Best Non-Commercialized Gift Ideas For Kids and Adults

Best Non-Commercialized Gift Ideas

Christmas is meaningful in a lot of ways; it holds past memories and future expectations for each of us. Our childhood Christmases might be symbolic of our childhoods themselves. The Christmases we want to provide our friends and family members now is representative of entire value systems.

I have always LOVED Christmas—the hoopla, the presents, the gatherings. But lately, there has been a shift. The whole thing feels more like a circus than its supposed to. The mystery of God as man and soothed ache of family brought together from across the miles and the joy of expectations fulfilled is overshadowed by something sinister.

Maybe it is just adulthood. But I think it has to do with the machine of consumerism fueled by the lies of marketing. Lies that you and I have bought into.”Your Christmas will be nothing if you don’t have_______.”

A new Lexus. Tickle-Me-Furball. Chocolate with hazelnuts. (Why do that do chocolate?) Perfectly wrapped presents. A meal that takes so many dishes you’re mad by the time you’re done making it. Pinterest-y teacher gifts. Immaculate decorations. Stuff, stuff, stuff.

So much of our season is wrapped up in stuff. And I love stuff as much as the next person, don’t get me wrong. But I think the frenzy that all this stuff brings is robbing us of so much of the joy.

So, why not scale it back this year?

Reclaim Christmas. Let peace reign. Refuse to let OLD expectations for yourself and by others drive the pace and tone of this year’s Christmas season.

You don’t have to spend the same amount you always spend. You don’t have to buy as many things as usual. You can choose quality and necessity over quantity.

One way we’re going to fight for a peaceful season is limiting the amount of stuff that comes into our home.

Think about it: EVERYTHING you buy is YOURS for it’s lifetime. So even good gifts in some way, are an albatross. 

New Christmas wreath=forever wreath.

New plastic light-up toy from China=forever toy from China.

New fruitcake=forever cake (‘Cause ain’t nobody gonna eat that.)

New cart of crap from Kohls=tons of junk in your drawers for the rest of your life.

This post isn’t about judging you, or telling you how to do your holiday. It’s about releasing you. And me. We don’t have to wallow in the post-Christmas doldrums.

The ones where we watch the new toys we just bought our kids sit there untouched. Or where we find ourselves spending hours returning things. Or where the sinking feeling that reality didn’t quite meet the expectations again overtakes us.

Go for smaller, meaningful gestures. Less stuff, more experiences. Create memories that last!

Here is some brainstorming for gift ideas that are less commercialized. We are focusing on minimizing toys and gifts in general and think our kids will actually be happiest with LESS stuff. But there will still be lots of celebrating and having fun!

Kids Experience Gifts

  • Music Together Class
  • Gymnastics class
  • High Tea
  • Concert Tickets
  • Water Park Weekend
  • Coupons for Coffee Dates
  • Movie Passes
  • Aquarium Pass
  • Camping/Hiking Adventure
  • Manicure/Pedicure
  • Sports Event Tickets
  • Craft/Building Something Together
  • Sports Camp or Lessons
  • Indoor Jumping Place Passes
  • Zoo Pass
  • Nature Center Pass
  • Theme Park Pass
  • Museum Pass
  • A Coupon Book of “Dates” to Go on With a Parent Throughout the Year

 Adults Experience Gifts

  • Gym Membership/Trainer
  • Massage
  • Spa Experience
  • Race Entry Fee
  • Music Lessons
  • Online course or class: art, sewing, investing, writing, music etc
  • Newspaper/Magazine subscription
  • Conference Fee
  • Ticket/Trip to go see an old friend
  • Hire a Housekeeper for a few months or a Deep Clean
  • Hire a Personal Organizer
  • Set Up Babysitting Hours to Allow for Sanity Time

Family Gift/Experience Ideas

  • Fancy Christmas Breakfast
  • A Birdhouse
  • A Firepit
  • An iPad
  • Family Camp
  • Scavenger Hunt: Create a fun across town in in-house scavenger hunt
  • Family Olympics: create a series of games, ways to earn points and the winner gets a special prize
  • A Weekend Away in a Hotel
  • Make a Photo Album together on Shutterfly or similar site
  • Bless Your Own Family By Adopting Another Family for Christmas
  • Decorate a Gingerbread House Together

Kids Non-Toy Gifts

  • Costumes (Check out Goodwill and make a box of fun costume options)
  • Instruments
  • Book Set (Anne of Green Gables, Chronicles of Narnia, Tales of the Kingdom, etc)
  • I Lost My Name Book for younger kids
  • Magazine Subscription
  • Art Supplies
  • Telescope
  • Cookbook & Apron
  • Easel
  • A “Hope Chest”: (to store things to save from their childhoods and for their futures)
  • Book Light to Clip to their Beds
  • Headlamp for Night Walks, Reading and Camping
  • Sleeping Bag
  • Snowshoes or other Sports Equipment
  • Suitcase
  • Stationary
  • Desk
  • Special Chair
  • A Bike
  • CDs/Music
  • Hand-sewn Items (I’m attempting Cloaks for my girls this year)

Other Adult Gift Ideas

  • Amazon Prime Membership
  • Netflix Membership
  • Yankee Candle
  • Birchbox Subscription (monthly delivery of fun beauty items)
  • Stitchfix (clothes delivery-could do just one for fun)
  • A framed, blown up photograph of a special place or event
  • iTunes gift card
  • Etsy Gift Card
  • Favorite coffee or hot drink mix and a good travel mug
  • Dream Dinners or similar dinner assembly place gift certificate
  • Wildtree Freezer Dinner oil and spices kit with the promise of assembling freezer meals together
  • An idea to give several of your best mom friends: Make a triple batch of your favorite freezable soup like this Turkey Chili, divide into 6-8 gallon freezer bags. You can bless LOTS of friends with just a little effort! Freeze. Grab a box of cornbread muffins and a box of brownies for each friend you plan on gifting the meal to. They’ll LOVE having a meal on hand for a night that cooking seems impossible.
  • Books

Take it Up a Notch: Buy a stack of 12 books, one for each month. Tie them in a ribbon, put in a basket with treats and a coupon for a night alone to read each month at a coffee shop.

Instead of going full speed ahead this year, slow down.

Save money.

Value eternal over temporal.

Avoid the post-Christmas let-down.

Skip more clutter.

Minimize stress.

Stop assuaging parent guilt with crap.

Enjoy Christmas. Love and give lavishly. Just don’t be afraid to start doing it a new way. A way that doesn’t leave you in stuck the shadow of  consumerism.

Don’t harbor guilt if you do love tons of presents. But observe the aftermath this year. Take mental notes. Maybe you will see that you’re dialed in. Maybe you’ll see you are up for a change.

Whatever you’re doing this year, wishing you a blessed start to your holiday season!

Heidi