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Give the Gifts that Keeps on Giving

It’s that time of year again when we give to others. We make our list and check it twice, we don’t want to leave anyone off. However, what happens when we are just giving gifts to give gifts. I don’t know about you but I love watching my kids and family opening their gifts. But I find as they get older they have the toys and games and ‘things’. Oh sure, there are always more games you can get but to what end? To stop the endless giving of ‘things’ I’ve turned to other types of gifts. I look for companies that give back or help the environment or experiences rather than just another ‘thing’.

Here is my list of some gifts I’ve given in the past and will give this year. I hope you find some fun items on my list that you can gift to someone on your list. Happy Holidays.

Museum Memberships

Museum memberships are amazing gifts. Memberships to your local Children’s Museum, Science Museum or Aquarium. We had our Children’s Museum of Boston family membership for years. My brother and his wife got it for my kids and we used it all the time. Not only did I take them but the babysitter did as well. We also used it around the country to get into other museums.

museum membership gifts
She’s pretty good at this

In fact, we got in Vancouver’s Science World when we visited Vancouver during Christmas break a few years ago. The museum is amazing and getting in for free was a very welcome extra gift. We sent a picture of our kids playing in the museum to my brother and sister-in-law as a thank you for the membership.

Gifts that Give Twice

If you want tradition gifts try looking at companies like Ocean & Company. This company is dedicated to helping to clean up ocean pollution. They’re having a 50% off sale on all their jewelry on Black Friday.

Another company that helps to give back plus works with artists in a sustainable way is Uncommon Goods. Quote from the company: We offer remarkable designs by independent makers, and we do it with a positive impact on both people and our planet.

We also love Bombas Socks. They are incredibly soft and warm. Plus the company donates a pair of socks for every pair you buy. They also now sell shirts. The donations are made to homeless shelters around the US.

Sock gifts are the best
Warm and toasty toes in Bombas socks

Theme Parks

Universal Studios, Disneyland, Disney World, Hershey Parks, and Sea World are parks that have been taking green practices to the next level. These 5 theme parks are the best at green practices within their parks. Of course, they have the traditional measures in practice such as recycling containers and compostable dinnerwear in their restaurants. However, they also have practices such as using cooking oil as a fuel and recycling food waste to conservation programs.

gifts to theme parks
Theme Park tickets

Shop Local

The Saturday after Thanksgiving is known as Small Business Saturday. Take the day and explore your local community and buy some local treasures for the ones you love.


I have given all sorts of experiences as gifts. I’ve given my older daughter a spa day at an American Girl Doll store with dinner just her, her doll and me. She loved it!

Groupon Voucher
Scanvenger Hunt Voucher

I’ve given my family a scavenger hunt adventure in Boston that I found on Groupon. Click on the ‘things to do’ in your area and find out what local businesses are offering. I’ve taken a glass blowing class, rock climbing lessons and even had an afternoon of trampoline jumping with a Groupon. It’s a way to support local business plus have an experience you might not think to try.

Voucher gifts
Glass ornament I made at a class

Food Gifts

Food gifts can be anything from a fruit basket to a wine delivery, to the salsa of the month club. However, it can also be a farm share to one of your local farms. Keeping it local and fresh is best.

Of course, if you like to bake or cook this is a great gift as well. I make English Muffin Bread -yes, I said bread as in a loaf of bread. You slice it, toast it and enjoy it. It’s a special treat in our family and I only make it around Christmas time.

I also give a loaf to all the girl’s teachers as well as our neighbors. It’s so good teachers and others have asked for the recipe.

Pro Tip – Don’t underestimate food gifts.

Activity Lessons

“What are activity lessons,” you say? Well, swim lessons, horseback riding lessons, guitar lessons. Anything you need instructions by another to get good at the ‘craft’.

My kids love their music lessons. We have friends that give gifts of art classes as well as pottery classes.

Ski pass
Ski pass

Skiing lessons or a season ski pass if you already know how to ski is a great gift that gets you outdoors. If you don’t want to be tied to one specific ski resort then try a company like Vail Resorts. They have the EPIC Pass that gives you access to so many ski resorts across the US, Canada, and even Australia! ***Note the Epic Pass is on sale through Dec 2nd.

