Tuesday Talk-We’re Talking Gifts

Hey Hey Friends!

It’s TUESDAY TALK, which means Fancy Ashley and I are here chit-chatting about a random topic.  Each month we invite you to chit chat along with us as well as join the link-up!  

I was browsing around on Facebook this weekend and happened upon an article about gifting kids “experiences” over presents at Christmastime.  I cannot find the exact article or I’d link it here but during my search I stumbled upon a ton of other similar ones.  Basically the gist is our kiddos all have too much…too many toys, too many games, too many {fill in the blank} but as parents we want that big exciting Christmas morning so we just add to all the excess they already have.  Instead of doing that, gift “experiences” and make some amazing memories instead.

 I’ve gotta tell you-I’ve been majorly convicted about this around our house the last couple years.  We used to travel to Missouri and be surrounded by family on Christmas Day.  When we did that, I didn’t feel pressured one bit to make the Christmas look big, but since we’ve had Christmas at home {and it’s just us all day long} I feel the pressure.  Now, let me add-I’m the only one putting pressure on myself.  My kids aren’t being bratty about this, but I’m doing it to myself.  I read this article and everything resonated with me.  My kids don’t play with a ton of toys anymore.  They’d rather be outside throwing the football, hitting the volleyball against the house, playing four square…you get the idea.  So WHY would I buy them more things just to buy more things?

This year we’re changing it up!  I’m not exactly sure how it’ll look just yet but we’re gonna cut down the Christmas purchases and enjoy experiences together as a family.  Typically, Tab has a bowl game sometime during the holiday season so it’s hard for us to plan our winter break until his schedule comes out.  I’m hopeful we can turn whatever bowl game he has into a little family trip, keep it a secret from the kids, and surprise them on Christmas day with a FUN experience and a GO-PACK-YOUR-BAGS kind of moment.

I must add that we’ll still get them gifts but way less than we typically purchase.  I’m starting now to train their little minds to be excited about this concept.

Here’s a list of experiences we could gift our kiddos instead of scanning Amazon for the hottest toys in 2019…
{Just in case you’re looking for some ideas}

*Season Passes-to a local water park, museum, zoo, etc.  My mom has done this for my kiddos for the last two Christmases and I’m SO appreciative.  I hope she’s reading this and does it again.  🙂

*Theater tickets-this could be big like a musical in Dallas or as small as tickets to the local movie theater.  Let me be honest-my kids would love both.

*Sports Event-Gift them tickets to a baseball game, volleyball game, etc.

*Hotel Stay-All four Slaughter kids would be pumped about a night at a local hotel.  If you make it The Great Wolf Lodge or Gaylord they’d be even more pumped.

*Gift Card for a fun night out-Top Golf, Medieval Times, putt-putt golf, bowling, etc.

*Manicure/Pedicure-My girls would love a gift card to get their nails done.

Okay, have YOU done this??  And if you do this in your family, please share your ideas!

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  1. 9.17.19
    Rosa Dunn said:

    I do this not for kids but for adults. I’ve given football tickets to my boyfriend and baseball and football tickets to my brother. Something they love and not as stressful as worrying as a physical gift and then it’s something we can go and do together.

  2. 9.17.19
    Kate H said:

    Yes! Last Christmas we Kindly asked for experiences from family and friends. After Christmas, we are ALWAYS overwhelmed by all of the STUFF that was given with love, but not needed! We ended up with memberships to the Children's Museum, Science Center, zoo and got tickets to Disney on Ice. We have been entertained ALL YEAR for free and it's been amazing! Especially since a lot of the memberships were reciprocal on our summer vacations!

  3. 9.17.19
    ReachingBeyondMediocrity said:

    I love gifting experiences so much more than things! I take my mom and mother-in-law for a Holiday Spa Day as their gift. We relax, eat lunch and sometimes shop. In the past I’ve gifted NFL tickets to my dad and brother. I love being together and doing things together so much more than a gift that I typically forget I’ve given by the next year!

  4. 9.17.19
    Becky said:

    I have been doing this for years. We have never had a traditional Christmas. I don't even put up a tree. This year we are going on a 7 day cruise.

