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17th Nov 2019

Drowning in toys? 10 lovely experiences to gift children this Christmas

gifting experiences

It is almost Christmas time, and I am sure you, like me, have started pulling together all the lists of who you have to buy for and what the heck to get them.

Between my own children, my nieces and nephews and my friends’ growing broods of children, I have plenty of little people on my gift lists, but have recently started to feel like I don’t want to gift just more stuff… Most parents are in the same boat, I am sure. Our homes are already filled to the brim with toys, and the reality is that once the flurry of Christmas Day is over, those toys are often just left there, and rarely played with.

So this year, I want to gift either practical things that they actally need – or experiences. From museum trips to art classes and days out, this holiday season, I’d rather gift moments together and memories – and fun for the whole family.

If you are thinking this sounds all sorts of great, here is a list of 10 great experiences to gift a child this Christmas:

1. Passes to a local open farm or petting zoo

If you happen to be near Dublin, we can guarantee the entire family will love Airfield Estate in Dundrum. A fully working urban sustainable farm, the 38-acre estate is home to the original dwelling of the Overend family, lots of farm animals, a coffee shop, a restaurant, garden centre, a playground with a zipline, climbing trees and lots and lots more fun things.

2. Train or plane tickets to visit someone special

Maybe there are grandparents who live far from you? Aunts? Uncles? A friend that moved away? A ticket to visit is an amazing present for a child to receive this holiday season.

3. A visit to a local play centre

Has somewhere new opened up locally? Or is there somewhere fun you visited once, but haven’t been back? Make it their Christmas present, and they will be counting down until the visit.

4. Membership to the zoo

Who doesn’t love going to see the animals at Dublin Zoo? This Christmas, why not gift them a year’s membership – and you’ve got an excuse to keep going regularly for the entire year!

5. A special ‘just the two of us’ day

If you have more than one child, it can be tricky to find a moment to have some special one-on-one time with them individually. Or if you have nieces and newphews that you feel like you hardly ever get to have some special quality time with, this is great too. This Christmas, make a gift card and pick something really special you two can do together, be it a trip somewhere, a football match, a visit somewhere they have really wanted to go, a hot chocolate date to your special place – it doesn’t really matter, they will love having a whole day with you.

6. Cinema tickets

Everybody loves a trip to the cinema! How about catching the new Frozen 2 together?


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7. A visit to a cool museum

Museums are amazing, and in these busy days, what could be better than spending an afternoon in a cool museum? My own two children absolutely loved the Ulster Museum in Belfast, where we got to go treasure hunting for dinosaurs.

8. A cooking class for kids

Cooking and baking is a great way for parents (or aunts and uncles or grandparents) to spend some time with children, doing an activity that everyone will all enjoy and benefit from. Most of us don’t often have the time at home, or maybe aren’t sure which recipes are the best to do with kids of different ages. And then there’s the mess to clean up! Which is why cooking or baking classes make for such a great gift this Christmas.

Kids Cook Cookery School in Clonee, Co. Meath, does classes for both kids, and kids and adults together, and we think it sounds like the perfect pressie to gift a child this holiday season.

9. Art classes

Kids love art, and many local libraries and art centres host classes you can book into. How about taking a class together? Time together and being creative makes for the perfect present.

gifting experiences

10. Re-decorating their rooms

Yet another seriously cool gift that isn’t more stuff or toys. How about making a gift card for your child promising that you’ll re-decorate their room together, and that they will get to pick colour and decor all by themselves?