Making The Christmas Shift {Focusing on Experiences}


I grew up in a family where Christmas was simply the best. Piles of presents when we were home or a trip to see relatives in snowy Buffalo. It was simply magical and fun and just so stimulating! My husband, growing up in a Muslim country, didn’t have this type of a holiday and, quite frankly, has always found this to be extravagant and nuts.

This year, we are making the Christmas shift and moving toward experiences – and though it is hard, it already feels like the right call.

This year, our oldest kiddo is 9 (almost 10) and our twins are 6. We are at a point where the desired Lego sets are well over $200. We have managed to avoid video game systems to date, and let’s be honest, none of them need another thing in their rooms. Though in the past we’ve just bought our passes for the museum, the zoo and the aquarium as they were great outlets for our littles, this year – we’re making a big change. We have already established that Santa just brings a couple of things, knowing not all kids have a wealthy Santa visit, and they know to expect this. But we sat them down and discussed that our tree was going to look a bit different this year.

For starters, we shared that this shift means they can expect fewer presents and a little longer of a wait for the fun, but way more family fun for a whole year as our present this year would be Kings Island passes. We discussed how much they cost, which would be roughly a budget we would *try* to stick to normally (let’s be honest – I’m not good at that!), but also to consider the time, gas, food, etc. costs associated. And, as an added perk, buying them early meant we’ve already taken advantage of the Halloween events and will also go to Winterfest.

As an added bonus, family members are supporting this decision and shifting from sending gifts to sending gift cards for games and snacks they may want. We are excited about this as it will give them some more opportunity to personalize and to make some decisions about what is worth it to spend their money on, with budgeting and prioritizing spending being a lesson we hope they’ll learn from this shift.

Not having a billion things to wrap will certainly make life easier, but this Christmas shift is not going to be easy as it is a break in tradition for me. But, knowing how much time we can spend and the memories to be made vs. another tote bin full of dolls or more Legos that we simply don’t need, I think this is a shift with great dividends!


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