I am honored to feature another post today from Sidney Young from Need Organizing? She is a “regular” on my blog because I love her down-to-earth common sense ways to combat clutter and keep your home organized! I know you will love this article from her too! Here is Sidney’s: “The Best Guide to Experience Gifts for Kids and Teens”.
The Best Guide to Experience Gifts for Kids and Teens
Sidney: I’ve spent over 20 wonderful years helping families eliminate clutter from their homes. With the holidays around the corner, it has me thinking about how I can celebrate through giving, but not create clutter in our home and those of my family and friends.
Most families agree that we live in a constant battle against clutter. The problem only gets worse as the families grow, especially once the kids are at different developmental stages and interests.
I am so excited to share my best guide to experience gifts for kids AND teens!
(This post was originally published November 2015 and updated November 2019 for accuracy.)
By no means am I saying that I’m not buying the children in my life toys, but why not add a few things from the list below? Most of the gifts on this list are suggestions for kids and teens, but they also make great gifts for the entire family. An added bonus is that this list fits budgets of any size.
Rather than frantically searching for gift ideas a few days before Christmas, try these clutter-free gift ideas – perfect for any age and wallet!
Clutter-free Experience Gifts:
- Books are first on the list because they are my all-time favorite gift to give and receive. They take up very little space on a bookshelf, are reasonably priced and can be enjoyed by kids and adults of all ages. There is simply no such thing as having “too many books!”
- My tween loves audiobooks and they take up NO space at all.
- Magazine Subscriptions: What child doesn’t like receiving things in the mail?! Giving a magazine subscription encourages reading and it will arrive every month! (Highlights & Spider are two of my favorites.)
- RENTAL Subscription boxes, for all the reasons as magazine subscriptions, but they also provide hands-on learning and fun – without leaving permanent clutter in your home!
- Savings Bonds can be used for future education expenses or making a larger purchase. It takes time for them to mature. Visit the Treasury Direct website for answers to all your questions.
- Activities. Bowling, pottery painting, crafts or an indoor play area. Making memories with your family and friends is a gift within itself.
- Experiences are the perfect gifts for kids of all ages. Sports games, concerts, musicals or theater plays.
- This may be a gift for your older kids but who wouldn’t love to spend some one on one time watching your favorite local sports team or taking your kiddo to her first concert. Start saving now because this could be one of your more expensive gifts.
- Family-Get-Away. I just finished planning a 3 day trip to a local favorite indoor water park resort destination for the family in late December. The memories will last a lifetime.
- Annual memberships to museums and zoos.
- (Tove’s insert: Our 9-year-old recently got a membership to the local Science Center, and he has said it was his coolest present ever!)
- Making homemade cookies & candy is a great way to spend time with your kids. Turn the event into a learning experience of measuring and helping in the kitchen. Don’t forget to add the recipe to your sweet treat so they can make it whenever they want.
- Contribute to a 529 account or an Educational IRA. It’s a simple and easy way to give a gift today that will help them in the future, and every little bit counts.
- Movie Tickets are the perfect gift for kids of all ages. The gift card can be presented in a box filled with candy and popcorn.
- Classes: Art, music & cooking classes fosters creativity and introduces kids to other like-minded children.
- Our kids are so much more advanced than we were so online classes aren’t a stretch. I’m researching online drawing classes for my daughter’s newest hobby.
- (Tove’s insert: Outschool offers online classes and courses for kids and teens. There’s something for every interest and hobby.)
As you can see, not every wrapped present under the tree needs to add to the endless stream of clutter in your home. With a little creativity and outside-of-the-box thinking, you can give gifts that kids will enjoy throughout the year – and together you will make memories that last much longer than the time it takes to remove a plastic toy from its box.
What was the most awesome non-toy gift your child ever received? (Leave your answer in the comments, please!)
Connect with Sidney on Facebook for daily organization tips, tricks, and reminders. You will love her, I promise!
Contact information: Sidney Young, Professional Organizer at Need Organizing?
Professional Organizing in Iowa City and Surrounding areas
Phone: 319 400-1953
Don’t miss Sidney’s other posts. Everything she writes is full of practical and easy-to-implement advice!
“Playroom Organization Tips for Your Child with ASD (Autism Spectrum Disorder)”
“Ten Organizing Shortcuts: Live Clutter-Free for Good!”
“Smart Kitchen Organization Tips”
Heather Garcia says
For Christmas my in laws gave my girls Disney gift cards. They were able to use them to buy their souviners when we went to Disneyland a few months later.
Jill Robbins says
The biggest reason I’m dreading the holidays is that my kids already have so much junk. These are great ideas!
Mama in the Now says
I totally agree with the feeling of “DREAD!” – I am actually doing a big toy purge right now!
So many great ideas! I love magazine subscriptions like Highlights for the girls! Pinned & stumbled!
Mama in the Now says
Thank you for the support! Our kids LOVE magazines too!
Our 1st child is due in Jan 2016, we have already made it clear to grandparents, aunts & uncles that we have NO desire for toys when holidays roll around. We want our son to have savings, life experiences, local outings, lessons and such that will enrich his life beyond a light up toy which he will out grow in 6months time and create clutter
Mama in the Now says
Hopefully you can start a new tradition for your baby – I completely agree that they outgrow the toys so quickly. Good luck with his arrival!
Once the baby is born you will change your mind in a couple of minths about having a playpen full of toys making all kind of noises and music, rattles, stuffed animals, etc… They are important for the baby’s development and stimulation , and you can get a break too, mommy!! Just let the baby enjoy toys and discover ?