Do your Christmas shopping differently this year – treat the kids to experiences, rather than stuff!
Christmas may be the time for giving, but like many of us, you may already feel like your house is bursting full of toys and stuff. In the UK it feels ingrained into our culture to track down and spend a small fortune on this year’s toy trends – we do it every year. But in doing so we might actually be doing the wrong thing for our kids.
When you ask children what makes them happy, they don’t often talk about material things. They prioritise spending time building relationships with their family and friends and having lots of stimulating things to do, especially outside. These measures contribute to a child’s wellbeing, and worryingly the UK are currently 16th out of 21 countries for child well-being according to UNICEF research. (You can read more about this in the UNICEF report into Children’s wellbeing in the UK, Sweden & Spain: the role of inequality and materialism).
So, if you’re thinking about moving the focus more towards gifting time and memories this year, we’ve collected some ideas to help. These ideas can be adapted for your kids, grandkids, friends kids, and there’s something for every budget.
Make your own gift experience vouchers
Why not create your own little book of coupons for special treats that your kids can redeem and enjoy throughout the year? You can personalise it to include the things that your kids love doing with you like a night at the cinema, bowling, lunch at their favourite restaurant or a trip to the seaside.
You could even call it the 12 months of Christmas. Each month you could arrange an outing or an experience, where the kids get to open the envelope on the 1st day of the month.
If you’re feeling crafty you can make them yourself (see image, have a look on Pinterest for some ideas!), or you can download and edit a digital version online and just print them yourself.
Give the gift of kids classes
There’s so many classes available locally for kids of all ages to get involved in – and if your kids are like mine, they want to do it all!
Gift a Big Little Days card to get discounted entry to lots of local attractions throughout the year.
Jump Arena trampoline park has special group discount offers and at Go Ape In Temple Newsam you can gift a session on one of the 3 different high rope course, depending on the height of your child.
If you’ve got a little thrill seeker in the family, why not head for a day out at a local theme park. Light Water Valley and Flamingo Land are both within an 90 minute drive of North Leeds. Or if you’ve got younger children, why not try Sundown Adventureland near Retford. It’s specifically for children under 10 years old and annual passes are available.
Or if you want to give them the choice, you can buy Yorkshire Attraction vouchers and they can choose where they want to go.
Take in a show
If your kids love the big screen you could give them a special ‘date’ trip to the cinema just one on one with you to see a film of their choice.
If your little ones love their furry friends, you could plan a trip to a farm, the zoo, or the wildlife park. If you want to get a bit more hands on, Yorkshire Wildlife park run animal experiences where you can go behind the scenes with the keepers to feed the giraffes or enjoy playtime with the baboons!
At Hope Pastures pony sanctuary in Adel you can a adopt a pony (£15) or book a Pony Day (£30) for your little pony fans.
Or if you’re thinking about an adoption package, Guide Dogs For The Blind has a lovely sponsorship package which allows you to support a puppy’s training to become a qualified Guide Dog. They’ll give you regular ‘Pupdates’ following your puppy’s journey and lots of photos to keep.
WWF also offer a range of animals to adopt where you get a cuddly toy, fact pack, and regular updates.
Cook up a storm
If you have a budding MasterChef at home, why not plan some 1:1 time running your own home cooking sessions? Find some family favourite recipes and help your child build some skills in the kitchen. They will love getting messy and feel proud of sitting down to eat what they’ve made.
However, if you don’t fancy cleaning up the mess, you’re in luck as Cook Stars run a variety of kids cookery classes in Skipton.
Take in some sport
If your child is more of a sports fan why not consider a ticket for Leeds United, Leeds Rhino’s or Yorkshire County Cricket? Some offer half-price season tickets if you’d like to take in more than one game but don’t want the cost of a full season. Or if they’re a true sports fan, what about a stadium tour?
Planet Ice, skating rink near Elland Road is also due to open this November 2019!
Good luck with your shopping & have a very Merry Christmas!