4 Reasons We Are Giving An Experience Instead of Christmas Gifts This Year

vacation items in the sand

How can we make Christmas different and memorable for our kids?

Don’t get them presents.

What? That’s crazy! No presents? Have you lost it?

Probably, but we are trying it anyway.

This year for Christmas, we are trying something new.

We have teenagers (17, 15 and 13 year old boys) and they don’t need anymore stuff.

They have a house full of stuff and they don’t appreciate most of it.

Even though our house burned down 4 years ago and they lost everything, they still have too much stuff.

So this year, we aren’t going to give them a bunch of stuff we will probably just throw out this time next year.

This year, we are going to give them an experience instead.

a cruise shipped docked at port

For our Christmas gift to our family this year, we are going on a 5 day cruise to Mexico with some of our extended family.

It was actually my sister in law that suggested this to us at the beginning of last year.

“Wouldn’t it be fun to get a bunch of family together and go on a cruise?” she said. Of course, I thought that was an awesome idea.

Then she said “We are planning on doing this and have it be a Christmas present to our kids. The only Christmas present.”

I had heard of people traveling for vacation on Christmas, but it was mostly for older people that didn’t have kids at home anymore.

Have you ever seen the movie Christmas with the Kranks? That’s what I was picturing.

But as my husband and I thought about it more, we started loving the idea. Here’s why:

4 Reasons We Are Giving An Experience Instead of Christmas Gifts This Year

1. They already have enough stuff

Like we said above, they just don’t need more stuff. And if they do, they have ways of earning money for themselves.

Also, they will get stuff from other family members that aren’t going with us. So don’t worry, they will have things to open on Christmas Day.

2. They are growing up quickly

They are teenagers now, so time is flying by. I can’t believe that next year they will be Senior, Junior and Freshman in high school.

All that time we spent thinking that “they are too little to remember a big trip” or “too little to enjoy a more expensive vacation” has been replaced with “what can we teach them before they leave home” or “we don’t have much time left before they are gone”.

Family vacations are how we bond as a family and that time is growing short.

3. This will be a Christmas they always remember

I have one Christmas that I will always remember from my childhood. It was the year we went to Alabama (from Texas) to visit my family there.

We played on the beach (even though it was cold) and saw people we never get to see.

But for the most part, my Christmas memories of my childhood are more of a feeling than an exact memory.

I remember family getting together, opening presents and lots of good food.

And while those things are great, I want this Christmas to be the one that my kids remember vividly from their childhood.

I am hoping that by doing something different, they will never forget this Christmas.

4. We believe that what you learn is more important than the stuff you have

While opening presents and getting what we want is fun, it is a fleeting moment.

But the things we learn can stick with us forever.

So by traveling to another country, seeing new things, meeting new people and having new experiences, these things can have an impact on them their whole lives.

Not to mention, spending time with us and extended family.

These are the things that shape them for the rest of their lives.

{Here is our Christmas card picture for this year!}

my family for our Christmas Card

But just because we aren’t doing traditional Christmas presents doesn’t mean we are skipping Christmas (refer to the movie above).

We are still decorating, buying other’s presents, making Christmas treats, sending out cards and all of the other things that come with Christmas.

In fact, everything is about the same except Christmas morning will be alot faster. But because the kids know what is happening, I don’t think it will bother them too much.

Our cruise is in January, so until then we will enjoy the snow and holiday cheer.

Have you thought about giving your kids an experience instead of gifts?

I highly recommend it. We have been talking about it all year and everyone is excited to go!

Christmas gifts pin

How has your Christmas gift giving evolved as your kids have gotten older? Please tell us about it in the comments below. And if you found this post helpful, please share. Thanks!


  1. Sarah

    I think giving experiences as presents is a wonderful idea. There certainly comes a point in everyone’s lives when they have plenty of stuff so don’t necessarily need more things, but everyone appreciates new experiences which will create memories that last a lifetime.

    1. Julie @ Our Provident Homestead

      agreed! thanks for your comment!

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