A common dilemma these days is figuring out what to give that will be useful and meaningful after the Christmas tree is put away. Most kids today need connections more than things, but thinking of a gift idea to foster family connections can be challenging. I’d like to share with you some great gift ideas that will do just that. Let’s start with the kids!
Experiences and Activities
I know many families like to give experiences and activities as gifts–like movie theater tickets or museum passes. One year we gave our kids their own swimming suits wrapped in gift boxes! Underneath the swimming suits were notes telling them we were going to spend the next day at Great Wolf Lodge. (I have to say– the looks on their faces when opening their own swimming suits was priceless!)
Experiences and activities can certainly vary in price, so picking something both interesting and affordable is a must. Just be sure whatever you choose is something special (as opposed to something you already normally do) and something you can do together. Here are a few experiences and activities you can give as gifts to your kids or grandkids:
- children’s museum passes (annual or just a day)
- Shadow Puppet Theater Kit by The Gifty Girl
- vacation (family vacations make great family connections and stories)
- day out with Dad or Mom
- movie at the theater (or even a movie day at home–here are some great family Christmas movies)
- water park
- amusement park
- Family STEAM Challenge Kit by The Gifty Girl
- kids arcade (think Chuck E. Cheese)
- a “you choose” day (kids choose the meals and the activities all day)
- special trip to visit family members (cousins, grandparents)
- Heather at Raising Memories has more non-toy gift ideas here.
I suggest you make these experiences extra special by taking photos and then printing them out in an album or book with your memories included. When kids can look back on memories and connections, it strengthens their sense of belonging. Giving them a tangible keepsake or “souvenir” of the event can be meaningful for years.
I love this idea by Camille at Chicken Scratch n Sniff to choose 12 activities and make them into a Family Fun Packet you can give for Christmas. See what I mean at her link here.
To focus outward instead of inward at Christmastime, this 12-Day Nativity book includes activities, crafts, service projects, and recipes as your family talks about the symbolism behind each figure in a nativity set.
Games designed for kids and their families to play together are another fantastic gift. Here are a few I think look fun:
- gofindit (outdoor scavenger hunt)
- family matching card game (personalized with family photos)
- Mrs. Lady Wordsmith has a great list of family games here at this link. Most of what she has listed are for ages 6 and up.
From the Heart
I think my all-time favorite gift for a kiddo is a personalized book. I made this “Guess Who Loves Me” book for my nephew. Each of the pages on the right side of the book had descriptions of the people who love him, and then he could guess who it was. When he turned over the page, he could see a picture of the person who loves him. It was especially meaningful because he doesn’t have grandparents or cousins or aunts/uncles who live nearby.
I hope you’ve found a special idea that will be just right for the kid(s) in your life. Finding something wonderful takes the stress out of gift-giving. Kids have an innate desire to connect with those who love them, and showering them with meaningful gifts that give them happy memories as they grow their relationships is a perfect way to do it.
Information on how to create the Family Matching Card Game and the From the Heart books can be found here.
- Chicken Scratch n Sniff. (2015). Retrieved from https://www.cknscratch.com/family-time/the-gift-your-children-really-want-for-christmas
- Mrs. Lady Wordsmith. (2017). Retrieved from https://mrsladywordsmith.com/2017/10/08/family-gift-guide-21-games-that-are-fast-and-easy-to-play/
- Raising Memories. (2013). Retrieved from http://www.raisingmemories.com/2013/12/ultimate-list-100-non-toy-gift-ideas.html
- The Gifty Girl. (2016). Retrieved from http://www.thegiftygirl.com/family-gift-idea-shadow-puppet-theater/
- The GIfty Girl. (2017). Retrieved from http://www.thegiftygirl.com/national-engineering-week-stem-family-challenge-box-revisited/
- The Joshua Aaron Blog. (2016). Retrieved from http://thejoshuaaaronblog.com/the-best-christmas-movies-for-families
Latest posts by Jennifer Wise (see all)
- Family Matters:Two Unforgettable Gift Ideas for Mother’s Day and Father’s Day - April 20, 2018
- Building Bridges between Generations using Photos and Memories - April 13, 2018
- The Power of Place and Family Traditions - April 6, 2018