Financially times are tight, but we all have that family that we want to buy a family gift for this holiday season. Whether it’s your best friend, neighbor or coworker and their families, finding that special family gift for so many people can be agonizingly difficult. You want something that will show how much you care but at the same time won’t compromise your wallet. It’s not as difficult as you might think! We have had tremendous success giving themed family gift baskets or bags. They are easy to put together, take little time, are often very inexpensive, and produce loads of smiles and fun! Below are our 3 most successful holiday family gifts along with a list of components and special instructions.
Family Gift Idea #1
Holiday family gift for that physically active, or physically active wanna-be, family: Letter Boxing! Letter boxing is a great past time that involves searching for hidden boxes, like a treasure hunting expedition. These boxes are hidden all throughout North America and the world. They usually contain a unique stamp, stamp pad, and notebook or journal, and some of them contain a message. Your goal is to find the box, then place an impression of your stamp in the notebook the box contains (as well as a special note if you wish) and put an impression of the stamp from the box into your notebook or journal with any notes you want to jot down like the date, time, and your thoughts.
Items Needed: messenger bag or back pack, compass, large state map, a couple of 3×3 ½ inch thick blocks of wood, foam craft sheets or recycled styrofoam trays, craft glue, stamp pad to fit size of blocks, a couple of plain-no lined paper notebooks or journals, and printed directions to locations. Note: the state map can be found at most visitor centers, the bag or backpack, craft foam, journals and glue at most dollar stores, the blocks of wood can be salvaged from other household projects or, along with the stamp pad, in craft stores.
Directions: Go to http://www.letterboxing.org to find local locations for hidden letter boxes as well as any special instructions, and print them up. You can also print up general directions stating the basics of letter boxing, the components for designing their own stamps (wood, foam craft sheets, and glue, and how to mark the map with places to go and places they’ve been. Place these printed sheets and all the other components into the backpack or bag. Wrap in holiday gift paper and give – a quick, easy and inexpensive holiday family gift they’re sure to enjoy all year long!
Family Gift Idea #2
Holiday family gift for the movie going family: A Premier Movie Event Bucket! With movie cinema tickets at $8 or more, going to the movies can be expensive for a family. Why not give them the chance to take the movie experience home this holiday and save the family budget at the same time?
Items Needed: permanent marker, 2 food grade bucket shaped containers, movie-theater microwave popcorn, 4 boxes of movie-theater candy, a couple of movie posters, gift certificates to a local movie-rental place, large drinking cups with lids and straws, and a 2-liter bottle of soda or jug of juice. Note: containers can be found at the local dollar store, popcorn and candy at the local grocery store, and the gift certificates and movie posters at the local movie-rental store. The drinking cups with lids and straws can be found at your local convenience store where these drinks are sold (usually for free if you purchase one drink along with them).
Directions: Using the permanent marker, write the families last name on the side of the buckets close to the top, and beneath it write “Family Movie Premier” (one word per line). Put the popcorn, candy and gift certificates, along with a card containing directions, inside the bucket and wrap in holiday gift paper. The card can simply say “You have been cordially invited to the -family name- Movie Premier Event! Tape up your decorations, pick out your movies then sit back and enjoy some family time. Oh and don’t forget your popcorn and drinks at the concession stand (kitchen)!” Wrap movie posters and the soda or juice separately. Encouraging family time with this great family gift is economical and fun! No sticky seats or loud movie goers needed!
Family Gift Idea #3
Holiday family gift for the game playing, challenge driven family: Are You Up For the Challenge Basket! Everyone loves a challenge and this one is easy as well as fun. Challenge a fellow family to a game night marathon. The goal is to complete a certain number of family game nights within a certain amount of time, with the final play-offs scheduled for when your family and theirs can get together after the holiday.
Items Needed: Basket or box large enough to hold everything, 3 games (any combination of card or board games that are age appropriate for the children involved), bag of chips and dip or dip seasoning mix, snack foods, directions for the challenge including time frames and the challenge, and a supply of pre-addressed post cards to log results. Note: postage paid postcards can be purchased at the post office, games are often on sale this time of year at any department store, and the baskets, as well as some snacks, can be found at local dollar stores.
Directions: place the games in the basket or box along with the postcards and directions for the challenge. The directions would be as follows: “This Christmas we are presenting you with the Family Game Night Challenge! The goal is to complete at least one family game night a week for the next 6 weeks. Each time log your game stats including the date, who participated, who won and any fun notes, on one of the enclosed postcards and drop in the mail. We will do the same. Once the six weeks are up we would like to schedule a play off where both our families can get together for a family game night tournament. Good luck and happy gaming!” Add in the snacks, wrap in holiday gift paper and give. A family gift that contains a challenge where everyone is a winner! If your families don’t live close to each other you can modify the challenge accordingly, or even drop the challenge and just give the gift of family game night (but the challenge is much more fun!).
Not only are these family gifts ideas fun to put together and well received, you can also feel better knowing you are giving a family gift that will encourage family time together. I’ve even put together some of these family gifts for our own family as a gentle reminder of, and an easy way to accomplish, spending some quality time with each other, especially around the holidays!