Growing up Christmas seemed like a magical time. I would wake up to presents neatly wrapped under the tree and excitement in the air as I anticipated what was inside. I remember the year we got a brand new Nintendo with the power pad. We were elated. We played on that thing for hours that day and for weeks after. But then we grew tired of it and days turned in to weeks and weeks to months, until we hardly touched the gaming system at all.
My husband, and I suspect many of you, have similar memories and experiences. There are very few, if any, presents you received as a child that you still have in your possession. The only Christmas gifts I still have are a carved wooden reindeer designed, handmade and painted by my Dad and a tulip ring given to me by my grandmother. The rest are long gone.
When my husband and I married we continued to do Christmas big, even with our first child. We spent money we should’ve used to pay bills and showered him with gifts. However, over the years and with the addition of four more children, our philosophy on gift giving has changed. And when we began homeschooling, we started asking family for more experience driven gifts, rather than things.
Not sure what to give as a family gift – give something that will last a lifetime, rather than just weeks or months. Something that isn’t a passing phase or a fad. Take in to consideration the size of the family, where they live and their budget. Here are some of our favorite Frugal Family Christmas Gifts!
Zoo, Aquarium & Museum Memberships – This is a pricey gift, but one that is well worth the money. When we lived near a zoo, we found ourselves visiting at least once a month. It is a great field trip and different learning experience every time you go. When you add up the cost of your family going once or twice, you’ve probably already covered the cost of a family membership. Many places also offer special classes for members too, so that is another bonus.
National Park Membership – Whether you love to travel or live near a national park, having a family membership is the perfect gift. No matter how many times you visit a national park, you will always find something new to study. Many National Parks offer a Junior Ranger program (some free, some not), that encourages children to look for specific items as you explore.
Movie Night Basket – Buy a couple of family friendly movies, some popcorn kernals, an air popper (if you don’t have one), some sweet treats and a new warm blanket or two and you’re ready for a Movie Night with your family.
A Cold “Night In” Basket – With some hot chocolate mixes (or a favorite homemade one in a jar), some marshmallows and a fun new family card game or two and you’ve got a great formula for some family fun!
Laser Tag Gift Card – Years ago my Dad’s family would do a family outing after eating our holiday meal together. For several years, we played laser tag together. Some family-friendly competition, a little sweat and a lot of laughter as we chose our “code names” or when we got lost in the dark and just sat down until the time was up. The point was…we were together and having fun.
Bowling Membership – Some places offer yearly memberships for weekly games. This is a great way to get the kids out of the house, have some fun and possibly find a new sport you all enjoy!
Family Games – We love playing games together as a family. I grew up with a family that plays games. When my Dad’s family would get together, the kids were put to bed and the adults would stay up playing games late into the night. That love of games and family has been passed down to our children and they love when we get a new game.
Outdoor Game Pack – Spending time outdoors is always a great way to be with your family. Whether hiking or playing games, either way you’re together. Outdoor family games are a great gift for families that love to be outdoors, go camping or even travel full-time.
Over the years we have been given some amazing gifts and opportunities that our children will remember for a lifetime. We love giving and receiving Family Gifts, especially at Christmas time. The experiences themselves are priceless. Don’t be afraid to ask, or give, family gifts – they will thank you!