5 Non-Material Holiday Gift Ideas for Kids

Posted by on Dec 5, 2014 | Comments Off on 5 Non-Material Holiday Gift Ideas for Kids

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Christmas and Hanukkah are just around the corner and it’s the time of year when kids everywhere feel the wonder of the season and the anticipation of opening holiday gifts. Even as adults we can relate to the excitement and buildup kids feel before the holidays, with our own plans and expectations of how we’d like things to go. While the delight and wonder are what make the season so magical, I have yet to meet a parent who hasn’t, at least once, expressed disappointment that a much desired gift or activity was not received by her child with satisfaction and gratitude. It’s easy for children to buy into the buildup and glamor of the season, believing that a new video game, bicycle, or pair of boots will bring unending happiness as all the ads and commercials promise. It’s only natural that their reaction will not match that of the kids on TV who open the same gift—those kids are acting! We aren’t suggesting that you refrain from buying gifts, but before your family sets yourself up for the buildup and letdown that can so commonly happen during the holidays, consider giving some non-material gifts to your kids. By doing so they’ll learn that positive experiences are really what they’re searching for in all the toys and games they lust after. You’ll also be teaching them that the holidays are about sharing and connecting with others, not just getting more stuff. Read on for a few ideas for non-material gifts for kids.

  1. A Parent’s Wish List
    Your children love to feel that you’re proud of them, see potential in them, and that you know there are great things ahead for them. Write down a list of 10 hopes you have for your child for the coming year, and why you want those things for them. Make sure you pick non-material thing, for example “I hope you learn more about marine life in science class because you love whales so much”, or “I hope to take a family vacation with you and your brother somewhere with a beach and a forest”, “I hope to have a weekly game night with the whole family.” Keep your child’s age and personality in mind when writing and read the list together during your family holiday celebration.
  2. Family Yearbook
    While this gift does involve making something material, its focus is the enjoyment of your collected experiences together. Spend some time sorting through pictures and videos from the past year and put together a family yearbook of big events and funny things that happened. Choose major milestones to write about and sprinkle in hilarious moments, beautiful sights, and holidays. This is a great end-of-the year gift that will remind everyone in the family of how much you have to be thankful for and how much there is to look forward to as a family. You’ll love looking back at it in future years, too!
  3. Family Memberships
    One of the best experience gifts you can give your family is a membership to the local zoo, children’s museum, botanic gardens, or history museum. A year-long membership will set your family up for unlimited opportunities to spend time as a family learning together and enjoying new things.
  4. Classes
    Classes are another great way to gift an ongoing activity. Depending on your child’s age and interests, you could choose music and art classes, sports or gymnastics, language, or dance. Classes are a great way for kids to connect with others and learn more about their own interests and abilities.
  5. Holiday Events
    Choose an activity or two to do specifically during the holiday season like ice skating together, snowshoeing, seeing a ballet or play, and taking a carriage ride. By letting your kids know that the activities you’ve chosen are part of their set of gifts for the holidays, they can direct some of their excitement and wonder towards time with family, and will probably enjoy a day of fun more than the fleeting moment after opening a toy.

We hope that these ideas provide some inspirational ways to enjoy the holidays non-materially with your kids. What are your favorite gifts of experience?



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