The word on the street is that toys and gifts for Christmas are already in short supply this year due to global supply chain delays. So yes, we’re getting started in November! Here are some alternative gift ideas to bypass the supply chain and still deliver a Christmas morning to remember.
The big ticket items for under the tree might not be available this year, but that doesn’t mean you can’t give eye-popping fun for your loved ones. Plan a special night away or a weekend trip for your family or grandkids (a double gift if it means the parents get a weekend alone!).
Buy a season pass or membership to a local zoo, museum, aquarium, amusement park, or waterpark so the fun lasts all year round.
Give the gift of tickets to a concert, movie, sporting event, or performing arts show. Gift certificates to the bowling alley, ice skating rink, escape room, arcade, or other indoor entertainment makes for a great way to spend the day.
Subscribe to streaming services for the year, enroll your children in a club, or choose a magazine or other monthly subscription service to be delivered throughout the year.
Experiential gifts don’t have to be extravagant or expensive. Invest in a local class or online workshop, like painting or cooking.
Are you a brilliant chef or baker? Do you sew, knit, scrapbook, write, paint, garden, fish, etc.? Whatever your hobby is, give your child or grandchild the gift of time to learn and practice that hobby with you.
Make a plan to visit a state park a month or four national parks this year. Buy a national park pass for the family. Enroll in a foraging club or class to learn about herbs.
Give the gift of scheduled date nights. If you are a grandparent who lives nearby, offer to take the grandkids overnight once a month (or more regularly).
Don’t wait for your family members to initiate such things; if you want it to happen, make it happen! Shared experiences deliver entertainment and lasting memories that strengthen the bond between you and your loved ones.
While the big box stores and online sellers scramble to meet demands and navigate shipping delays, your local gift shops (like Fig & Oak and others in every small town across America) have connections with their own vendors, often locals themselves, and offer unique gifts you can’t find anywhere else.
Funnel Gift Exchange Budget to a Charity
If your extended family traditionally exchanges gifts, this year, you could donate to that person’s favorite charity in their name, blessing a cause they care about. The Salvation Army, The Prison Fellowship, Toys for Tots, Heifer International, and other charities help families in need around the world. Incorporating some kind of giving opportunity year-round but especially at the holidays will help develop a sense of awareness and gratitude in your family’s life. You’ll likely be surprised: Children often have more generous spirits and can teach us a lot about the pleasure of giving rather than receiving.
Personalized and/or handmade gifts go a long way in showing love for others. Get crafty with thrift store finds, handwrite notes, make your own ornaments, give baked goods or treats, give the gift of your favorite recipes, or give out of your talents—get creative! Make it a rule that this year, your family can only give each other handmade gifts and see what creative approaches each one takes.
Give Toward a Need
Especially as children get older, their Christmas list of wants gets shorter, and even without a supply chain issue, it’s trickier to figure out “the perfect gift.” What does the teen in your life need? Maybe they’re saving toward a car or college. Maybe they’ve always wanted guitar lessons. Maybe there’s an upcoming trip with school. Fill their stocking with a gift toward their goals.
What about those tough-to-buy-for parents and grandparents? Is there a renovation project they’ve been wanting to do but haven’t gotten around to? Plan to paint the spare bedroom together. Offer to organize the garage with them. Commit to mowing the lawn each week this year. Listen to what their needs are and give the gift of your time and energy to help make it happen.
Make this Christmas memorable in ways that stretch the imagination. Perhaps this will be the most memorable Christmas yet.