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 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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
“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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Pin for Later
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.