Give the Gift of Experiences and Memories. The PKC Non-Toy Holiday Gift Guide is here to help!

My kids have enough toys. Like, seriously, enough. But I still want them to have the best-Christmas-ever and be excited with what was waiting for them under the tree. So this year I say, “forget you tiny plastic toys, that will break tomorrow” and I’m giving experiences, activities and memories that will outlive any plastic toy on the market.

Here’s a list of ideas for experience based holiday gifts that any kid would love!
Side note and disclaimer: Bonus almost all of these are local to the area and some come from the local toy stores with a different purpose or spin to it.

1. Classes. Music, painting, riding, drawing — classes are a great way to encourage children to explore their interests and find a future life passion.

2. Memberships. Zoo, science museum, children’s museum, bounce houses, YMCA membership, etc. These are great options for the entire family and you’ll always have something to do. Check out “Places to Go” directory for ideas on local diversions.

3. Subscriptions. My kids LOVE the National Geographic Kids, and Ranger Rick magazine and even better, they love getting mail! Encourage your child’s interests in different areas of life, science and hobbies. See here for a list of great kids’ magazines for all ages.

4. Events. Grab a pair of movie passes or tickets to a play, concert or sporting event. Go as a family or for some one-one-one time. Getting the tickets in advance also gives you all something to look forward to. Some are even happening in Portland before Christmas, such as Disney on Ice (tickets start at $15).

5. Activities. Plan an activity outing like bowling, ice skating, ziplining, nature hike or indoor karting. Kids love to see their parents laughing and having fun right along with them. Check out “Places to Go” directory for ideas on local diversions. Ice rinks such as Family Ice Center have punch passes, stretching the fun even longer and less expensive.

6. Baking. This year I bought my youngest an apron and a kids’ cooking set at a local toy store. We’ll have a blast choosing recipes and cooking together. I can’t wait to see the pride on their faces, making it taste all the sweeter.

7. Crafting Date. My daughter loves crafts and I do, too, actually. Sometimes we’ll grab a stack of plain folded note cards and envelopes and get busy with our stamps and stick-ons and create birthday cards, thank you cards, etc. so that we have always something unique and personal on hand.

8. Coupons. These are also really big in our house and we love them. Give the kids an envelope of different coupons for things like movie and popcorn night, game of Monopoly, special hour with mom or dad, ice cream outing, stay up 1/2 hour past bedtime, etc. Fun!

10. Restaurant Gift Card. My kids still don’t appreciate “eating out” really, but they do love going out for ice cream or hitting up the local coffee shop for a steaming, cozy cup of hot cocoa. What a treat!

11. Try something new together. Try planting a garden together or start small with some indoor herbs for cooking with. Not sure where to get seeds this time of year? Check out Pinetree Garden Seeds, owned and operated for generations by a local family!

12. Group Outings. Reserve a private sleigh ride or factory tour over the holiday break with a group of your family and friends. Most only require 8-12 people which would be easy to gather up and a ton of fun!

 13. Their passions. Does your child love dance? Seasonal Sports?  Sign them up for a dance or a fun filled morning at the CNY Kids- Triathlon (hot tip- this is priced 20% off until Christmas Eve).

14. Date Night. We do one-on-one date nights with each of our kids and it’s sooo awesome. The kids love the special attention and it allows us to communicate and enjoy each other’s company without any distractions. Check out our “Making Memories: 7 Great Ideas for Date Night– for you and your Kids” article for some inspiration.

15. Gift Card to pick their own toy. My kids treasure gift cards, because they look like credit cards and get them free things at their favorite stores. And I’m holding out that maybe they’ll have more appreciation for it since they picked it out. There are so many lovely local stores around, Island Treasure Toys, Rainbow Toys, Treehouse Toys and list goes on.

16. A Night Away from Home. Kids LOVE hotels. Any hotel. In any location. Grab a deal online for a hotel room with a pool (this is a must), grab your bathing suits, a change of clothes and away you go. Even if it’s two towns away. Their happiness is as simple as that.

What are your favorite non-gift ideas? Share with us in the comments below!

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