Trying to get on top of organizing my home with Christmas coming makes me want to scream, “INCOMING!!!”
I have three girls. We have many, many bins. We have shelves, drawers, and cupboards. We have an entire basement. Do you know what they are all full of?
Toys! Books! Puzzles! Games! Dress up clothes! Art Supplies!
There will be MORE this Christmas. A lot more. Our wonderful friends and family buy high-quality, imaginative, and educational gifts. It’s really hard to go through and get rid of things because they are so fantastic. Not to mention the fact that one of my five-year-old twins acts like she’s having major surgery without anesthesia each time we try to go through her precious belongings:
“You can put stuff you don’t use as much in the garage sale. Another little girl will have so much fun with it while YOU get the money to save for something else! Isn’t that great?”
“NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!! IT’S MINE!!! I’LL NEVER SEE IT AGAINNNN!”
So there’s that.
That’s why I’m all about experience gifts for kids this year. Yes, I hear you. You are saying that experience gifts sound like a great idea, but, “They need something to open!” No worries, I’ve got you covered!
The Gift of Quality Time
Kids will love the gift of something fun to do with you! You could easily include a stop for ice cream or a meal out before or after these experience gifts:
- Play-doh or a paint set wrapped with a gift card for The Potter’s Obsession or Thrown Pottery Studio.
- A bouncy ball or grip socks wrapped with gift card for an Air FX or Sky Zone.
- Fun socks wrapped with gift card to The Playstation or bowling passes from Cedar Rapids Bowling Center, May City Bowl, or Lancer Lanes.
- A Hot Wheels car wrapped with a gift certificate to Speedeezz Indoor Kart Racing.
- Something small to play with wrapped with an invitation to play at the The Iowa Children’s Museum.
- A Rough Riders T-shirt (and ear plugs since games can be very loud) wrapped with tickets to a hockey game.
- A bag of popcorn or box of candy wrapped with gift card to Collins Road Theatres, Westdale 12, or Wehrenberg Theaters.
- New swim suit, pool toy, or goggles wrapped with a pool pass for Bender Pool.
- Hot cocoa packets or new mittens wrapped with ice skating passes to The Cedar Rapids Ice Arena.
- A real child-sized hammer and certificate to take them to a Lowes Build and Grow or Home Depot Kids Build Event.
- New pajamas or slippers wrapped with a certificate to have a fun-filled sleepover with a friend. (You could have the friend and date already lined up.)
- An apron or chef hat with a certificate to spend an afternoon baking with you. While you wait for the oven, you could include fabric markers to decorate their apron or a travel game to play together. Or you could include cooking classes with Kirkwood Community College or Becky’s Mindful Kitchen.
- A new calendar featuring something they love wrapped with something fun written in each month you will do together. (You can also find a color-in calendar or make a photo calendar for added personalization.) You can include easy free activities like a game, movie, or spa night at home as well as ideas above. You can also include events farther in the future such as an amazing show at Theatre Cedar Rapids or The Paramount. Don’t forget seasonal sports like an arena football game with the Cedar Rapids Titans or a baseball game with the Cedar Rapids Kernels. The Old Creamery Theatre and Playtime Poppy feature children’s plays all throughout the year as well!
The Gift of Learning
My kids would love to be in more activities, but they can be expensive, especially the more kids you have. Giving the gift of a class you know the child would enjoy reinforces the idea that it is a privilege to participate.
- New mittens wrapped with a certificate for ice skating lessons at the Cedar Rapids Ice Arena. (For preschool age & up.)
- Small musical instrument wrapped with certificate for music classes at Baby Time, Birth, Baby & Beyond, Kindermusik, Orchestra Iowa Music Together or Little Mozarts, or Marion Music Academy. (For baby & up.)
- A new leotard or water bottle wrapped with certificate for gymnastics classes at a location near you. (Most are for ages 18 months & up.)
- Martial arts uniform or Ninja Turtle water bottle and martial arts classes. (There are many locations, but Evans ATA starts at pre-school age.)
- Leg warmers, tutu, or dance shoes with dance class at a location near you. (Most are for ages 3 and up)
- Cowboy or Cowgirl boots and horseback riding lessons at Boulder Creek Equestrian Center or Greenbriar Riding Academy. (No age specified.)
- Clay or Play-doh with a private lesson or workshop class at The Ceramics Center. (No age specified, but kids under age 8 must be accompanied by an adult.)
This is for you, too, grandpas, grandmas, and other toy-loving gift givers! There are SO many fabulous experiences right here that we can give the kids we love this holiday season. Kids can still feel the joy of opening gifts, but families don’t have to become further buried in stuff. Not to mention the fact that children like my daughter can be saved from the horrendous torture of parting with the gift one day.
Can I get an amen?
Or maybe a cleverly wrapped gift card?