Holiday Gifts That Bring Families Closer

Holiday Gifts That Bring Families Closer

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Make memories, not clutter, with these thoughtful presents.

We all love getting a few shiny, new holiday gifts, but it’s been proven time and again that possessions don’t make us happy. In fact, the more we accumulate, the more miserable it makes us, according to a study by Knox College psychology professor Tim Kasser. 

So this holiday season, remember that the best holiday presents are ones that are experiential. There is no greater gift than time spent with your loved ones, and memories created with children help foster healthy psychological development.

Family time, in general, is crucial for kids' well-being. Shared family time has been linked to fewer behavioral problems in children, higher academic success, and improved self-confidence, among many other benefits. 

When you toss possessions to one side for a moment in favor of quality time, not only will you reduce unwanted clutter, but you’ll also cultivate family bonding. So check out these creative gift ideas that are more about time spent with family than things:

Get a Museum Membership

What better way to bond with the family than by visiting different historical, cultural, and artistic venues? Look for museums that offer annual membership, have additional programs for children, or allow you to visit several different centers with the same card. You’ll likely find some great deals on your quest to spending more time as a family unit, while helping the kids with their homework.

If museum membership doesn’t sound like a winner for your kids, swap it out for something that your family would enjoy more. A local rock climbing club, a paintballing or sports center, minor league baseball tickets…the point is to make a commitment to spend more time together next year.

Pitch a Tent

A tent? That’s right, stay with me. The idea is not about the large chunk of canvas taking up space in your garage, it’s about the possibilities it offers—family vacations spent sleeping under the stars and swapping stories around the campfire. As long as you use it to actually go camping (be it far away or in your backyard), and don’t let it get dusty in storage, it's a super gift—though you can also rent a tent as well and gift an experience involving it.

Again, if your kids squirm at the thought of a night camping out without the comforts of home (like outlets), and you can’t stand the idea of using an outdoor restroom, maybe switch the tent for a different type of annual vacation. There are plenty of glamping sites around that allow you to get back to nature, away from the city noise and pollution, while still experiencing modern comforts. Just think of all the memories that you’ll create together.

Start a Capsure Group

Capsure is a free mobile app for sharing personal moments in private, and a great way to incorporate technology in a healthy way into your holiday season. Capsure works just like a modern-day time capsule for your memories, so start a group on it with your family. Challenge your family members to "capsure" specific moments, like decorating Christmas cookies or hanging lights on the tree.

Older kids addicted to their tablets and smartphones will enjoy the family group, and you can use technology to actually strengthen your appreciation of a moment and capture it for everyone to see—and to look back on in the future.

Rally Around a Cause

If you want to go one step further on your break away from material goods, how about giving to the less fortunate? It doesn’t have to be a large amount, but try to encourage your children to apportion some of their spending money to a charity that you all agree on. This is an excellent way of educating them on what’s going on in the world at large, from the environment to world hunger, as well as doing good.

Being creative this holiday season doesn’t have to take up all your time and energy. You don’t need to get the knitting needles out or make your own decorations. But put some thought into the gifts that you give your loved ones and focus on making memories this holiday season, rather than collecting stuff.


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