By now the holiday toy books have probably arrived in the mail and your child has marked several things he or she “needs” to have this year. Sigh. If you’re like me the sight of another board game or doll is enough for you to roll your eyes one-hundred times over. Sure they’ll be excited to open the toy and play with it for a day or so, but then it will disappear into the black abyss otherwise known as the playroom. That is until I drag it out to sell it. Then, all of a sudden, it’s their favorite toy…you know the one they totally forgot they had! So how do we avoid this scenario that seems to happen every year in a lot of our homes? My solution is to give experiences rather than gifts.
What does this mean? Well, an experience can be tickets to a kids’ show or a gift certificate to a game place or kiddie spa. Perhaps, an experience can be lessons for something your kids have shown interest in. An instrument? A sport? A hobbie? The key is to find what makes your child’s eyes light up. What gets them excited? Once you figure that out, you’re golden. I can tell you this works!.
Last Christmas I didn’t know what to give my girls. What I did know was that my oldest daughter had been driving me crazy for months for guitar lessons. Ding ding! So, I did what any mom would do and Googled where I could find lessons in my area. After calling around to a couple of places and spreading my mommy web for personal references I found a place I really liked. So, I bought one month’s worth of music lessons that would expose her not only to the guitar but to a couple of other instruments so she could decide if the guitar was her true calling. While I was at it, I bought the same lessons for her younger sister.
My older daughter was more than excited to get these lessons, but my younger one wasn’t into the idea that much in the beginning. However, after she went for the first time, she truly loved it.
Fast forward almost a year and I have one daughter taking guitar lessons and the other taking…drum lessons! Yep, we have a little drummer in the family and she’s pretty darn good at it. The same kid who was less than excited to get music lessons is now a drummer! By exposing her to an “experience”, she found a new hobby.
Sure I’m spending extra money now for music lessons, but in reality I don’t mind. I rather spend the money on that than some boring toys they’ll forget about in a week. At least they’re getting the benefits of learning an instrument and gaining the confidence that comes along with acquiring a new skill. My girls are also learning that a gift isn’t always something you unwrap and play with from time to time.