Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Giving the gift of experience

A few weeks ago, upon the request of their auntie, I asked the kids what they wanted for Christmas.

My daughter wanted one thing. The other items? Experiences. Classes at the parks and rec (gymnastics and ballet topped the list). Spring soccer (which now she wants to do again). And, lately, she's asked to go ice skating.

My son, was easier. If you must know, he asked for jelly beans. (For my family: Santa has that covered!) Of course, after hearing his sister, he asked for gymnastics class as well, and we're hoping both can enjoy that come January.

I admit I've dealt with minor guilt when looking at the kids' presents this year. They're largely practical (books and clothes) and each of them got one toy outside of the trinkets and art supplies in their stockings. After all, isn't Christmas supposed to be about swarming children with toys?

And then I think. Perhaps the kids only asked for minimal stuff because they need...minimal stuff. (Of course, that's changing, as my daughter sees commercials at extended care, flips through mom's magazines or talks with friends.)

So if you're like many of the people out there collapsing under the clutter or wondering what to do for the kid who seems to have everything, consider giving the gift of experience this holiday season.

We asked for ballet classes for my daughter last year at the parks department. She still talks about it - and wants to know when she can go again. And the photos and little videos allow other family members to share in her joy - something we might not have replicated with a Barbie outfit.

Here are some other ideas for experiential gifts for young families:
  • Zoo or Children's Museum passes. Some even have reciprocal agreements with other cities - which makes it a blessing if you're traveling! Check out savings sites like savvysource.com or groupon - we were able to get an amazing deal to our local Children's Museum for our children to enjoy all year!
  • Passes to seasonal activities, such as ice skating, miniature golf or the minor league ball team.
  • Classes at the art center or parks department. (Or for those in more remote areas, an art or science kit of some kind!)
  • Movie passes. For a family, a night out to the movies is hardly cheap - and a welcome treat!
  • Support a Scout troop or other activity that perhaps a kid couldn't do otherwise. (For example, our council does a lot of add-on activities, such as getting to go to plays, games, etc., and costs for child and adult start to add up.)
  • Finally, consider the gift of time. A good friend of mine at work has a special weekend with her nieces and nephew to mark their birthday. Whether it's a whole weekend or an afternoon of one-on-one, memories like that can last longer than you can imagine - for both of you.
And just as good, no clean-up!

1 comment:

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Giving the gift of experience
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