When my wife and I had our first son Christmas started getting more extravagant.
At first, it was a ton of movies that our family would enjoy. Then it turned into a TON of toys that our kids would enjoy.
A couple of years ago we looked around our house and realized that it was stuffed to brim with stuff. Our basement was full, our garage was full, our storage sheds were full, even our attic was full.
It was then that we decided that our kids no longer needed stuff and we started giving them experiences instead.
Here’s what worked for us. First, we started traveling as a family more. We devoted at least 2 full weeks a year to make memories.
Of course, to begin with, all the amusement parks were on the kid’s lists to go to. And we did visit a few. In fact, after we found the Universal Studios was our favorite we bought season tickets one year. (We found a screaming deal the annual passes cost less than a typical day at the park) we mainly focused on spending time together without making real plans.
Our favorite trip to date was a week in a beach house just north of San Diego.
We spent a full 6 days on pretty much a private beach for less than $200 a night. We literally made no plans. And ended up making some of the best memories ever. We went to eat at our favorite burger place in Ocean Beach, Hoodads. We got in the ocean several times a day, took surfing lessons, chilled, played games, and ate home-cooked meals most of the trip.
It was amazing.
This year we talked to the kids to see if they wanted stuff for Christmas or more family time. They all said they’d like a few small things (less than $20 each) but really wanted to keep making memories.
We wouldn’t trade our memories for all the stuff in the world.
You see we realized that our kids would be out of the house into time at all and we were really being selfish by making memories. Our kids loved making those memories though and I can’t wait to see memories we make next.
Maybe Costa Rica, Alaska, Hawaii, Florida Keys, New York City, who knows?? The possibilities are endless.