12.05.2018

Practical Approach to Gift Giving This Holiday Season


I have a bit of a different mindset when it comes to gift giving. Growing up in India, except our birthdays, we didn’t ever really get tangible ‘gifts.’ We mostly got money from family that we could save and put towards something we really wanted later on. That was our culture, at least in my family. Hence, I’m not sure if it’s my upbringing or my relentless effort to declutter the house that I’m less enthusiastic about actual gifts, and more excited about gifting experiences. 

Don’t get me wrong. Actual gifts make kids (even adults) happy and are an integral part of holiday traditions. I totally get it! I, too, love finding unique gifts, especially for my girls. The holiday gift guides I created two years ago were super popular. Check them out here and here. Remember that it’s OK to break away from the norm and try a more practical approach to gift giving. 

If I had to create a list for Santa from my girls, it would look like this:

1. Museum Memberships - Trips to the museum have become a unique way for us to bond and expose the girls to new cultures. Children’s museums are fun, but art and science museums have peaked my girls’ interests more than expected. A membership would encourage us to go more often and come in handy especially during the upcoming colder months.

2. Mommy + Me cooking class or rock climbing experience - It’s important to try new things, no matter your age. These two different experiences both sound like a lot of fun and would push us out of our comfort zones a bit, too.

3. A trip or weekend getaway -  We surprised the girls with a weekend getaway this past summer and they still talk about it! Even if you go somewhere close to home, the change of scenery and time away is an easy way to switch-up routine. 

4. One-on-one time - I generally tend to do activities together with  both girls; however, a one-on-one ‘date’ with each separately is special and always memorable. It’s important to give them that undivided attention, as each bond is unique.

5. Theatre/show tickets - Another fun way to create lasting memories. There are many holiday shows happening this time of year, making it easy to plan a trip to the theatre. It can be fun to get dressed up and watch a show that all family members will love.

6. Trip to the bookstore - Local or not, bookstores always have something magical in store. Plus, most stores have specific ‘kid areas’ that allow you to read with your kids or watch them get lost in books on their own. 

7. Volunteer Opportunity - We’ve been volunteering at Cradles to Crayons (a non-profit helping kids get the essentials they need) for a couple years and it’s a truly rewarding experience. I would like to take my 7-year-old to an animal shelter to see what we can do there, too. Volunteering is a great way to bring balance to receiving and giving. 

8. Gift of a new language - Languages are so beautiful. I only speak two and regret not learning more as a child. Learning new languages seems to be lost in some cultures, but this is a gift that your kids will thank you for later on in life. Whether it’s signing up for a class or using a learning app to learn together, this is a lifelong gift. 

9. Ski Lessons - We have been procrastinating on ski lessons since two years. I hope we can get our acts together this season and hit the slopes with the girls. 

10. Arts and crafts - Finding new ways to be creative is always a big hit with the girls! Create together, follow along with fun tutorials or let their imaginations run wild. Either way, they’ll love this gift.

There are so many things to spend your money and time on that can bring as much joy as a traditional gift. Kids may not understand in that exact moment, but making these plans and sharing in these experiences give them something to look forward to and make the best memories.

Similarly, for adults, try to think of non-materialistic items. Consumable gifts for a cozy night in (wine and cheese are always a hit), restaurant gift-cards to new places, spa packages, or invites to new adventures like hiking or more mini getaways are perfect ways to show you care. 

What are some of your favorite non-material gifts?

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