  5. 9.17.19
    Sheaffer {Pinterest Told Me To} said:

    I'm ALL ABOUT LESS STUFF! Carter loves going to the Movie House and Eatery, so we will definitely get him a gift card for there. He also absolutely LOVES going to STRIKZ or something similar to play in the arcade (and we DO NOT ENJOY IT AT ALL and we're always saying no), so a gift card there enough for him and a friend would be a great gift idea! Thanks for the inspiration!

  6. 9.17.19
    Anonymous said:

    You know I’m a big fan of this idea! 🙂 love it!!

  7. 9.17.19
    Natasha said:

    We started doing this a few years ago. We had booked a Disney Cruise in September (which we were taking in January) so the kids' Christmas gifts were pirate costumes and the the My First Cruise book from Disney.

    Last year we knew we were going to New York City right after New Years so their gifts were an NHL game and the Frozen musical. Our kids have LOVED their experiences and don't even ask about where the toys are. They still get lots of things from their grandparents and cousins.

    We haven't figured out yet what we're doing this year so I should start thinking about that… My husband's parents gave the kids swimming lessons once, including taking them to their lessons which was fun for everyone — the kids, the grandparents, and my husband and I!

    Also, my husband and I have done this for each other for birthdays and anniversaries since the beginning of our relationship. Sometimes it's more extravegant — I've gotten a flight lesson and a musical and sometimes it's less so — once we walked twelve kilometres (eight-ish miles) on our local trails, spending all day exploring. The birthday person gets to choose and the giver makes it happen.

  8. 9.17.19
    Lori said:

    We celebrate Hanukah, so it's a little easier to do experiences as there isn't that element of Christmas morning and the huge pile of gifts around the tree. We have 8 nights, so I try to do a few fun things during the 8 nights and also give certificates for experiences later. Some super easy and not expensive ideas-we go to the High School Orchestra and Chorus Holiday concert. It's happened to fall during Hanukah the past few years and my kids LOVE to go. We joined another family and hired a cooking teacher to come and teach all the kids, and adults, how to make a meal. That was really fun! We've done bigger-Broadway shows,Rockettes, a day in New York City, NHL Hockey tickets, gift certificates for horse back riding lessons or ice skating (activities that weren't already in our usual rotation). We've done mini bedroom makeovers-still had to buy stuff, but not random toys.
    My kids have really started to look forward to doing fun and special things together and there is so much going on that time of year.

  9. 9.17.19
    Elspeth Mizner said:

    This is a great idea, especially for people who aren't super close to your children, i.e. relatives or family friends. Plus, kids get excited about doing something after the holidays wind down

  10. 9.17.19
    Kate L. said:

    Yes! I am all about gifting experiences over things. Those memories last way longer, too. Each year, my Christmas gift for my niece is tickets for the two of us to go see Disney on Ice. I love having a whole day dedicated to the two of us doing something special and fun, and she of course loves the show, too.

    I've tried to do this for my parents, too, because I never know what "things" to buy them. I'll get my dad a gift card to a brewery for the two of us to try or my mom a gift card to a candle making place where she and I can go for an afternoon.

    Additionally, I turned 30 this year and for each of my friends 30th birthdays, I've donated $30 to causes they care about in their names. Many of them have shared how that has been their favorite gift, so I think giving back is an awesome idea, too.

  11. 9.17.19
    Bren said:

    Yes! Most definitely! I've done this with my kids alone and we've also done this with my husband's family.

    We've done a range of things thru the years: My MIL loved to do gifts, but with their gifts and our own family gifts and the kids truly not needing things, we convinced her to do adventures and make family memories. So, for example we have planned a weekend to Great Wolf Lodge in March or one year we planned for all of us to go to Colorado the next summer. To add to the fun, to announce the adventure, my brilliant sister-in-law planned a scavenger hunt with clues that they (6 then, now there are 7 grandkids) had to put together to figure out what the gift/adventure was! As my MIL still wanted some gifts for the kids, we did things like small gifts that pertained to the trip so they all got new goggles, a swim suit, etc. for Great Wolf Lodge and for Colorado we bought a bunch of car travel games as we all drove (from the Midwest), 12 of us, in a big van similar to you and Shay's roadtrip excursions! 🙂 There's so many ways you can go with it, like t-shirts for everyone, travel cups, etc. The best part? Our kids still talk about those trips and the fun "reveal" at Christmas and the time we spent together.

