Growing up, my family didn't celebrate a traditional Christmas. We were a part of a religion that just didn't believe in participating in it. I never felt deprived, although, I did always wonder what it would feel like to get an excess amount of toys and gifts. But, now as a parent, that excess of stuff has got me a little overwhelmed.

The other day, as my bonus kiddo and I were organizing her room, we discovered boxes of toys and art supplies from her 6th birthday (2017) that hadn't even been opened!! What? It's just SO. MUCH. STUFF!

Now don't get me wrong, I love to receive gifts and love to give them even more, but, it just makes me feel a little guilty that our friends and family spend so much money on items that get used once or twice and then they're forgotten. According to the blog, Wellness Mama, "the average child in the developed world owns over 200 toys but only plays with 12 of them on average per day! Even crazier? Only 3% of the world’s children live in the US, but they own 40+% of the world’s toys!"

So, this year we're trying something new: no toys for Christmas.

I know, it seems a little extreme, right? But, instead of toys that will hardly get played with, we're encouraging our families to gift our little one experiences According to research published in the Journal of Psychological Science, Thomas Gilovich at Cornell University found that experiences provide more lasting happiness than material possessions.

So, after talking to our little about the plan (she was totally for the idea), we're giving it a shot. With less focus on material things, we're hoping this will allow us to focus on the real meaning of Christmas.

Luckily, we live in an area where experiences and fun things to do are easy to find. Here are some ideas if you're looking to implement this in your home too!

  • Discovery Center of Idaho - With new exhibits being featured every few months, this is a great gift for the explorer in your family.
  • Idaho Botanical Garden - This is a year-round treat. Gift cards to this place could mean your loved one can experience anything from a concert to a winter wonderland.
  • Zoo Boise - If your kiddo loves animals as much as ours, this is a no-brainer!
  • Jump Time - Okay, this place is awesome, and the kids get such a great workout, which means early bedtime and uninterrupted sleep for the parents.
  • Village Cinema - Movie tickets are always a good option because you can hang on to these until you see a trailer for a movie you REALLY wanna see!
  • Escape Room Boise - If your kids love a challenge, these escape rooms would be awesome to experience as a family!
  • Mondaes Maker Space and Supply - If your kiddo loves to create pieces of art, you gotta check this place out!

The best part about getting experiences instead of toys, you won't have to make room for them! Ok, maybe an envelope in the drawer, but that's not too bad!