Inside: Here you’ll find a detailed list of experience gift ideas for grandparents (or you) to give the Christmas. Gift experiences instead of toys this holiday season and give memories that last instead of items that accumulate.
Experiences over things! It’s my favorite part of having uncluttered my life. I ditched the excess and stopped doing all the things, so that I would have more time to do ALL THE THINGS. And it worked!
I now spend more time living my life than I do organizing it.
Making memories, savoring rest, experiencing adventure and taking brave leaps gives me life. Gifting those perks to my children, makes this life of less so much sweeter.
Getting Grandparents On Board
The idea of gifting experiences in lieu of toys, came pretty naturally to me once we shifted toward a minimalist mindset. I’ve been bitten by the wanderlust bug and I’d love nothing more than to pass that on to my kids.
But grandmas? Well, for a variety of reasons, they tend to take a little convincing.
Of course, geography is a factor and financial means can make it tricky, as many experiences cost more than a toy would.
One reason I hadn’t considered before is how much fairness plays a role. It’s hard for grandparents to imagine giving your children an experience while the cousins open toy after toy. It just doesn’t seem fair.
The last thing grandma wants on Christmas morning is disappointed grandkids.
However, the most common reason grandparents, as well as aunts and uncles, tell me they hesitated to gift experiences instead of toys is, “I want them to have something to open.”
Best of Both Worlds
I’ve got a strategy that has worked wonders for the amazing grandparents in our lives as they willingly shifted toward gifting experiences instead of stuff.
Giving an experience along with a small, tangible companion gift to accompany it, helps ease the worry of, “but is it enough?” Wrap something small to open that compliments and highlights the experience.
Seriously, small does the trick! View this video I posted on Facebook of my daughter receiving horse back riding lessons for Christmas last year. She simply opened a figurine horse attached to the gift certificate. You’ll notice she’s not the least bit disappointed!
The Gift That Keeps Giving
With experiences as gifts, the excitement lingers long past the moment it’s opened. Not only do they get to enjoy the experience itself, but the anticipation leading up and the memories that last, add to the never-ending joy of gifting experiences over things.
There is certainly a place for toys on Christmas morning. However, gifting experiences allows us to curb the clutter, cut back on the excess and raise our kids to value adventure and time together over possessions.
20 Giftable Experiences (And Small Tangible Companion Gift Ideas to Compliment)
Keep in mind, I’m not suggesting you give all of these tangible gifts along with the experience. They are simply suggestions to get your wheels turning.
1. Zoo Membership or Passes
2. Gymnastics, Dance, Ninjanastics or Tumble Class
Companion gift ideas: gym clothes, Dude Perfect T-shirt, ballet shoes, leotard, water bottle.
3. Amusement Park or Water Park Ticket
Companion gift ideas: road trip snack, swim suit, flip-flops, swim diapers, sunscreen
4. Grandma Camp Coupon Book
Companion gift ideas: printable coupon book, (pick a theme for your grandparent camp and gift according to the theme: adventure, creation, Star Wars, tea party), board games, nail polish, hot chocolate, popcorn, face paint, iTunes gift card for a movie, mad libs
5. Art Classes
6. Sporting event
Companion gift ideas: pre-game dinner coupon, wall decal, jersey, licensed t-shirt or sweatshirt, Sports Illustrated For Kids Magazine
7. Horse Back Riding Lessons
Companion gift ideas: riding boots, horse stickers , horse coloring book, bag of apples/carrots to feed the horses
Companion gift ideas: goggles, swim suit, snorkel gear, towel, swim diapers, dive sticks
Children’s Books: Together by Emma Dodd (I just love this otter book)
9. Museum Membership or Passes
10. Cooking Lessons or Baking Day
Companion gift ideas: ingredients, sprinkles, boxed cake mix and frosting, apron
Children’s Books: Baking Day at Grandmas, by Anika Denise, cook book
11. Golf Lessons or Outing
Companion gift ideas: Golf clubs, golf bag, tees, golf balls
12. Fishing Getaway or Day Trip
Companion gift ideas: fishing hat, sunglasses, lure, waders, fishing pole, tackle box
13. Airplane or Train Ticket to Visit Out of State Grandparents
Companion gift ideas: airplane snacks and books
14. Weekend Getaway or Family Vacation
Companion gift ideas: camera, travel snacks, activity book, accessories that fit the trip such as: goggles, ski hat, hiking shoes or sunscreen, wrap mementos from previous trips (Mickey ears, Great Wolf Lodge Ears, Disney t-shirts you already own to clue your kids in that they’re going back)
Children’s Books: The Travel Book, Lonely Planet Kids
15. Music Lessons
Companion gift ideas: instrument, sheet music, Snark guitar tuner, Itunes gift card for new music, (maybe even ear plugs for mom and dad)
16. Camping Trip or Backyard Campout
Companion gift ideas: sleeping bag, flashlight, tent, smore’s kit gift basket, Mad Libs
17. Stem Classes at Local Children’s Museum
Companion gift ideas: STEM or STEAM builder kits: National Geographic Da Vinci’s DIY Science and Engineering Kit, STEAM Powered Girls activities. STEM puzzle, STEM games: Rush Hour
18. Laser Tag Gift Certificate
Companion gift ideas: a stealth, dark t-shirt to wear when dominating, water bottle and snacks
19. Trampoline Park, Ropes Course or Rock Wall Climbing
Companion gift ideas: required grip socks, snacks for outing, water bottle
20. Nature Center Classes
Companion gift ideas: How Things Grow, by Eric Carle
I hope these suggestions get your wheels turning and boost your confidence in shifting toward experiences over things.
We will be giving our kids a family trip for Christmas this year by wrapping road trip snacks and wolf ears from our dress up box. Any ideas where we are going?? (Shhhh don’t tell my kids!!)
Read 100 Minimalist Holiday Gift Ideas, for more ideas to help you give with intention this season.
My kids would much prefer a back yard camp out with grandma and grandpa or a gift certificate to the trampoline park, instead of more toys. Really, ask them!
This life of less is working. Week by week I see my kids living out this lifestyle more and more. They continue to make generosity a priority and acknowledge that more stuff does not lead to more joy.
A Case For Less: More Articles to Encourage You to Give Experiences Instead of Stuff
How to Slow Down Time, Backed By Science, Becoming Unbusy
Why Experiences Are Better Than Things, Becoming Minimalist
For more inspiration
Need Some Serious Pre Holiday Decluttering Motivation?
Here we will tackle 3 common decluttering obstacles so you can let go and get uncluttered for good. If you’ve ever gotten started and then gotten stuck, this FREE resource is for you!
*Discloser: This post contains affiliate links for your convenience. I receive a small, smmaaalll percentage if you buy through my link, at no additional cost to you. I encourage you to shop around, do your own research and purchase intentionally. All of these companion gifts will become clutter if they don’t fit your real life minimalism.