The one thing that always bothered me as a child was that once that Christmas morning unwrapping was done – you were left with a bit of a present hang-over, lots of garbage, toys that might not be appreciated and the dread of having to wait another WHOLE year to do it again.
As the mom of six kids, I’ve always tried to shape giving a little differently.
- Give Experiences
When grandparents and relatives ask what my children need, the real answer is nothing. BUT – I am a big fan of shared experiences. I would rather my mom take my children to a play; my friend has them over to bake cookies or even offer to pay for swimming lessons or a dance recital costume. These experiences are meaningful, teach valuable lessons, and quite frankly – get the kids out of my hair for a few hours. It’s a gift both child and parent benefits from!
- Give the Gift of Giving
My siblings and I decided years ago that we were not going to exchange gifts among the cousins. Instead, we pool the money we would have spent, buy gift cards to local coffee shops, and gather the children to write friendly greeting cards which include the gift cards. Then, we take all our children and wander the streets finding our friends who live with homelessness and gift them with the cards. This has become the favorite holiday activity for the cousins – they love this tradition.
- Supporting Local
Many local (and mom owned businesses!) have felt the impact of the pandemic. Many very special items and artisan toys and treasures can be found through local business. You will experience an elevated kind of joy when buying and gifting from local vendors.
- The “Not Now” Gift
I have a niece who always feels stressed when asked for a gift list. She never really knows what she wants and feels bad writing a big list. What works well for a kid like this? It’s a “three free gift passes”. What is this, you may ask? Just let the kiddo know that they can get three gifts throughout the year. If they see something they want in March – it’s theirs! See something else in August? You get the idea.
- Subscription Boxes
I’m a BIG FAN! Every time a subscription box arrives, you are reminded that someone was thinking about you, you are experiencing the “rush” of getting a present throughout the year, while enjoying a carefully curated gifting experience.
If you are trying to have your family share “experiences” and make the holidays less materialistic, I hear you – and these tried-and-true tips have worked for my big and busy family!