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  • Nicci Smith

50 Experience Gifts to Try This Holiday Season

Remember when minimalism was all the rage? I am so ready to jump on that bandwagon again. I feel like my home has been overrun by clutter and "stuff". I'm constantly stepping on Legos or removing traumatized Barbies from the dog's bed. The thought of bringing more "stuff" into our home for the holidays does not spark joy.


This lack of joy made us realize we wanted something different for our children. It's so easy to get caught up in consumerism during the Holidays. I know I'm guilty of wanting to buy all the things for my kiddos. I love shopping for them, I love wrapping the gifts, and I love watching their faces light up when they unwrap them. The joy doesn't typically last, however. It's only a matter of moments before something breaks or a tiny part gets lost and chaos ensues.


My husband and I wanted to find a way to give our children something they could enjoy for years to come, but without the clutter. So we started a tradition that has become one of our favorites: giving them experiences instead of things. Experience gifts are the best gifts for kids. (I even wrote a blog post about why, which you can find here.)


If you're ready to jump on the "Experience Gifts" train, here's a list of 50 ideas to get you started:



1. Movie tickets

2. Tickets to a Ballet, Opera, Musical, etc.

3. Ice Cream Date

4. Zoo Membership

two kids watching a polar bear swim at the zoo
Zoo Memberships are great! This is a gift that can be used over and over again.

5. Children's Museum Membership

6. Art or Science Museum Trip

7. Pottery Class/Paint your own Pottery

8. Karate Lessons

9. Dance Classes

10. New board games for Family Game Night

11. New Movie, popcorn, and candy for Family Movie Night

12. Sleds and Hot Cocoa for a sledding party!!!!

13. Ice Skating Date

14. Skiing/Snowboarding Lessons

15. Fishing Poles, tackle and bait for Fishing Trip

16. Gymnastics

17. Acting Classes

18. Art Lessons

19. BIG Family Vacation - we got our children new luggage one year to tell them we were going to Disney!!!

20. Tent and Sleeping Bags for Backyard Campout

21. Firepit and 'Smores ingredients

22. Tickets to a concert

23. Tickets to see a comedy show

24. Tickets to a sporting event.

25. Tattoo - obviously for the older kids!!

26. Piercings - have a child who has been begging to get their ears pierced? Gift it!!!

27. State Park Pass

28. Subscription boxes - Little Passports or Kiwi Crate are two amazing subscription boxes.

29. Escape Room

30. Weekend Road Trip to a fun destination

31. Arcade Date


32. Trampoline Park Date

33. Indoor Rock-Climbing Date

34. Axe-Throwing Date (for the older kids!)

35. Spa Day

36. Mini-Golf

37. Vocal Lessons

38. Sports Lessons - Golf, tennis, etc.

39. Woodworking workshop

40. Jewelry-making classes - our local technical college always has some jewelry classes!

41. Photography/Videography workshop/class

42. Coding Classes

43. Get a cozy blanket, pajamas, and snacks for a Christmas Light drive

44. Horseback Riding Adventure

45. Sponsor an Animal and learn all about them!

46. Hiking pack, water bottle, and binoculars for a Hiking Trip

47. Tickets for a day train ride


48. Amusement Park/Waterpark Tickets

49. Geocaching Scavenger Hunt Date

50. Fondue Set for a fun Fondue Night!!


One of the best things about Experience gifts is that you can make them as inexpensive as you'd like. For an Ice cream date night you can go out to your favorite local ice cream shoppe, or stop by and grab a 99 cent cone from a fast food joint, or buy all the ice cream and toppings and set up a whole Ice Cream Sundae bar at home.


Maybe you can't budget for all your kiddos to go to an amusement park or watermark. (I get that...we have five kiddos and it can get pricey!) Gift that to the one that LOVES themeparks and make it a date for just the two of you.


Remember, this is about having fun and spending time together. The real value in life is not the things we have or even where we go, but what we do with those things and how we treat one another along the way. Life is about building memories and spending time together.


Are you on the bandwagon yet? I'd love to hear some experience gift ideas from you!!!





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