It's officially holiday season, and you know what that means: gift shopping! Some parents love it, while others consider it a bit of a chore, but one thing's for sure – receiving gifts always brings joy to our children. With three teenage kids of my own, I've had my fair share of gift shopping days. But a few years back, I stumbled upon something truly special: it's not always the physical gifts that light up our children's faces.

We're accustomed to unwrapping toys, books, or clothes during the holidays, and there's absolutely nothing wrong with that. However, in today's fast-paced world, there are non-physical gifts your kids might treasure even more. So, whether you already have a gift in mind for your child or are just starting your search, stick around to discover three out-of-the-box gift ideas for this holiday season.

P.S. Even if you don't celebrate a holiday this December, save these tips from this guide for your child's birthday!


Experiences like concert tickets or a day at the museum can become some of your child's most treasured memories. I remember one birthday when I gave my son a ticket to the local Minecraft convention along with a few for his friends. It turned out to be an unforgettable day for them. They spent the entire day wielding cardboard pickaxes, meeting their favorite YouTubers, and even indulging in Minecraft-inspired food! That gift seemed to bring more joy than any board game or even a new video game could have. It's those moments that they'll remember for a long time.

  1. Memories over Materialism: Experiences create cherished memories that last a lifetime. These are the moments that you and your children will reminisce about for years to come, far more meaningful than material possessions.
  2. Quality Time: Giving the gift of an experience encourages spending quality time together. It fosters connections, strengthens relationships, and provides a unique opportunity for bonding.
  3. Personalization: Experiences can be tailored to the recipient's interests and passions, making them deeply personal and thoughtful gifts. Whether it's a cooking class for the aspiring chef or a nature hike for the outdoor enthusiast, there's an experience for everyone.
  4. Learning and Growth: Many experiences offer opportunities for learning and personal growth. Whether it's acquiring a new skill, gaining insights into a different culture, or conquering a challenge, the benefits go beyond the event itself.

Some Ideas

  1. Concert Tickets: Gift the thrill of live music! Let them experience their favorite band or artist performing their chart-toppers in a crowd of fans, creating unforgettable memories.
  2. Sporting Event Tickets: Cheer on your team in person! Share the excitement of a live sporting event, complete with roaring crowds, epic plays, and the electric atmosphere of the stadium.
  3. Theme Park Visit: Embrace the thrill of amusement! Take them to a theme park, where they can enjoy thrilling rides, entertaining shows, and a day of pure fun and excitement.
  4. Zoo or Aquarium Visit: Discover the wonders of the animal kingdom! Gift them a day at the zoo or aquarium, where they can marvel at incredible creatures from around the globe.
  5. Museum Visit: Dive into history, art, and science! Explore the world of culture and knowledge by giving them a day at a museum, where they can soak up fascinating exhibits and exhibits.
  6. Fine Dining at a Nice Restaurant: Treat their taste buds to a culinary adventure! Enjoy an exquisite meal at a top-notch restaurant, where they can savor delectable dishes in an elegant atmosphere.
  7. Outdoor Adventure: Embark on an outdoor odyssey! Plan a day of water sports (like kayaking or paddle boarding), land sports (like archery or volleyball), allowing them a day in the sun filled with fun!
  8. Theater or Film Experience: Be captivated by the magic of the stage or screen! Gift them a night at the theater or cinema, where they can immerse themselves in the world of drama, laughter, and imagination.

While experiences are not for everyone, if your kid has a passion or hobby they really love - make sure to do a quick google search for events in your local area. I just took my teenage daughter to a Taylor Swift dance party for her Birthday!

Subscription Services

A toy can certainly provide hours of fun, but a subscription can unlock hundreds of hours of engagement and enjoyment. I remember when my daughter was younger, I got her a subscription to a couple of popular kids' magazines. Every week, she would eagerly receive one or two new issues, brimming with fresh ideas, activities, and captivating stories. It was so much more than a one-time gift; it felt like a perpetual source of surprises that kept us both entertained week after week. It's amazing how a subscription can keep the excitement alive for an extended period.

Why Subscription Services Matter

  1. A Gift That Lasts: Subscription services are gifts that keep arriving, offering ongoing excitement and learning opportunities long after the holiday season is over. It's like extending the holiday spirit throughout the year.
  2. Convenience and Discovery: These services provide convenience and discovery rolled into one. Recipients can explore new products, experiences, or hobbies without leaving their comfort zone.

Some Ideas

  1. Book or Magazine Subscription: Gift a monthly book subscription that delivers the latest novels, non-fiction, or young adult reads right to their doorstep, perfect for the avid reader. Magazines are also a great bet!
  2. Beauty Box: Surprise them with a beauty box subscription filled with skincare, makeup, and wellness products, allowing them to experiment with new looks and pamper themselves.
  3. Gourmet Food Box: For food enthusiasts, a gourmet food box subscription is a culinary adventure, offering unique ingredients, snacks, and gourmet treats from around the world.
  4. Streaming Services: Consider gifting a subscription to popular streaming services like Netflix, Disney+, or Spotify, granting them access to a world of entertainment.
  5. Hobby or Craft Kits: Subscription services for hobbies or crafts provide a continuous supply of materials, ideas, and inspiration, perfect for the creative spirit.
  6. Fitness Subscription: Encourage a healthy lifestyle with a fitness subscription that offers access to online workouts, yoga classes, or home fitness equipment.
  7. STEM Kits for Kids: Inspire young minds with STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) kits that make learning fun and hands-on.

Charitable Experiences

When my kids were younger, we had a tradition of alternating between "regular" birthday parties and philanthropic-based birthdays. In these special years, instead of receiving traditional gifts, they would gather donations for a cause they were passionate about, whether it was marine life conservation or space research. Once we had collected all the donations, our family would embark on a meaningful trip to hand over the contributions to the chosen recipient, such as an aquarium or research facility.

What's even more wonderful is that often, the recipients were more than happy to offer our child a memorable experience in return. Imagine the delight on their faces when they got the chance to pet a dolphin or partake in a unique hands-on adventure. It was a fantastic way to teach them about the joy of giving and the impact of their contributions to the world. A true gift for all!

Why A Charitable Experience Matters

  1. The Gift of Impact: A charitable experience is the gift that keeps on giving—to both the recipient and the beneficiaries of the chosen cause. It's about making a tangible impact and spreading positivity.
  2. Values and Principles: It allows the recipient to connect with their values and principles by supporting a cause that resonates with them. It's an opportunity to take action and create change.
  3. Teaching Empathy: It fosters empathy and social awareness. By participating in a charitable experience, recipients can better understand the challenges faced by others and appreciate the value of giving.

My son became so accustomed to these charitable gifts that he surprised our entire family with Tisbest charity gift cards one Christmas. We sat down and spent a few minutes choosing which charity we wanted to donate to, and it felt really heartwarming to know that all the money my son spent went to a good cause. It was a beautiful way to extend the spirit of giving to the whole family and make a positive impact together.

When it comes to making the holidays extra special, we all know that that must-have toy or game can bring boundless joy. But what if your kid is open to surprises, leaving the choice in your hands? That's where these three unconventional gift ideas come into play. While there's nothing wrong with traditional physical gifts, why not consider something fresh and exciting?

We'd love to hear your thoughts on this newsletter! Do you have more unique gift suggestions or burning questions? Share your ideas by clicking below!