rest easily knowing that the memories they create will leave them happier than any toy ever would.
NON-TOY MEANINGFUL GIFTS KIDS WILL LOVE
- Movie Tickets
- Family Membership or Admission to a Local Attraction: Zoo, Aquarium, Museum, Children’s Museum, Ride on the Train or even a Kid’s Gym like Gymboree
- A Special Day or Overnight Trip
- A Box of Books Delivered to Your Doorstep! Amazon has launched Prime Book Box, which is a subscription that delivers hand-picked children’s books every 1, 2, or 3 months at a steep discount. Inspire a love of reading—new adventures await in every box! Ages for book boxes are broken up by Baby 0 – 2, Ages 3 – 5, Ages 6 – 8 and Ages 9 – 12.
- Supplies for Camping or Something your family participates in on an annual basis. Sleeping bags and a family-sized tent may just be on our list this year too!
- Tickets for a Train Ride
- Sports Tickets – MLB, NFL, Basketball, Soccer, etc.
- A Family Outing – Amusement Park, Local Activity, Pottery Painting, Rock Climbing, Ice Skating, Jumping Gym, Bowling, Skating, Zip Lining, Horseback Riding, Roller-Skating, etc.
- Musical Instrument and Lessons
- Magazine Subscription – We love Kid’s National Geographic and Little Kid’s National Geographic, Highlight Magazine and Ladybug
- Fort Building Supplies – This blanket fort kit is awesome and we have so much fun building with it!
- Monthly or Quarterly Kit Subscription Service – See the full list of the BEST subscription boxes that give to kids all year long!
- Art Supplies and/or a Class – art supplies for kids of every age are always great gifts to foster your a child’s love for the arts, as well as use their imagination. A great option would be to pair art supplies with an experiences such as paint and brushes with a trip to a local paint your own pottery excursion or another form of art creation class.
- Tickets to a Play, Production or Musical
- Outdoor Equipment – A jungle gym, trampoline, climbing dome, bikes for the entire family, active equipment the entire family can do together. We’ve had this kid’s climbing dome for four years now and it’s still all of my kid’s favorite piece of equipment to play on – outside and when we bring it inside!
- Make Your Own Coupons for Monthly Dates with Mom or Dad
- Coupons for Special Outings such as Breakfast at a Restaurant, Hiking on a Sunday, Special Trip to the Water Slides, Tubing in the Mountains, or a Day on the Slopes, etc.
- Family Vacation or Mini-Trip
- Dress Up Costumes are great for letting kids explore their imaginations
Pssst…. Use These Blank Gift Certificates to Go With Your Subscription Box Gift, Experience or Coupons
Check Out These Epic Gift Guides:
- Ultimate Guide: 200+ Practical Non Toy Gifts for Kids That Aren’t Junk
- Best Board Games for Kids and Families to Play Together
- Best Gifts for Kids Who Love Arts and Crafts
- Best Outdoor Toys for Kids to Promote Active Play & Healthy Habits
- 40+ Unique Stocking Stuffers for Baby – Toddler (Ages 0 – 3)
- Non-Toy Gifts for Giving Children Experiences Not Things
- Gifts for Kids to Receive in the Mail All Year Round
This article is so refreshing and inspiring. Right this minute I am in the process of having practically a nervous breakdown over the clutter in our home, #1 toys! And also all of our other collections. We all love “stuff”, however it is now taking over our life, and has caused me as a mom anxiety and chaos.
I was trying to figure out how to keep the Christmas season magical for my 6 and 8 year old, without wasting money we don’t have, on clutter!!! You points and ideas are right on! And I think this shift in thinking for my me and our children will be a very positive revelation!! Thanks for sharing, happy holidays!