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So, you may have seen online that parents are spending thousands of dollars trying to get the Hatchimal toy for the holidays. Thousands of dollars for a toy that retails for under $50. Now, I'm not the type of person to tell parents what to do, but I do have some other suggestions of gifts for the holidays that everyone in the family will enjoy.
My kids are now aged 9 and 5 and for the last few years Santa has spent less than $50 on each child's toy. The kids know that Santa has a budget and they are fine with that.
Last year my daughter's most treasured gift was a box of hand written notes with experiences that we can all do together. There was a variety of activities from going to the movies to picnic at the local park. They ranged from things for the whole family to things for just her and one parent. She treasured this gift more than anything else she received.
For years I gave my son things that he enjoyed that didn't cost any money. One year it was a box all wrapped up with nothing inside, another year it was bubble packaging that I had collected throughout the year that he could pop to his delight. Kids just love having fun, and often they don't need a new toy.
I've found that experiences are much preferred over things and often the toy gets played with once and then forgotten about. Even worse? Kids change their minds between the time they send their letter out to Santa and when the gifts are delivered leaving you expecting your child to be overjoyed that you got the toy they wanted, and in reality, they couldn't care less.
Unlike that toy that is discarded and forgotten about minutes after they open it, experiences are remembered for years and provide a great bonding experience. The best part is it's something the entire family can enjoy. Here are the tops three things that I'd suggest putting that $1000 towards instead of a toy.
Go to the theatre. Our favourite in the Toronto area is the annual Ross Petty Musical. You are guaranteed to laugh throughout the performance, and you'll get immense joy out of the look of wonder on your child's face. Not only will you have a great time, you'll have lots of money left over for another activity. Feel like the money is burning a hole in your pocket? Turn it into even more of an evening out by going to dinner before the show. The ultimate experience would be to turn a stay-cation by booking a hotel downtown for the night and exploring downtown with the family the following morning.
Take a family vacation. Take that $1000 you would be spending on a toy and put it towards a family vacation together. Which kid has ever said I don't want to go on a vacation? It's something you can all enjoy together, and the memories made will be priceless. My top pics of places to stay in Ontario are Blue Mountain Resort and Fern Resort. Why not save up for a big trip to Disney? It might take a few years but it's a much better option that spending that money on a toy that won't last.
Backyard Trampoline. You are probably thinking that's not an experience, but it is. It's an experience that happens in your yard every day. For me, the kids get home from school, and they are in the backyard playing for over an hour while I'm making dinner. Of course, it's not for just the kids, so we hop on all the time. I like that I can jump for 10 minutes and get a good cardio workout and it's the equivalent of running for 30 mins. We got a Springfree Trampoline which means we can jump all year long, and since kids like snow, they'll love playing with fresh snow right on the trampoline. Since we got our trampoline, we no longer go to indoor playgrounds to burn off energy which saves us money we can use towards another family gift.
Another big savings for us this year was at home birthday parties. Both the kids wanted to have a trampoline party at home. That saved us over $1000 and honestly between the savings form indoor playgrounds, and savings from parties - that cost of your trampoline is covered easily.
The main thing here is to think about ways to have fun as a family and make your hard earned dollars go further. I'm sure we can all agree that there are better ways to spend $1000 than on a Hatchimal toy.