Monday, December 23, 2019

9 Gifts That Will Also Create Experiences

One of the coolest experiences we've gotten from one of our trips: taking down the flag at the end of the day at Fort McHenry in Baltimore.

I'm a person that is big on experiences. I love to give and receive gifts that can be used all year long and even better if they're for an experience we'll have. Our annual National Park pass we open each season instantly gets me excited and planning our family vacations and getaways for the year. This year we've given a few experience gifts, but it's breaking my heart a little bit that the minis are actually getting just stuff this year instead of things that can be used for an experience (minus the concert and new Christmas clothes to wear for the concert). The last several Christmases we've given them items that can used for our upcoming road trips. We've created wonderful memories from our experience gifts throughout the years. 

Here are a few of our favorite experience type gifts to give and receive (not only for Christmas, but for birthday's as well):

1.) Limo, passenger van, party bus to look at Christmas lights
 We did this for our families this year and we had a great time! We will always remember our nights looking at Christmas lights, stopping at gas stations for bathroom breaks and drinks, and seeing The Grinch near the live nativity. If you go the limo route, I suggest reserving a limo in the early fall because they go quick just for this reason.

2.) Tickets to a local museum, musical, play, concert, sporting event, zoo etc.
I love these because Christmas seems to last all year long when you give experience gifts. We've made amazing memories six months after Christmas when we used a pass for a local museum. 

A behind the scenese tour of our local zoo. We got to feed the giraffes. All was going smoothly until a giraffe decided to try to eat Harrison's hair. The tour ended rather quickly after that!

3.) A vacation/road trip/getaway
 A lot of lists suggest taking a trip over Christmas break, but we've used spring break and summer vacation trips as Christmas presents and it's been amazing! The year we went to Florida for our 12 day adventure, Christmas gifts included new swim gear (that was needed anyways), sunscreen, tickets to Disney World, tickets for parasailing, restaurant gift cards, pictures of the houses we would be staying at in Miami and The Keys, etc. Not only were the minis ecstatic about their upcoming trip (we began our countdown Christmas Day for our spring break trip in March....the waiting was not easy!), but by the time the trip rolled around, we had everything paid for. It was a nice treat to go on vacation and only have to worry about extra spending money. A book about the destination is always a hit too.

Parasailing in Islamorada.

4.) A sport or activity
This could be a summer camp for a child, a round of roller or ice skating, bowling, rock climbing, adventure park. Anything that can get the family/child(ren) involved and active is a great gift. 

While the mini's birthday gift was an 18 day epic road trip, they received presents that could be used on the trip. Body boards, beach towels, sand pails, new hiking boots. While those gifts are actually things, they also promote physical activity that can be used whenever they would like.

5.) Pottery, painting, or cooking class
These are so much fun and give you something to do on a night out.

6.) Movie passes or at home streaming service subscription
Either of these are perfect. While we enjoy movie passes to our local theater (especially since the minis have discovered the joy of going to the movies), we use streaming services to watch a lot of movies too. Prime Video, Netflix, Hulu, HBONow, Sling, CBS All Access, Disney + are a few of the streaming services that offer plenty of content.

7.) Items for future adventures
Body boards, hiking boots, camping gear, beach towels, sand pails, etc. Yes, these are technically things, but things that will get used in the future. The mini's birthday gift this past summer was an 18 day epic road trip to the east coast. They received presents that could be used on the trip and throughout the summer (and are still being used and will be used in the future).

8.) Restaurant gift cards
These are nice all around. It either helps with the bill when the five of us go out to eat (usually quite an expense) or Hubs and I use it as a night out for the two of us and it's a wonderful treat. I really love giving restaurant gift certificates to our favorite local restaurants. 

9.) Picnic basket with goodies
Hear me out on this one because this is one of my favorite gifts I've given for a $10 or under gift exchange. A picnic basket (I nabbed a cheap one that had never been used at Goodwill) filled with snack foods and at the top I put a printed out list (with addresses) of our favorite parks around the city and surrounding areas. The person that received this gift LOVED it. Not only did they happen to not have a picnic basket, but they loved exploring new parks and places in the city with their children. It was super affordable and it gave the family something to do all summer long.