I don’t know about you but it seems like as each year passes my children are accumulating more “stuff” than I have space for. It has gotten to the point where we almost have to rent out a storage unit if we accumulate much more this Christmas. Also, let’s be honest, most of the toys, puzzles, and games that our children receive for Christmas are hot commodities in the house for all of two weeks. Then it is up to mom to find a place to store “more stuff” and that storage location is often that toys burial ground because we know it’s seen its last days of being the “it toy”. However there are a few that slip through the cracks and do end up being your child’s all time favorite, we’re talking can’t go anywhere without it, toy. And that toy is often the most obnoxious thing since Budweiser’s “What’s Up” campaign. Oh, and did I mention, the “it toy” often also requires 4 AA or AAA (or fill in whichever type of battery you never have on hand) batteries that it eats up in a similar fashion as Cookie Monster eats up cookies (well he used to eat cookies when I was a kid, I think he sneaks the occasional cookie these days, poor guys is probably a diabetic from all the sweets). That same toy that is causing you to cancel your hair appointment and coffee with friends just so you can keep up on the toy’s battery addiction is also driving you nuts because the “it toy” makes unbearable sounds and noises in various pitches and when it speaks you find that it is bilingual (nothing like being annoyed in two different languages). So this year instead of breaking the bank to purchase a storage unit, or a toy burial ground, or enabling a toy’s addiction to batteries, why not regain your mental state, no more mama loco (or whatever language your toys speak). This year request and give the gift of experiences. Here are a few ideas to get you started.
Art Classes from the Toledo Museum of Art
Musical Instrument lessons
A Membership to Imagination Station
A Membership to the Zoo
The Toledo Zoo offers so many fun and engaging activities for children at Natures Neighborhood and there are great family activities that occur throughout the year.
The best part about giving the gift of a membership for Christmas is that you are not only providing wonderful family memories throughout the year but you are providing mommy with much-needed sanity time. Moms can stop by The Toledo Zoo, Imagination Station, heck, I would even throw in Coscto’s (seriously, what person, parent, or child, doesn’t enjoy a few samples and perusing the merchandise?) for an hour or two, or just stop in to see their child’s favorite animal, display, or food sample, without feeling financially obligated to make a day of it. Sometimes a little monkey business does a Toddler good, and then it is home for a nap, and hopefully the Toddler with take a snooze too!
A sporting event
The movie theater
There are so many fun children’s Movies coming out in the near future (Rave ).
Tickets to a fundraising event ….
This is a great idea for a gift, not only does the recipient get a fun night out but the money goes to a great cause. Some friends and I just attended Christmas by Candlelight, a fun event to raise money for the Beach House, a family shelter.
The “host” of each table had invitations they sent to their guest (each table sat 8) and they decorated the table as they pleased; only the linen tablecloth was provided.
It was so much fun walking around and seeing all the creative ways other tables were decorated for the event. There was also a silent action and DJ, what more could you asks for?
Another great fundraising event that would also be a fantastic gift for locals are tickets to, Junior Leagues Chocolate Soiree, an evening of chocolate decadence, where selected restaurants and businesses will showcase their best chocolate creation.
Tickets to a play….
Huntington Center ,Disney on Ice, Harlem Globetrotters, Professional Bull Riders, Freestyle Motocross, Monster Jam Monster Trucks, and more
Tickets to Cedar Point
Tickets to Kalahari
Granted there are some grandparents, aunts, and uncles that can be sticklers when it comes to embracing the “Experience” as a gift idea. So, if they still want to get your child something to open and play with for Christmas, encourage something small that is related to the experience. For example, if they are getting him tickets to a sports event maybe they could also get him a hat with the team’s logo or mascot on it. Or, if they are getting the child dance lessons maybe they could also purchase dance shoes for them to open Christmas morning, you get the idea. If they still will not budge and insist on purchasing toys express that there are so many children out there that have gone without so much this year, and they will be delighted to receive their toy donation. Remind them that Christmas is not about toys, it is about expressing gratitude, spending time together as a family, and creating wonderful memories all of which are fostered by “experiences” for gifts and donating to those less fortunate.