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December 18, 2014

3 Ways to Make Lasting Memories at the Holidays

In the hustle and bustle not to mention the mad dash in spending cash during the holidays, it can be all too easy to let the season fly by in a blur. So put down that to-do list and read our 3 ways to make meaningful, lasting memories at the holidays for you and your family.

Give the gift of experiences, not things

Whether you’re stumped for what to get for the child who has everything or just hoping to avoid the pile-up of  ”stuff” around the house, help them have an experience they’ll never forget. Only you can know what your special recipient will love best, but here are some of our favorite ideas:

  • Tickets to watch a favorite sports team or musical
  • Passes to the zoo or museum (memberships are even better!)
  • Art or cooking classes
  • Season passes to a nearby water park, amusement park or nature center

If you’re unsure how to ”give” an experience, we love The Simple Dollar‘s style: A simple, well-made certificate would do the trick! Consider adding some fun extras in the envelope, like pictures or brochures.

Is your impulse to use your favorite holiday wrapping paper deterring you from experiential gifts? Consider wrapping up a book, or other small gift, to help your child get excited for the activity ahead! For example: If you are gifting passes to Chicago’s Field Museum, a book about dinosaurs is the perfect way to build anticipation!

Giving experiences for the holidays is meaningful because the memories will last long after the recipient has outgrown their other toys and gadgets they receive this year. Gifting a cooking class? Every time he makes a pizza, he’ll think of you. Passes to the museum? The facts she learns, shell keep for a lifetime.

Start a family memory book

Example of a simple family memory book pageTime flies, and the holidays are the perfect time to start preserving the memories you make year after year. But we aren’t doing anything special, you say to yourself.

”When we recall Christmas past, we usually find that the simplest things not the great occasions—give off the greatest glow of happiness”, Bob Hope once said.

What may seem like insignificant moments and silly details now may be the things you look back upon most fondly years down the road. Write them down!

Once a year, snap a new photo of each kid (or every family member) and have them answer a few questions about the holiday season: favorite moment, favorite gift received (or given), favorite part of the meal, etc. We even created a printable to download that you can use with your own family!

The important thing is that your memory book is meaningful to you and your family. Whether you make note of the cookies you baked and to whom you delivered them, what you had for Christmas dinner each year, or simply compile cards and photos each season, make it your own!

Create New Holiday Traditionsgingerbread

The holidays are about so much more than opening gifts, but its easy to let that become the main event. Instead, try these holiday activities on for size! They may become a favorite annual tradition in your family for years to come.

  • Set an afternoon aside for the family to assemble and decorate gingerbread houses. This gingerbread kit from Sensitive Sweets is perfect for families with food allergies: its gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free, soy-free, peanut-free, and tree-nut-free and vegan. And may we suggest decorating with Surf Sweets Jelly Beans, TruJoy Organic Candy Canes, and Surf Sweets Peach Rings?
  • Gather the family round after a meal for holiday story time. When the kids are young, they can snuggle up and listen, but as they get older, they can take on the reading! Some of our favorite books: The Polar Express, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, Herschel and the Hanukkah Goblins
  • Institute an annual holiday craft! Family members of all ages will love getting in touch with their creative side to make keepsakes that will last for years to come. From clothespin and cork reindeer ornaments to classic cinnamon ”gingerbread” men, some of our favorite crafts are both simple and made from supplies you may already have at home!
  • Give your kids matching pajamas each year and snap a picture in the same spot, like in front of the tree or on the stairs. It will make for a great look back over the years! One of our friends even buys multiple sets in different sizes so that they can wear the ”same” pair every year.

What are your family’s favorite holiday traditions? Let us know in the comments!