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’.
So, if you’re thinking about moving the focus more towards gifting time and memories this year, we’ve curated some ideas to help you along the way. These ideas can be adapted for your kids, grandkids, friends kids, and you can scale the cost of the idea to your 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 are 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!
Why not gift a term of music lessons, dance classes or a sports club? Often you can even buy gift vouchers for kids classes and clubs, check out our listings of baby & pre-school classes, or school age classes for ideas depending on what your child likes.
Plan some special days out
Make plans to create some fantastic family memories in 2019, by giving tickets or passes for days out.
Buy a family ticket for an attraction such as Eureka and The Deep and your tickets let you go back all year for free.
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. Clip n Climb also do gift vouchers.
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.
Further afield ideas suggested by other Mumblers include Legoland, Harry Potter Studios, How Stein Gorge, Nidderdale Llamas experience/walk
Take in a show
If your kids love the big screen you could give them a special ‘date’ trip to the cinema just 1:1 with you to see a film of their choice. Snuggle up on a sofa at the Everyman Leeds, relax in a recliner at the Odeon Luxe Leeds-Bradford or why not check out Cineworld at the White Rose centre?
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!
Harewood House does some good animal experiences for children 7 years and over, including penguin feeding, alpaca walking, be a zookeeper for the day. You can also adopt a bird in the bird garden!
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 Junior Kitchen run a variety of kids cookery classes.
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!
Get a monthly subscription
There is a lot of choice out there, from comic books to activity-based magazines such as sport or a hobby. And there are even some options where the monthly subscription comes with a treat and can change from month-to-month. Ideas suggested by fellow Mumblers include: