Last Updated on March 20, 2018

This week as I carted the new Christmas toys upstairs, contemplating where to store the new loot, I felt somewhat heavy and divided, as I have occasionally after Christmas. My children are richly blessed with thoughtful relatives who, like their heavenly Father, love to give them good gifts. The kids were genuinely grateful and enjoyed the fresh opportunities for creativity and the shimmering prospect of new childhood adventures.

But I wondered, How will I protect my children, who have never been in any significant form of want, from becoming infected by their stuff?

That topic can’t be completely covered in an article or even a book! And I’ve thought and prayed about it a lot. But for one small, more immediate solution, we decided for Christmas to try and give more experiences than gifts. This doesn’t really address the issue of consumerism or helping our kids escape from the insulated bubble we can find ourselves in during prosperous times, but it does help us to give to our children without gross overindulgence. It does create lasting memories with our kids and help invest in our relationship with them rather than in things that moth and rust destroy. Here are a few ideas to get you started for next year and may come in handy for birthdays and other occasions!

  •  A train ride: Your state, like ours, may even have a local steam engine that makes a round trip. Give engineer’s hats and homemade tickets to present the gift.
  • Zoo passes, childrens’ theater season tickets, or museum passes.

  • A class to learn about something they’re interested in: art, dance, music, taekwondo, pottery — the sky’s the limit. To present the gift, try high-quality art supplies, dance shoes, sheet music, etc. Little kids might enjoy Gymboree Play & Music or similar classes for toddlers.

  • A camping trip:possibly just that child and a parent. To present the gift, try a piece of camping equipment.

  • A coupon book of parent-child outings to have that year: Older kids might appreciate Starbucks, a gift card for shopping together, or even a night away at a hotel. (These also spread out the cost of Christmas gifts over the year!)

  • Go see something that they’ve read about or a place that involves one of their interests.

  • See a play, musical, concert, or sporting event.

May these offer a little help to love on your loved ones and help you give even more like our Father.

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One Comment

  1. Janel, I love these ideas. It is so easy to get bogged down with gifts that are enjoyed for such a short season. Investing in memories is a wonderful idea!
    When we lived near an inexpensive theme park we bought season passes that we could enjoy all year long. The kids have such great memories of the experiences we shared together as a family.