Gift Cards

Some people think gift cards are cold. I think if you put thought into which gift card you give it is thoughtful. We’ve received gift cards to local restaurants that we love. The gift was from my parents and my mom even said she’d babysit for us so that was covered too.

gift card
Gift Cards

Our kids are really into music these days. They are each going to get an iTunes gift card so they can buy the music they like best. We all have our own Apple IDs but are on the family plan so they can share the music with each other too. They will enjoy their new music for months and years to come.

Sports Events, Theater, or Concert Tickets

Along the lines of experiences but this is a big event. This can be for your whole family or just a couple’s activity. If you have older kids you can give them tickets to a concert to go to with friends. You can make the event even more memorable by going out to dinner before the show or concert. For sporting events, you can also give a team jersey or memorabilia.

concert tickets
Barenakeds Ladies with Hootie and the Blowfish

Donation Gifts

Giving Tuesday is coming up. There are so many worthy companies to donate to and giving a gift in the name of someone is a special gift indeed.

Heifer International is one of the companies we have donated to over the years as is our local ASPCA. To enhance the gift see if your company matches donations.

Don’t Forget the Wrapping Paper

Creativity is the way to go in my book. In fact, I tell people that I don’t like surprises but I like odd-shaped packages. I’ve been thrilled to receive gifts from my girls wrapped in their special way. They’ve also made their own wrapping paper, which was so creative and special. They took a brown paper bag, turned it inside out and drew pictures and wrote messages and added stamps to their design. These are gifts that have the most memories wrapped up in them.

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Final Thoughts

What are your favorite gifts to give? Do you like to buy from a certain company because of their eco practices? Or are you a home-made kind of person? I’d love to hear what you love to give.

This Post Has 21 Comments

  1. We’re trying to do experience gifts this year. Not everyone is super excited about it, but we just need any more junk!!

    1. Leeanne

      I so hear you on that one. I prefer to have experiences so I don’t have to clean up another toy.

  2. Missy

    I agree Museum memberships are amazing gifts. I also like giving event tickets as gifts.

    1. Leeanne

      Agreed. I love event tickets too.

  3. Stacey Billingsley

    We are definitely a family who are into giving experiences as gifts. We try to save gift cards and unexpected money for trips. My husband and I are even giving each other a three-day weekend in a cabin to each other for our Christmas present. Sure we still do some stockings and some gifts for the kids, but we focus on travel-related things. I even give my parents season passes to Silver Dollar City for their Christmas present!

    1. Leeanne

      Awesome. I love your three-day weekend away for you and your husband. So awesome.

  4. Candice

    Great suggestions! I’ve never thought of the museum memberships but know several people who would like that.

    1. Leeanne

      It really is the gift that keeps on giving throughout the whole year. Plus getting into other museums at a reduced rate or for free just adds to the fun.

  5. Lisa

    I love getting museum passes! I wish we lived close enough to the amusement parks to gift that!

    1. Leeanne

      Me too. Although I think if you go off-peak you can probably get cheap airline tickets to go.

  6. kmf

    These are such meaningful gift ideas! I love giving and receiving experiences as gifts. And love the museum membership idea. We’re a reading family so I’ve given book and magazine subscriptions before.

    1. Leeanne

      We give a lot of books as gifts as well. Magazine are also a great gift. In fact, my sister-in-law was thrilled one year when my brother gave her a subscription for games magazine. It brought back some great childhood memories.

  7. Amanda

    These are great ideas for gifts that keep on giving. We love experiences as gifts!

  8. Heather

    I love giving my kids experiences for Christmas and their birthdays. We try and do it as much as possible.

    1. Leeanne

      I agree. I think they remember their experiences more than toys.

  9. Michele

    I love these ideas! So much better than items that go out of style or sit on a shelf collecting dust.

    1. Leeanne

      I wholeheartedly agree with you.

  10. Jennifer

    Experiences, especially the ones you have together are far more valuable than things. I’m so grateful that we have the ability to travel and do things as a family and I love helping my clients create a plan for their vacation that maximizes the magic and minimizes the stress.

    1. Leeanne

      Agreed. My family also keeps a journal of our travels so we can look back at it and reminisce about the different places we’ve been.

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