    Now the kids are older (I have two in their early 20's and one approaching 20 too quickly) and I love to do similar things like tickets to an event or planning a get away. Time is even more precious with them soon heading into times where they'll have families of their own! I treasure these adventures/time spent so much. Thanks for letting me share!

  12. 9.17.19
    Jennie said:

    Yes! And it is definitely easier to do once your kids get older…the littles know a part of Christmas means opening presents, and opening some tickets is not very exciting LOL! Every year I swear I am going to do the 4 gifts thing – Something they want, something they need, something to wear, and something to read. And every year I end up doing more than this…I'm terrible! But it is a good goal and you can really get creative with it!

  13. 9.17.19
    Andrea said:

    Yes! Especially as they get older. I do love a lot of presents under the tree so I will still put the gift card/tickets in a box and wrap it up.

  14. 9.17.19
    Mix and Match Mama said:

    Yes! We also love to buy them things for Christmas to go with upcoming vacations. If we're going to the snow, Christmas is a perfect time to gift them some things for that trip. Or if we're going on a cruise, then it's a great time to give them things to take on that trip. I'm all about experiences over a bunch of "stuff".

  15. 9.17.19
    Debbie K. said:

    I gave our future son in law two tickets to the Chicago Blackhawks Hockey game to be played at Notre Dame last New Years Day and he thought it was the best present of the season. He loves to do experiences rather than gifts. I gave our son the gift of a trip to Chicago to see the Bulls play. He too was very happy. It's changed my way of thinking too.

  16. 9.17.19
    Kellie W. said:

    This is a GREAT idea! I am a minimalist, and do not like, just STUFF!I will be definitely putting this in motion. Thanks for the share!

  17. 9.17.19
    Sara said:

    My daughter has a January 2nd birthday so we always do an "experience" as a birthday gift instead of more presents. She LOVES it and doesn't miss a gift at all! I can't wait til she's a little older and we can take a birthday trip instead!

  18. 9.17.19
    Melanie Smith said:

    I've actually done this more with my parents. I'm not able to buy them things they deserve; they just go and buy whatever they want. It's easier for me to buy tix to a concert and dinner, and it's something that won't end up in a closet never used. Win win.
    I'd love to start this with my niece and nephew, but living in a small town, options are limited.

  19. 9.17.19
    The NewlyWests said:

    I do not have children, but my husband and I did this with our nephews (6 and 3) and they LOVED it! We called it “Aunt & Uncle Day.” We got them tickets to the zoo and wrapped it up with little animal figurines, so they still had something to open & got a little toy. Even the 3 year old was pumped to get to do something with just us! My husband & I also do this between us. We keep our gift to a $50 maximum and do mostly stocking stuffers, then book a trip together! It’s really special to know you’re getting quality time as a gift!

  20. 9.17.19
    Sara said:

    Yes!! I love doing experiences for my grown children, spouses, and grandchildren. Although I do usually ask them first if there’s a gift that they want/need. When our children were young, we didn’t have much money and I really appreciated the new toys and clothes from grandparents and other family members. But when they don’t need anything, I’ve given college game tickets, manicures, zoo passes, etc. December is also a good time to go through their toys and donate unloved toys to children that will love them.

  21. 9.17.19
    audra wray said:

    My best idea has been having you book a cruise for us for spring break and surprising them with the cruise for Christmas along with some new swimsuits, shirts, and other things we will need for the trip anyway! Can’t wait to see how excited and surprised they are!

  22. 9.17.19
    Adrienne Patenaude said:

    I am pushing for family to buy experiences this year also. We are limiting toys and what not. Half the time they are played with once than I get rid of them 9 months later. I just did a huge toy purge this past weekend. Now lets see if the kids notice anything is gone.

  23. 9.17.19
    Mommaof3 said:

    I love this idea! I’ve been trying to shift to this for the last couple of years, but boy, is it hard! We started adding more traditions to the holidays – Watch specific movies, gingerbread house making, special dinners/snacks, angel tree gifts, cookie swap, etc. That has been awesome bc it puts the focus less on the presents and more on the “bucket list” of things we do together as a family and the kids have LOVED it. They’re already talking about what we “have to do/the things they want to be sure we do” and it’s only September! Lol. I’m following these comments closely bc I still need gift ideas for experiences, vacations, etc. It would make an awesome post to compile the comments!

