It’s the hap-happiest time of the year, but let’s be real — you’re looking at the toys your children already have and think, We cannot bring one more toy into this house. So, don’t. Dial down that Grinchy smile — we aren’t saying you should just give your kids tickets to board the KonMari train, but what if you give experiences (that keep on giving all year) in lieu of things (that keep on taking up space) this year? We have five kids’ Christmas gifts that aren’t things, but they’ll get just as much love!

Memberships or PassesChristmas Gifts for Kids that Aren’t Things

Military life leads us to some pretty fantabulous places. And, those fantabulous places often have some cool places to tour, visit, and experience. Whether it’s your local zoo, amusement park, aquarium, kids’ gym — heck, even local theater — give your kids memberships or passes to places you’ll be able to enjoy throughout the entire year. Every time you go, you’ll be able to share experiences that turn into memories and teach them how to value time and engaging encounters.

Monthly BoxesChristmas Gifts for Kids that Aren’t Things. Marisa McDonald Photography-4

Today’s kiddo has the opportunity to get mail (which they love) that brings just about anything they can dream of right to their door in a handy-dandy subscription. Whether it’s any of the KiwiCo Crates, Little Passports, Young Woodworkers, Magic Schoolbus, or Kidstir, there are tons of subscriptions that teach, entertain, and are thoroughly enjoyable. You’ll find your child will wait anxiously each month for the next box. It’s literally like getting a new gift every…single…month!

Books or Magazines

Again, capitalizing on how much kids love mail, we can’t rave enough about subscriptions to magazines and books. Age-appropriate magazines that can be read and reread become friends your kids look forward to meeting each month, and who doesn’t want to encourage more time reading?

One book subscription we particularly dig is called GiftLit, and it’s not just for kids. Each month, age-appropriate and engaging books arrive — ones you help narrow down with information about the recipient — and they’re chosen by a group of lit lovers started by two moms looking for quality literature for their children. We especially love how you can customize what comes to your recipient. Be confident you’ll soon find them curled on a cozy sofa reading to their heart’s content!

Tickets

Tickets are great ideas for things that aren't gifts
You know why those free or reduced-price movies on base are so popular? It’s because taking an average family of four to the real movies basically means you have to mortgage your house these days. That’s why when the grandparents ask what the littles are looking for this holiday season, you tell them, tickets! Tickets to the movies, tickets to sporting events your family would love, tickets to concerts (who doesn’t want to see Imagine Dragons live) — all of those babies are hot commodities and would make excellent gifts that kids will relive and remember for years to come!

VacationTrips are great gifts that aren't things

Before you get all worried thinking about how pricey that word sounds, think about it. According to a survey from the American Research Group, U.S., shoppers spend about $1000 a season, and we’d guess that’s a low estimate. T.Rowe Price data suggests that parents spend $500 or more per child each holiday season, and you know that adds up fast. Instead of spending all that money on stuff, pool it together and spend it on time away.

If your military member isn’t deployed or training, they will most likely have a few days of leave during the holidays. Some families like to save through the year and then use their holiday budget to take a big trip, and that’s great! But, a memorable vacation can also just be a fun weekend away at a cool hotel with an event (ahem…those tickets we mentioned).

You can even put money toward visiting family for the holidays. Yes, many of us live far from family, so telling the kiddos that you’re pooling the family money together to visit Grammy will be a gift for all. And, our guess is Grammy will be so glad you were able to make it, she’ll be sure there’s plenty of things to go around!

Speaking of money and vacations, if you want some tips on travel, scour our Travel page for family-friendly destinations, travel deals, Disney galore, packing tips, and plenty of travel inspo

christmas gifts that arent things


Photo Credit: Marisa MacDonald Photography
Resources: American Research Group U.S. | T.Rowe Price

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