I’m looking at a very festive decorated tree in my house that doesn’t have a single wrapped gift underneath it. My kids are not impressed.
In an effort to get organized for the holidays, I’ve come up with some local gift ideas for kids.
Here are a few items I think may be worth giving:
Give experiences instead of things. Someone said this to me recently and it resonated. My boy probably doesn’t remember what he got for Christmas last year, but he does remember going to the beach with his extended family — an annual gift from my parents. Fun local adventures worth gifting include taking the kids on a zip line adventure (Navitat, Asheville Canopy Adventures), going skiing at Cataloochee or Wolf Laurel ski resorts, or planning a summer rafting trip (Nantahala Outdoor Center). As a parent, giving an experience to your kids that requires you to be engaged and participate can be particularly memorable (think Christmas Vacation).
Give health. Explaining to your kids that the co-pay on their doctors’ visits is indeed quite a gift may not go over well, but you can surreptitiously give the gift of health through activities that promote wellness. In addition to their long-running swim classes, the Asheville YWCA now offers other kid fitness classes, such as yoga, Zumba, diving and swim club. Call 254-7206 for more information. And yes, gifts that make exercise fun, such as bikes, roller skates and pogo sticks, offer the double bonus of wellness and getting the kids out of the house.
Give books. Yes, they’ve become quaint in this day of Kindles and Nooks and e-books, but locally-owned book shops Spellbound, Accent on Books and Malaprop’s all have excellent children and young adult book selections. Spellbound Children’s Bookshop will be open until 8 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays until Dec. 23. Plus there’s something about turning pages. I’m sure it’s developmentally helpful for brain development.
Give coupons. Good for one mental health (aka Ferris Bueller) day. Good for one night of not doing the dishes. Good for one extra hour of screen time. You get the idea. My kids love pulling out the coupons. They’re almost better than Legos.
Give an otter. Or at least adopt one from the WNC Nature Center. What not to love about adopting a wild critter, paying for a portion (or all) of its care, but not having to actually feed it and clean up its poop? You can also give an annual membership to the Nature Center so your kids can visit their otter any time. Visit www.wildwnc.org for details.
Give to others. I know it’s a cliché, but charitable giving (both of time and money) makes people happy. And not just those on the receiving end of things. The Asheville Humane Society offers opportunities for kids to help in their animal shelter. Food kitchens are another (mature) child friendly option. Asheville GreenWorks has volunteer trash clean-up and planting days. My daughter regularly helps her grandfather deliver HomeFree Bagels, and now she knows more folks in the Asheville restaurant business than I do. Delivery days with her grandpa are one of those experiences she’s likely to always treasure.
Happy holidays, y’all!