We’re all guilty of it. Our kids create wish lists, and despite our best efforts to make the season about so much more than gifts, somehow gifts become a central part of the holidays. After all, giving and receiving gifts is fun! In fact, giving someone a gift I know they’ll love is one of my favorite parts of the holidays. One central parenting theme we’ve all experienced, though, is the feeling of too much stuff. It’s why minimalism is so appealing for many, as well as why people are shifting away from present overload. Experiences are priceless, and the memories from them last a lifetime. In six months, you won’t remember that Hatchimal sitting in the corner collecting dust, but you’re sure to remember the movie you saw together, the indoor skydiving session, or the trip to the zoo. This holiday season, here are some reasons why you should consider experience gifts for your kids:
We are drowning in “stuff.” According to the LA Times, the average American home has over 300,000 items in it, and at least one in ten Americans uses a storage unit. Our culture is stuck in the perpetual cycle of “more equals better” – more clothes, more toys, and more household goods. Still not convinced? Consider this statistic: the US has 3% of the world’s children, yet 40% of the world’s toys. We’ll let that sink in for a moment. A lot of us are reporting rising rates of anxiety, and clutter might be a contributing factor. Here’s yet another great reason to cut it!
It’s Healthy for Your Family. Experience gifts are more than just experiences -- they’re an opportunity for family bonding. Did you know that family bonding and the strengthening of relationships results in fewer behavioral problems in children, as well as higher rates of academic and life success? It seems like regular experiences really do result in so much more than tangible items.
They’re Fun for All. Great examples of experience gifts here in Austin include memberships to kid-friendly places such as The Thinkery, The Austin Zoo, and more. These experiences are great for both adults and kids of all ages, making it possibly more expensive up front, but less expensive in the long run – not to mention enjoyable for the entire family.
They Enrich Your Kids’ Lives. Fun activities such as pottery making, ice skating, or bowling will help your kids develop new skills and participate in activities that can truly add such value to their lives. Imagine the feeling of your child discovering a new lifelong passion from an experience you gave them.
Don’t get me wrong – I love gifts! We are adapting the following in our home this season to keep a balance:
- Something you want
- Something you need
- Something to wear
- Something to read
In the past, I have been guilty of present overload. In the end, it simply results in a cluttered playroom and the acculumation of more stuff. It's true -- the holidays just aren’t the same without the amazing feeling you get of giving someone the perfect gift and watching their face light up. I do think, though, that our culture values material possessions more than we probably should, and incorporating experience gifts in your holiday budget is a great way to promote family bonding and enrich the lives of your kids.
Are you opting for experience gifts this year?