How to promote meaningful gifting during the Holidays by Angela Pruess

Lego’s strewn across the bedroom floor. Superhero’s on the kitchen counter. Eighteen inch dolls upside down in the playbasket with hair so knotted a small bird could take up residence.

Once you become a parent you know exactly what it means when someone refers to ‘all of the stuff’.

Yet every holiday season I find myself getting swept up into the gravitational pull toward consumerism. The idea that the stuff and the holidays go hand-in-hand is ingrained in our popular culture.

It’s hard to deny that temporary feel good boost of endorphins we get from making a new purchase, especially when it brings that same momentary excitement to our child. But the feeling is just that, momentary. Whether my child plays with their new toys for a few days or a few months, come March I find myself looking around the house and wondering, “how do we accumulate all of this stuff?” and thinking “what messages is this sending my child?”

This year, I find myself searching for new ways of celebrating what we value around the holidays. If you find yourself in a similar spot, you may be interested in some different ways of going about gift giving. Ideas that capitalize on meaningfulness and squash materialism and clutter.

Here are 4 outside the box ideas for your child’s Christmas gifts and here’s a hint, partnering with the Kidibank™ app will make changing up the gift routine this holiday feel effortless.


Hobbies and activities

We live in a time where there are endless possibilities of fun and engaging hobbies for our child to participate in. But these things don’t come at a small cost. Throw multiple kids into the mix and you have to be a millionaire to enjoy multiple extracurricular activities.

Maybe your child has been talking a lot about the drawing class his friend took, or the science club at school. The holidays are a great time for your child to share those ideas with others to inspire monetary gifts that will aide in building their hobbies and interests.

Fun Outings


Research has shown that experiences bring more enjoyment than things. There are endless possibilities when it comes to amazing family outings included but not limited to concerts, plays, sporting events, museums, and fairs.

Use your creativity to create a fun card or coupon to show your child that their gift is one of mutual fun and enjoyment out in the world.


Memberships or subscriptions

Inspire your child to save towards a gift that keeps giving. A subscription to their favorite magazine or membership to the zoo will bring months and months of enjoyment and learning. Share these ideas with family and friends and suggest they contribute to one of the many awesome monthly subscriptions services for kids from science experiments to craft kids.


A big purchase

If your child is old enough to focus on attaining a gift of higher value, it is a great time to lay the groundwork of spending and saving. Empower them with the knowledge and tools necessary to set and achieve a long-term goal. Your child can let their grandparents or others know that they are able to contribute directly to the ‘Big Days’ section in the Kidibank™ app where they are working hard to save towards what matters to them right now.

Habits aren’t easy to change for us humans. Our brains and neurons like to travel the path of least resistance, so it is only by the small and meaningful changes we do one step at a time that we can carve out new pathways for ourselves.

Sharing your child’s goals with family and friends and let them know you are trying out some new gift ideas this year. Whether your child would like to save for a big purchase or for a membership at the local trampoline park, relatives and friends will likely be happy to hear they are investing in something that delivers in value, fun and learning.

The bonus in shifting towards more meaningful gifts? Your child is learning the vital importance of delaying gratification and working towards a higher goal.

Tracking savings in Kidibank™ makes it easy and fun for your child to stay on task and focused on their long-term goals, even during the holidays.


Big Days is a service operated via PayPal (Paypal charges may apply). Using the Kidibank™ app allows parents engage positively with their children in order to promote self-competence, healthy habits and responsibilities. Find out more at


Angela Pruess, LMFT, is a Child and Family Therapist and special needs parent on a mission to support and empower parents of behaviorally challenging kids.  Over at, she wants to make life easier for you by decoding your child’s maddening behaviors, as well as their developmental and emotional needs. When she’s not supporting parents, or seeing kids in her private practice, she is at home being challenged (a lot) by her own three kids (and sometimes husband). Follow her on facebook.