  24. 9.18.19
    Mactoyourcheese said:

    My daughter (17 years old) actually asked for experiences over gifts last Christmas. We gave her a Penguin encounter (penguins are her favorite animal) at the local aquarium. We also gave her a sloth encounter (her second favorite animal) at the local wild animal park. Her brother gave her a murder mystery game to be “experienced” with her friends. Groupon has all kinds of fun things you can pick from, escape rooms, scavenger hunts, etc. I am already trying to come up with new ideas for this year. Fun post, have a great rest of your week.

  25. 9.18.19
    sjv said:

    We do the experience, but I also have a good "rule" that helps me control the shopping the kids. They each get three gifts from us – just like the wise men gave to Jesus. 1 to read, 1 they need, and 1 for fun. Then Santa brings one gift each and fills their stockings. That's it. They have never once complained and actually seem less overwhelmed on Christmas morning.

  26. 9.18.19
    Unknown said:

    I often give a gift certificate to the local bookstore and local ice cream shop which are on the same block for kid’s bday present. I love the idea of gifting a trip. Has anyone ever gifted experiences that go unused?

  27. 9.18.19
    Kimberly said:

    And all the mamas (or at least this one 🙋🏻‍♀️) out there said “Amen!”
    I just took a back seats folded down car load of STUFF to donate. My mom is the person that has a set amount of money she spends on everyone and will buy good gifts but if there’s more than $5 left for that person she goes and buys the most ridiculous, and unfortunately worthless, stuff 😔 My sisters and I are putting our feet down this year with her and decided that we’re going on a family vacation instead of gifts. I’ve already told her that any gifts for my boys not related to the trip will be returned to the store or donated.
    I would much rather the boys have a lot of memories from experiences than a house full of stuff that they won’t remember or will break because they’re so rough with it.

  28. 9.18.19
    Megan & Jeff said:

    Yes! We try and do this for birthdays too. For my son’s 7th birthday, we took him to iFly and he loved it! For my daughter’s 6th birthday, we are doing a ‘day of pampering’ … nails, lunch at Neimans, build a bear and shopping for a new outfit. The plan is to surprise them with a trip for a Christmas this year! The kids love experiences and hardly use their toys.

  29. 9.18.19
    Deena said:

    I think it’s a great idea! We always limited our boys to 2 gifts (one smaller) but there was a gift from Santa & grandparents/relatives so it added up. Now with grownup sons & a daughter-in-law, we'd rather have experiences because we've downsided and really don’t need anything. What we want at this stage is time together.

  30. 9.18.19
    Unknown said:

    Yes! I started doing this for my nephew several years ago and we both love it! He certainly has more than enough 'stuff' (which he doesn't play with – he's playing baseball, basketball or football always). It is something to look forward to and a really fun time whenever we go do the activities together! I plan on doing this with my boyfriends nephew & nieces this year too (It'll be more first Christmas with them so hopefully they all love it too)!

  31. 9.18.19
    Jess O said:

    One thing I started doing for my friends' kids instead of toys is getting a monthly subscription to Highlights magazine, or another one they might like. I've gotten really great feedback and it's something they look forward to getting in the mail each month with their name on it!

  32. 9.20.19
    Unknown said:

    Yes!!! Our girls don’t really ask for toys and would rather dream up their own little world while playing. And we realized they could never go back and tell you what they got for their birthday or Christmas but could tell you SO many details about the memories we made. For Christmas we go skiing and I bring stockings and put little things in it. This helps with investing in the memories rather than stuff but it also focuses more on what Christmas is and why we celebrate Jesus’s birth.
    And, for birthdays, I feel like there is so much pressure these days to do bigger and better and you spend a fortune on the party before even buying a present! So we let them pick an experience we can do as a family. My youngest just picked rock climbing at the new Summit in Plano and my oldest wants to do The Great Inflatable Race which just happens to be her birthday weekend in Ft. Worth.
    I’ve learned that you shape their expectations of these times of year. And, we as adults are influenced so much by cultural pressure.

  33. 9.20.19
    Taylor said:

    I want to start doing experiences for my kids as well. I have a 5 and 2 year old, and since our 5 year old's first Christmas, "Santa" has only left him 3 things, along with a big stocking full of necessities (toothbrush, toothpaste, underwear, socks, etc.) I had a friend do this for her kids, and we started with ours. We wanted to make sure our kids didn't focus so much on what they get for Christmas, but the true meaning of Christmas.