It’s getting to be that magical time of year again. Here in Canada snow is falling, lights are being hung, wreaths are on doors and there is a noticeable sense of excitement in the air. It is amazing how much this holiday season affects everyone.
I will admit, I am a Christmas nut. Decorating early, listening to Christmas music on repeat, the baking, the cheerful greetings; I adore it all! And I love (LOVE!) searching through stores, finding deals and picking out that perfect gift for the people I love. The giving of gifts is by far my favourite.
But something has been nagging in the back of my mind the last few years that just won’t go away. It’s the thought of all of the excess. We have too much ‘stuff’. I will estimate that three times since last Christmas, our family has combed through our house and donated clothing, toys and household items to different foundations; And yet, we still have too much stuff. While I still enjoy giving gifts (and the Christmas season in general) I find I am less and less inclined to fill the space under our tree or to buy multiple gifts for family members (sorry kids!).
Then last year, a solution dawned on me. How do I give a great gift without creating more excess? Can I make it exciting without multiple brightly wrapped boxes for our kids to open? How do I make sure their gift is memorable, and not something they will set aside in a week or two to collect dust and be forgotten?
Considering my passion, I really should have thought of this before. The solution? Travel!
Christmas Travel is the Best Gift
Extend the Christmas Excitement
The excitement of Christmas wears off pretty quickly after you’ve concluded your family traditions. Though imagine, if you will, being able to extend that feeling for an entire long weekend, or even a full week! When your gift is Christmas travel, you’re giving them something that lasts longer than the amount of time it takes to unwrap it. If you’re thinking of doing your traveling over Christmas Day, Lots of Planets Have a North shares their family’s first hand experience at Spending Christmas Abroad. Or visit Meldrums on the Move to find out how to Send Christmas Gifts While Travelling.
Bucket List Items through Christmas Travel
Who in your family doesn’t have ‘bucket list’ items? Even your 5 year old has things they’re desperate to try or places they would like to see. Life goals, like these experiences, mean more to us all than the physical gifts ever could. My oldest wants more than anything to travel to England, while my middle child wants to see Paris and the Eiffel Tower. My youngest wants to eat Mickey Mouse shaped ice cream in the Magic Kingdom. They all want to see the CN Tower, Casa Loma or ride on a train. No matter the scale, accomplishing these dreams will mean the world to them. Why not help your family achieve their bucket list goals for Christmas this year?
Memories that Last
Think hard…. do you remember what you were given for your 10th Christmas? What about your 17th? You’re 30th? My guess is that outside of one or two very specific Christmas gifts, you have a hard time recalling what came out of all of those shiny packages. Do you think you’ve still got those items in your house? Are they things that bring you joy? Probably not. While I won’t say that those gifts didn’t serve their purpose, they aren’t things that last. We as a society spend nearly $1600 per household each Christmas, but how far does that money go when most of those purchased items end up on a shelf or covered in dust under their bed? For the entire family, travel is something out of the ordinary. It is new experiences, time in an unfamiliar city doing new things and trying new foods. The memories your family makes together are gifts that last. Your kids can turn 50 and still remember that Christmas the family went to (enter city here) and stayed overnight in a hotel before visiting that really great childrens museum. What better gift is there than a mind (and photo album) full of memories?
Travel can be Less Expensive
As I mentioned above, sources tell me that the average family spends almost $1600 each year at Christmas. That’s a lot of money. Christmas travel doesn’t need to cost that much. With sites like Groupon you can find deals on holiday rentals, spa treatments, plays, attraction entry and restaurant meals. By deleting cookies when searching for flights, you can come by some amazing sale prices. If staying in a hotel, consider booking a room with a small kitchenette so you can prepare your own food instead of eating at restaurants. Road trips are another way to travel further without the large price tag. Depending on your Christmas travel plans, your trip can actually end up costing less than your average gift bill.
Travel Doesn’t Have to be Far
Christmas travel doesn’t have to mean you’ll be flying to the other side of the world (but that’s okay too!). There are new cities within a days drive. Even smaller towns usually have a few B&B’s and local points of interest you can visit. It isn’t the distance or the name of the town that will make the experience memorable.
Afraid your Family will Miss Physical Gifts?
Not having any gifts under your tree might be a tough pill to swallow. They’ve become such a huge part of Christmas that it may not feel the same without them. If you’d like to incorporate gifts into your Christmas travel plan, here are a few suggestions:
- Make the gifts small items that pair up with an activity on the trip. When we gifted our daughter a trip to the aquarium we had her unwrap a Dory Plush Tsum Tsum and a book about ocean life with her tickets.
- Buy gifts that make travel easier or things they can use during the trip, such as a travel colouring pack, a fun wheeled suitcase they can help pack and carry themselves, or their own camera and kids travel journal to document their trip
- If you’re looking to inspire a love of travel and geography, you could consider gifts such as an Illuminated World Globe for Kids, a laminated world wall map (this is the one we use!) or a Beginner’s World Atlas
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