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I am showing my age here, but do you remember the cartoon and movie Richie Rich? This young boy had everything that money could buy. The mansion, the cars, and all the gadgets no one else had. Thinking back, I have no clue what his parents looked like. I remember the butler and his dog, Dollar but no parents.
Growing up, I had these ideas of grandeur of what my kids would have because like most kids, I had stuff but wanted more. That new toy, that new coat, that new purse, or my personal favorite- shoes! I was very blessed with parents, sisters, aunts and uncles, that made sure I had whatever I needed. Truth be told, it was often a lot more than I needed. Although, I still have great memories of most of these gifts, nothing meant more than the time spent with family.
As we approach that critical time of the year, where the expectation is to give stuff, I often wonder how my kids feel. Are they asking for “things” out of obligation? Is it because it is what is expected or do they generally want these things? There were years, that items remained under the tree unopened and it made me realize that it's time for a change.
Like most parents, we make an effort to ensure that their needs are met and sometimes their wants. We want to however focus on eliminating that state of being where you are sacrificing your character or morals chasing a status, title or materialistic item for the ‘gram. We want to provide memorable experiences that add to this focus and will help shape them into responsible adults.
This doesn't mean that we don't buy physical gifts because who doesn't love unwrapping presents on Christmas day. It just means that we don't break the bank. Need ideas?
Experiences that are Memorable
- Pick a favorite museum or maybe one that you have not visited. Check to see what the schedule for the year is. Memberships at most museums are reciprocal in other states. As a science and technology lover we are huge fans of the Franklin Institute. There is always something for every member of the family and on certain days we can invite guest for no additional cost.
- Six Flags Great Adventure offers almost year round fun and depending on the membership purchased it is reciprocal at other parks. Who would not want to ride a roller coaster all year?
- Walnut Street Theatre or any local playhouse tickets or subscription. The theater fires up the imagination and gives children the skills and curiosity to navigate the complex world that we live in.
- The Zoo. Philadelphia is home to the first zoo in the United States and it keeps growing and evolving. This membership always pays for itself. Connecting people with animals creates humans that care.
- Subscription Boxes. They are a perfect way to enjoy a year round treat and many of them give to a charity with purchase.
- Bounce house passes
- Gym membership. Many gyms allow you to buy a certain number of visits.
- Sporting Events. Go see a favorite team or discover a new one.
- Discover a new hobby with a pass good for cooking, painting, or ceramics.
- Learn a new sport or train for your favorite one.
- Adopt a grandparent- kids can stop in to read, give small gifts or just listen to stories. Older children can assist with small chores.
- Trip to a bookstore. We like to find local bookstores in places that we visit. It's a great way to learn about the area but we always set a spending limit.
- Kid Coupons. Create fun coupons that kids can use to have a day off from chores, a day of sleeping, movie night, and/or dinner out. Make it creative and fun.
- Sleep away or day camp. These fees add up quickly so made it a gift.
- Globe and Travel journal. Use prompts to document exploring the world
- Board Games
- Gift Cards. Let kids create experiences of their own or a gift card tree with some of their favorites.
- A camera to document experiences.
- Plant a tree or create a garden
- Travel. We love just packing up and hitting the road- plane, trains, or automobile.