The Gift of Memories

As I mentioned in a previous post, I’m not quite ready to instill the four gift rule at Xmas. So this year, I am trying more to focus on gifts that will create memories rather than toys.

We’ve been instilling yearly traditions that we can can look back on like cutting down our own tree in the forest, making cookies together and doing good deeds for others. This year, I decided to wrap all the holiday books we have and place them under the tree starting December 1st. Emma is so excited to unwrap a book each evening. Despite most books being ones she already has, with a few new ones tossed in, she has enjoyed the stories as if they were new to her all over again.

If you are struggling with ideas on what to get your kiddo(s) beyond toys, here are some ideas for you.


Noni and G-pa booked us a night at the new Great Wolf Lodge in Colorado Springs for two days of water park fun. The 84 degree pools will feel nice in January. We are looking forward to a mini vacation.

Emma has been begging to go skiing in the mountains with friends like we did last year. I won a two night condo in WP for half the cost at an auction. I know we will have a blast hitting the slopes with friends!

Classes and Passes:

Signing your kiddo(s) up for a class isn’t as hard to swallow if you aren’t buying them a bunch of gifts for under the tree as well. From art to sports, there are so many choices to pick from. Wrap up a pair of ballet shoes, a soccer ball or maybe some paints to go along with whatever classes you choose. This way, they still have something to physically unwrap under the tree.

Passes to the zoo and to play places like Monkey Business also make great gifts. We’ve done these in the past, and they keep the fun going for months and months.

Hand Me Downs:

Emma has two older girl cousins on my side. It’s been great when we have things like a Bitty Baby crib and dress up clothes passed down. Emma loves knowing her cousins also played with these items. Right now, I am sewing back together a Sleeping Beauty dress that was my niece Carly’s. Reinventing old items or fixing them up is a great way to pass along well loved treasures to continue building memories with them.

Gifts That Spark Creativity and Wonder:

From Kiwicrate to Kidstir, subscription boxes are a fun way to spark creativity. Choose one month, one year or multiple month subscriptions. Emma has been very into cooking lately, so we got her a six month subscription to Kidstir for Xmas. We look forward to the time together spent cooking!

How many times have you had to delete a burst of 100 photos of your kiddos thumb or a video of the ground? I know I’ve had to do it my fair share of times. They make great kid digital cameras now a days. Emma got one from my sister, brother in law and cousins that she can mount on her bike or her helmet or even take underwater with her!

One gift Emma received early from her elf Olivia was a telescope.

We gave it to her early because we wanted her to be able to use it to see the Super Moon. I’m sure we will bundle up on Christmas Eve and search the skies for Santa if it is a clear enough night!

I hope some of these ideas help you with gift ideas for your little ones!


We’ve been having a bunch of fun completing the tasks Olivia, Emma’s good deeds elf, has left for us.

We’ve donated toys to toys for tots, candy cane bombed cars with a note of cheer and fed birds. Emma’s picked out and donated coloring books to Children’s Hospital, helped me with labeling Xmas cards, shoveled sidewalks for neighbors and helped her Mimi set the dessert table and make pies. We look forward to continuing to pass it forward in this season of giving.


Holiday On,










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My stories and photos from the National Parks (and more)

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