5 Gifts That Aren't Toys {or Things}

5 Gifts That Aren't Toys {or Things}

I only partner with businesses that share my ethos. While this is a sponsored post, all thoughts and opinions are my own.
— Meagan

Not to totally freak you out, BUT we are just 17 days away from Christmas. And if you celebrate Hanukkah, it will be practically over by the time you read this (in which case I completely missed the mark - sorry!). Alas, the holiday season is dashing along. I for one, completed our gift shopping today. I say this in a not braggy, but rather very proud of myself (I barely know who I am, now), kind of way. Part of the feeling of such success is that we've simplified Christmas and are following the 4 Gift Rule, which is a whole different post altogether. The other part, which we will discuss, is that we have some experiential gifts in the mix. Think gifts that aren't material objects, but instead memory making, joy-producing gifts - and this post I'll give you 5 ideas for giving gifts that aren't toys.

For many, the idea of skipping traditional material goods for gifts in lieu of giving an experience it tricky to accept. For one, we like shopping (most of us). Our culture is capitalistic and consumer driven. We are surrounded by opportunities to consume - we don't even have to leave our homes or have to be wearing pants, or a bra. We can literally, sit on the toilet, phone in hand and order everything from groceries to a vehicle. Buying things makes us happy - temporarily.

New research out of San Francisco State University found that people reported feeling happier and more satisfied with having spent money when they spent money on experiences versus objects. The rush we get from purchasing material items passes quickly. However, when we spend money on experiences, we benefit from several positive emotions. First, there is excitement in the planning phase. Then we have the joy of the experience itself. AND then, we have the pleasure of looking back on our memories and feeling new joy. Here's a final fun fact to ultimately win you over. When we remember experiences, we tend only to remember the fondest parts of them.

So I've won you over, and you're ready to gift some experiences this holiday season (or anytime!), but what kind of experiences make good gifts? Stick with me because we've got you covered.

1. Embrace the Arts

Whether you're into music, theater, film or dance, there are ways year round you can enjoy these interests. For example, the holiday season abounds with annual live shows, concerts, and exhibits. Our family favorite is The Nutcracker. It's been a yearly tradition since I was my girls' age, and something I continue for the next generation. Russian Ballet Orlando does a beautiful refreshed version of this classic ballet.

Photo Credit: Russian Ballet Orlando

Photo Credit: Russian Ballet Orlando


2. Extracurricular Activities

There has been a lot of talk in recent years about the concern of the rising price of organized activities for kids. Things like swim lessons, sports fees, or dance tuition make great gifts for grandparents to give. The value is thought to be lasting. While there have not been any long-term formal studies, Psychologist and Author Angela Duckworth, suggests that committing to, and following through in an extracurricular, such as ballet (she spoke specifically highly about ballet in her book "Grit. Power of Passion and Perseverance") may help to develop gritty kids, which in turn grow into high achieving adults.

We love the structure that our girls get from their ballet studio, Russian Ballet Orlando. It's the perfect mix of professional instruction with a home away from home, family feel.

Photo Credit: Russian Ballet Orlando

Photo Credit: Russian Ballet Orlando

3. Vacations

This one is self-explanatory. Aside from planning, embarking, and enjoying on memory making adventures, the well-traveled are said to be more empathetic, more likely to see beauty where others don't, better money managers, smile more often and report feeling, you guessed it, happier.

4. Self-Care

It sure seems like self-care is the buzzword of 2018. We can't get enough of it, and for a good reason! If you follow my work, you know that I am very vocal about the importance of mom's happiness. You can give the gift of Self-care in a variety of different ways. Perhaps you love cooking but all that goes into cooking, plus kids, is a huge pain point - ask for a meal kit subscription! Taking steps toward lessening your stress equals self-care. Maybe massages and spa treatments are more your cup of tea? Or consider a fun new way to get fit. For example, RBO offers adult ballet, pilates, AND salsa classes.

5. Summer Camps

How dare I speak the words - In. December. Real talk, mamas. Summer Camps are crazy costly in most cases. Also, they fill up fast, so indeed it behooves us to discuss it sooner rather than later. Camp tuition might be a big ticket item that multiple gift givers could donate to, and the bonus is you'll secure a spot in your dream camp in time for the early bird special. I bet you know I can tell you where a good ballet camp is, by now, but for additional reference, you can check out a list of popular central Florida camps here.

Gift giving aside, we encounter opportunities every day where we can choose to get less stuff. I implore you to be intentional about how you fill your life. Happy gifting!

kidshealth.png
A Happy Home Every Day of The Year

A Happy Home Every Day of The Year

30 Minute Comforting Winter Dinner Recipe: Roasted Turmeric Chickpea & Cauliflower

30 Minute Comforting Winter Dinner Recipe: Roasted Turmeric Chickpea & Cauliflower

Find me there!