Our Christmas Buying Guide: Give the Gift of Family Experience

too much stuff?

With Christmas fast approaching (I know by all the early birds putting out their Christmas decorations, though it’s not even Thanksgiving yet- thanks for that), I’m starting to get a bit panicky.  Not because I’m behind on shopping, but because we don’t want any more “things”. Sometimes when I’m walking through the house, I feel like Mama Bear in the Berenstain Bears, “Think of Others in Need” where all of their abundance of stuff chases Mama Bear around in her dreams chanting “Too much stuff” at her.

Too much stuff.

We feel fortunate that we have a comfortable home filled with love and our needs met. We don’t have everything ever created and sure there are some wants, but honestly, our house is thinged out. It’s not that we aren’t grateful for all of the thoughtful gifts we receive.  We are.  We just don’t need more. 

We are trying to think of a way to gently break it to would be gift givers that we’d really love family experiences rather than gifts this year. Creating this list of material gift alternatives, was a great exercise in really trying to identify what is important to our family.  We included the girls in creating our family gift wish list as well to make sure they get what they feel is important to them too.

Here is our family wish list for family fun experiences instead of things:

  • Family and friends to come visit us since so many live so far away.
  • Air travel Gift Certificates.
  • Little Passports Gift Certificate.  (Monthly world travel activity subscription for Maisy)
  • ZooBooks or National Geographic Kids.
  • Donation to a children’s charity, the girls’ schools, etc.
  • Gift Certificates to a local pottery studio, where we could paint and create our own items.
  • Money toward after-school enrichment programs.
  • Tea Party Gift Certificates.
  • Help us learn.  Swim, cooking, tennis, dance or art classes, oh my!
  • Disneyland Gift Certificates.
  • Movie night at home with iTunes Gift Certificates also can be used for apps.
  • Movie Gift Certificates to the theater.
  • Flower and vegetable seeds for the garden.
  • So many play dates and sleepovers. (The girls' specific request.)

How do you keep the “stuff” to a minimum in your house?  What is our list missing? Or do you go all out? Join in, what do you think? As always, thanks for reading.



I'm a part-time work from home, full time stay at home mom to two daughters and an Australian Labradoodle puppy. We are enjoying our last year before big girl school, playing with friends, swapping childcare to get the job done and getting crafty when we can fit it in. We live together in a wonderful community that we are truly thankful for and proud to be a part of. It takes a village and this is ours.