For a number of years now, I’ve been horrified at the reaction our kids have at Christmas and Birthdays when they are presented with present after present. Without even looking properly at each one they simply look up and look around for the next one to unwrap! When all the unwrapping is done, there is a sense of emptiness and finality about it, like the fun is now over even though there is a pile of toys waiting to be played with.
Naturally our 11yr old has particular difficulties having ADHD and ASD that mean he does find it harder to understand the value of things and that he can’t have everything he wants right now. This is an ongoing struggle. We’ve tried to cut down on buying him things over the years, not just because our financial situation changed dramatically, but also because we could see just how bad it was for him to have all this ‘stuff’. With the 2 year old, I like to try and spread the presents given (from family and friends) out over a few days so that he engages with one or two toys right in the moment. He’s actually a little better than the 11yr old when it comes to this stuff anyway as he’s neurotypical.
These days toys and games are so easy to come by, whether brand new or recycled through a second hand website that there is almost no fun whatsoever in having a birthday or Christmas because the kids already have too much of everything! Not to mention the world impact problems with packaging and wastage in landfill and don’t even get me started on plastic and batteries!
Personally I love to try and get gifts that offer experiences to people rather than items. Yes I give gift cards for clothes and things, but I have also been known to offer various experience gifts as I feel that these really offer so much more enrichment to the recipient. A memory to treasure and an experience to learn by rather than another ‘thing’ to stuff in a cupboard and forget! For my cousin’s 18th birthday present I bought him a lap in a V8 Race car. For my Mother in Law’s 40th birthday we got her a ride in a hot air balloon. For our son’s 11th birthday we took him to the theme parks on the Gold Coast (and bought him a giant Lego set, but you actually can’t get away with no Lego for a birthday when you have a kid on the spectrum who loves Lego!). One year for Christmas I bought my husband a package for learning Trapeze skills.
I recently check out this site called Eventbrite that I hadn’t seen before and found myself lost in a scrolling heaven of things to do around my local area! There are a few websites around that let you search for different experiences and they are all pretty good. What I really liked about this one is that it really got down to the nitty gritty of local events both big and small that you can get involved in. At a glance you can also see how much it will cost you. But not only that, you can actually use the site to set up your own event and invite people to and have them pay through the site as well! How easy is that! I really liked that idea as I now have my own covers band and might like to host an event some day soon.
This got me thinking about stuff I’d like to do in 2017, which led me to make a ‘mini bucket list’. I’ve chosen experiences that would be affordable and accessible so that I have a chance of getting it done, but I have now been inspired to make a bucket list on a larger scale that I would need a bit of time and money to complete!
Why don’t you go and check out some of the experiences around your local area for your own bucket list, or perhaps for a unique gift for that next special occasion?
My 2017 Bucket List – Compiled using the Eventbrite website:
- Lyrics and Songwriting Workshop – I currently sing in a covers band, so how cool would it be to learn how to write our own songs?!
- Love My Dog Learn to Paint Workshop – I’ve never painted before, but I do love my dog, and I have always fancied that I might be OK at painting if I just have a go and some instruction!
- Adult Bollywood Dance Classes – Who doesn’t want to learn how to dance Bollywood style?!
- Nature Play for Outdoor Educators – As a homeschooling Mum, I’m always on the lookout for new and interesting ways to teach my kids!
- Nocturnal Nature Walk – I love outdoor stuff and I love ‘creatures’ and I love night time! I also think Mr 11 would get a kick out of something like this!
- Balmain Historic Pub Tour – This would be really interesting, and a great thing for hubby and I to do as we both enjoy a bit of history (me perhaps more than him :))
- Blue Mountains Glow Worm Tours – This is something I’ve been wanting to do for a long time. What a fantastic family outing and you we could make a weekend of it as the travel time to the blue mountains isn’t too far, but also not that close.
- Abseiling Course – This something I’ve always wanted to try and the husband and son already to indoor rock climbing so it would be a fun day together.
- Waste Site Tour – This would be a great homeschooling outing to learn about waste and the environment and remind us what happens to all that ‘stuff’ and all those toys when we are tired of them!
- Robot Future – Mr 11 loves robots and this is really close to where we live and could be quite interesting!
There were so many more things I could do, but I decided to stick to 10 and challenge myself to get them done! I’ll try and post about the things I do if I get to do them and let you know what they were like!