Why Do I Give My Kids ‘Experience Vouchers’ Instead of Physical Gifts During the Holidays?

Happy family of four walking on a path in the forest.

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I am happier with this approach for several reasons.

key points

  • Some people give toys, games and clothes to their children during the holidays.
  • I prefer to focus on the things we can do together as a family.
  • Giving experiences for the holidays provides more learning opportunities and they don’t take up space the way toys or physical items do.

Now that the holidays are approaching, many parents I know are still scrambling to find the perfect gifts for their kids. But I’m done holiday shopping for my kids — and it’s not because I’m super organized and got everything done in November.

Rather, a big reason I finish shopping for my kids is because they don’t get that many physical gifts from me. Of course, I bought a few small coins so I have something to give them, for example, accessories for my daughters and a book and t-shirt for my son. But mostly, my husband and I don’t give physical gifts for the holidays. Rather, we experience coupons/gifts. Here is why.

1. My kids can grow up with experiences more than toys

Can my kids enjoy another Lego set? Sure. And you could argue that there is value in manipulating different parts and creating different structures.

But in the end, I feel like my kids are getting more value from different experiences than your average toy. That’s why I prefer to give them coupons they can use for a trip to a museum where they can learn something or a trip to try a new sport.

2. Experiences don’t take up space

When you have kids, some degree of clutter is guaranteed in your home. And it doesn’t matter if you have a basement dedicated to being a playground like me. Clutter will still build up and annoy you.

Another benefit of experience gifts is that they don’t take up space in my house. I don’t have to yell at my kids to lift something else and I don’t have to worry about finding room for an oversized playset that can only be used for a few hours.

3. We can enjoy family experiences

I like to make time for family outings on the weekends. And the gifts of experience contribute more to this than toys.

Sure, there are some board games we can play as a family. And one gift I always give my kids during the holidays is the gingerbread cookie set ( Cost What we enjoy making and eating as a family. But in the end, I’d rather spend my money on season passes to a nearby theme park (which can result in lots of fun outings) than a set of toys that my kids are more likely to not play with on their own.

A much better system for gift giving

Many people love to see their kids open their gift wrapping. But my preference is to still give my children a few pieces of paper with different experiences written on them.

To be fair, my kids are a little older and I didn’t do this experience thing when they were younger. At that point, I just ran credit card The various dolls, blocks and games tab kept them busy here and there for a few minutes if I’m lucky so I could get things done all over the house. But if you have older kids, you might want to consider making at least some of your holiday gifts the “get out and do something” kind of ones.

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