After my grandmother passed away, my husband and I felt the pressure of “what is going to happen to Grandma’s stuff?” The family shared stories and took home possessions that they knew would be meaningful to them. Of course, that included our house too. Our boys had spent loads of time with their great-grandma, so they wanted to bring home lots and lots and lots of stuff. I felt overwhelmed with all our new belongings and trinkets trying to find them a home. By the time, we were able to find a home for all the new treasures we were in the midst of the Christmas hustle and bustle.
I can’t help but think about the fact that often all of the well-meaning gifts we all give and receive over the Christmas season eventually end up causing more stress for the giver and receiver. Don’t get me wrong! I love giving gifts to family and friends. Over the years, as we want to gift our neighborhood or P’s growing team at school, I have had to become very intentional with gift giving. As much as I was feeling the “what do I do now with all this stuff” I realized everyone else was probably feeling that way too.
With the joy of giving many gifts comes the aftermath of paper, boxes and it’s millions of doodads and hooky things to irritate the H-E-double hockey sticks out of the adult charged with opening the box, and then, of course, the toys all over the floor. The lingering mess stays put as the kids argue about being made to clean up and find a home for these gifts. As parents we know at some point the joy of material gifts quickly becomes a memory. Even the toy that comes with “please, please it’s what I always wanted! I love it so much!” looses its luster as its tossed aside and something new catches our kids attention.
After inquiring with both of the boys what might be on their Christmas list, my husband and I decided Christmas 2018 was going to look a bit different at our house. Our question was answered with “I dunno” or “I can’t think of anything.” We had read about people giving the gift of experiences or memberships and always liked that way of gifting. After some brainstorming and discussion, we decided that we would give the boys one experience per month for the entire year. Our boys do enjoy books, toys, board games, and video games, but what they really enjoy is doing things. Most frequently heard words in our home “Sometime we should go/do…”
Rolling on that thought, we brainstormed some big places we would like to take the boys for an experience. The Harlem Globetrotters are coming to town, so we bought pre-sale tickets to sit close to the floor. In the hopes that we will enjoy the interactions the Globetrotters have with the crowd. Our boys enjoy rooting for their favorite sports teams, so tickets to hockey, football, and baseball were included. Other months are experiences to go out to eat, take a day trip, make cookies, or visit a museum. All things that the boys have asked: “Can we do sometime?”
Other great ideas for experience gifts: summer camp, day camp, art classes, music classes, theater tickets, lessons for a new hobby like pottery or archery. Maybe its movie tickets or tickets to an amusement park. Whatever it is, the promise of spending time with you alone or with family is exciting. It is a chance to form lasting bonds over that one experience. Maybe something went awry, and that will be something your family will laugh about for years to come. Or perhaps the one lesson ignites a passion. The experience can bring out a strong emotional response from the recipient. Excitement for visiting a major league stadium. Awe to go to the theater for the first time.
Each of the boys will open their envelope that will have theme park tickets inside. So in July, the boys will be able to look forward to going to our favorite day trip destination in Okoboji, Iowa. Click here to read more about it.
Here are the tickets that the boys will receive for the sporting events will attend this upcoming year. Full disclaimer that I did not create these printables. I did a Pinterest search for free printable giving the gift of time. There are so many cute printables out there it was hard to choose.
This is a new experience for our house this year. To be intentional with our time and to create positive, fun memories as a family. Have you ever done something like this in previous years? How did it go? Or are you doing something like this right now? Are you excited? Drop me a comment and let me know.
Merry Christmas & all my best to you,