This year for Christmas, I am focusing on gifts the entire family will get use out of, as opposed to gifts for individuals. The kids are still going to get some of their "own" small things, but for the most part, I'm doing family gifts.
Here are some ideas on things that can be gifted to a family:
*Family Passes*: Museums, Theme Parks, Zoos, Aquariums, and more! Family passes can be pricey, but they give you a "free" activity you can do any time you want. And, to sweeten the pot, so to speak, many family passes can be used at multiple places.
For instance, buying a zoo pass at John Ball in Grand Rapids will allow me to take the kids to Potter Park in Lansing, or the Saginaw Children's Zoo in Saginaw- and get me in half price at the Detroit Zoo & Binder Park. It will also get us in for free or discount at over 100 other zoos nation wide. That's great come vacation time! And, it'll cost me just $50.
*Family Game Night*: Board games are coming back in style, probably due to the economy being pretty low right now. Keep the overall ages of the kids in mind. If you have 3 little kids, Candy Land & Chutes & Ladders will go over well. If you have 1 little kid, 1 9 year old, and a 12 year old, you may have to get a bit more creative.
For us, we're getting 3 board games, so the kids will each get their own game, and then a 4th game to give to the parents. The games will be put with all the games, so that we can all enjoy them. Additionally, I'll be giving the kids each a snack item and some soda (both treats for them) to use for the first Family Game Night with the new games.
*Family Movie Night*: Pick up a family friendly movie, a box of microwave popcorn, some popcorn seasoning, and a box or two of movie theater candy, and you have the makings for a fun night snuggled up watching a new movie.
*Night Out*: I'm not sure yet if we're doing this one. For this, the kids will each be getting a small gift card to some place for dinner, probably fast food. They will also each be getting a gift card for a matinee to a movie. We can eat out, and see a family movie, which can be pricey otherwise. This way, it's a gift to them.
*Dinner Time Fun*: I am not sure I'll do this yet, but here are some ideas. Find or make an apron for each person of the family with their name on it if it's plain, or use a fabric that really kind of shows who that person it. Add in their own silicone spatulas, measuring spoons, and maybe a mixing bowl. For a gift to the whole family, get a cookbook. Then, have the kids take time to mark down which recipes they want to try. Every week, designate one night to be
Family Dinner Time Fun. Either alternate who picks from their list each week, or have each kid pick something from their list each week, for a larger meal. Have the kids help with the preparation!
*Reading Night*: Pick a book that the kids will enjoy, such as Harry Potter, or Eragon, Super Fudge, Babysitters Club, Chronicals of Narnia, etc. Something you think will appeal to the kids, though, and capture their attention. Give the book (or books) to the family for Christmas, and maybe the movie if it's one that has a movie. Then, schedule a night to read together as a family.
You could take turns reading, and helping the younger children read. Include some construction or drawing paper, crayons, a notebook, and a pen or pencil. Each night when you've finished reading a chapter or two, have everyone just write down their favorite parts to keep in the notebook. When the book is finished, have everyone draw something from the book for an art project.
*Puzzle Night*: Buy a puzzle or 2 at the dollar store, and then, find a place to set them up at, and take your time as a family putting them together.
Good luck! Many of these ideas are both fun and FRUGAL!