The Gifts You’ll Never Throw Away

I meant to post this during the holidays, but theses concepts equally apply to birthdays, of which we have many coming up.

The holidays are always a great time for family time, good food, and of course, gifts you neither like nor will likely use. Our children are the only children in our extended family, as none of our siblings have children, so the holidays are also a time when the children receive many gifts. To be honest they have in the past enjoyed their gifts, for a few days, or even weeks, but after the parts go missing or the newness is gone, they are usually laying around the floor waiting to be stepped on. We are grateful for our friends and family who want to show their love and devotion to the children with their gifts, so that’s why it’s our job as parents to steer them in the direction of what’s important to us.
As we are a newly minimalist family, we take the items that come into our home with great care. We realize that the time we have together, knowing one another and seeing the world together, is the mostprecious gift we have. With that in mind, I made a list of gifts that both parents and kids want, from my experience as a mom of three and ideas from friends. These gifts aren’t really toys, but rather experiences, so you won’t have more clutter, noise, or mess. You will have more experiences where you can grow together. Come on, who doesn’t want that? Here are 5 ideas you can give to anyone who asks “what can I get the kids for Christmas/Birthdays?” Or just send them the link to this post.
1.) Museum Memberships
A yearly family membership to the museum of science, art or technology is a great gift for families. I end up getting museum memberships every year anyways, so I am very thankful if someone gets our family this. Membership usually run between $75-120 for a yearly family membership (thus usually includes 2 adults and 4 kids). If the museum is a part of the ASTC you can use that membership at many other museum locations. The only tricky part is that wherever you get your membership you can’t really use it in participating museums that are 90 miles from that museum. We got our membership at the pacific science center in Seattle when visited for a month and now we can use our membership at all the museums in Portland. Link below.
If that’s not something you’re interested in. Just send your family members a link to all the local museums you would enjoy visiting.
2.) Traveling Fund
I got this idea from a wedding we attending this summer where the newlyweds wanted to travel and they included this site in their registry. We love to travel so I thought this would be a great way for families to save for a trip!
If your family is large and you’d like to be funded for a trip either with your spouse and children or with the extended family, there’s a site that called traveler’s joy, that can help you fund your trip. the website is marketed to couples, but you can register as a family and just put the “wedding date” as your travel date. You can send the link to friends and family who ask and then you receive your finds either direct deposit, pay pal, or a check mailed to you. I signed up with an account already but I haven’t yet used the service, but am excited to!
3.) Fun Day Out Certificate
If you have creative relatives you can ask them to give the child a fun day out as a gift. Your friend or family can take the child out to a favorite activity, a movie, or lunch. This is also a really nice break for the parents. They can create a certificate on their own or I found a link on Pinterest with some ideas on certificates I know that my children would love to spend one on one time with anyone of our family and friends. This is especially true if you have multiple children.
4.) Donate to a cause
One of my friends told me that her family recently eliminated gift exchanges for the holidays and now exclusively donate to a cause they all collectively chose. If your family is passionate about a cause you can all decide to donate to that cause either separately online, or everyone give money to one family member in charge and then donate just once. There are a lot of local, national, and worldwide causes to donate to so I won’t even include a link. The local and less marketed foundations are always looking for help so starting locally is always a sure bet. Especially if you would ever want to donate time as a family to help the foundation or center in any ways they need.
5.) Sponsor a Child or Woman
There are many organizations that sponsor children in many countries or assist women with small micro loans to begin businesses that help their families. Many of the organizations  encourage correspondence with the families that help donate. This could be a project that your family could commit to for the whole year, or else as a one time lump sum of money.
If you have any questions or more suggestions please leave it in the comment section or email me! I would love to have more ideas out there on ways we can create more quality moments as a family.
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