12 Gifts of Experience

The other day I shared how our family ENJOYS the Christmas season by keeping our gifts simple, yet thoughtful. One of the ideas that resonated with a lot of people was our gift of experience. Many of you asked what our 12 Family Fun Nights would be for next year so I wanted to go into more detail about that today.

gift-490828_1280I will individually wrap 12 envelopes filled with a theme and gift cards/cash that correlate with each activity. Half of the nights will be focused on our family, while the other half will be focused on loving others. We will wrap this gift with calendars for each of the kids and on the first of each month, we will choose a date that works well with our schedules. When it is time for our family night to begin, we will randomly unwrap one of the envelopes and go off on our adventures.

Inside the envelopes will be…

1. $25 GC to purchase indoor snowball fight items. We want the kids to get creative, think outside the box, and most of all have fun with this. We recently made yarn snowballs and the kids have had so much fun with this.

2. $25 Restaurant GC to secretly pay for someone else’s meal.

3. $25 Bed, Bath and Beyond GC to purchase some kind of make-at-home kit. This might be ice cream, s’mores, a gingerbread house, whatever we see that night that sparks an interest.

4. $50 GC to buy food and supplies to bring to a local food pantry.

5. $25 GC to purchase items for Crazy Dinner. Each person chooses what they want to eat for dinner that night and we have a potluck dinner. Most often we end up with something like fruit salad (daughter), cheese balls (son), something frozen (hubby), and dessert (me).

6. $20 in ones and a role of tape to take to a dollar store and secretly tape $1 bills on random items.

7. $25 Movie Theater GC to see a family movie together as a family. This is not something we do regularly, so my hope is this will be a special treat for the kids.

8. $50 GC to put together a couple care packages for missionaries overseas.

9. 4 small gift cards ($5 each) + names of each member in the family. Each person will draw a name and then purchase a small gift for that person.

10. $25 GC to purchase ingredients to bake cookies and bring our treats to our neighbors.

11. $25 Lime Mexican Grill GC to check out a new restaurant with the family. We actually purchased a $25 GC and received a $5 bonus GC for free!

12. $50 GC to purchase baby items to bring to a local Pregnancy Center.

dollars-426026_1280Our total cost for this gift: $365 – a dollar a day (I really wish I could say that I did that on purpose), or $91.25 per person for a year of monthly adventures.

Three reasons I am super excited about this gift:

1. We are being intentional about spending time together and building memories as a family.

2. The ideas are already thought out, so my husband and I aren’t looking at each other at 6pm going back and forth, wondering what we should do.

3. The family nights are already paid for.

 Three tips for planning a gift of experience like this for your family:

1. Trade in credit card points to receive gift cards for free. (We did this for a few of our gift cards, so our out of pocket expenses were even lower!)

2. Each month in 2015 pick up a gift card and jot down a couple ideas of how your family can do a family night. By doing this, you spread out the expense of this gift over a year and can incorporate this cost into your budget.

3. If you have children, get them involved. Find out what they’d like to go do and make sure there is a family night idea that is something they will be really excited about.

My hope is to blog through our family adventures next year to share with you all the fun, and the unexpected. So, if you aren’t already connected with me on Facebook, I’d love for you to join me! I am truly excited to see how this gift plays out next year and can’t wait to get started.

Let’s get creative. What other family night ideas do you have?