No More Holiday Gifts?! Presence vs Presents

baby (0-1) grade-school (5-12) gratitude pregnancy preschool (3-5) teen (12-18) toddler (1-3) young adult (18-21) Dec 13, 2018

Depending on your level of National-Lampoon-family-dysfunction, your holidays can be either a season to remember or a season to quickly forget. Family members complaining about your food, your in-laws asking awkward questions, or the inevitable conversation about politics. Things can go haywire pretty fast.

But let’s talk about our good memories, the ones that make us smile and cry tears of joy. Those moments from your childhood, or from your time as a dad, that you wish you could revisit every year.

What makes those memories so good? Is the smell of Christmas? Is it the new toy that Santa brought you? Is it the time spent with people you love?

Which of your holiday experiences stand out to you the most?

Presents that you received or the time you spent with people? Seriously. Take a moment to think about it.

It could be that your most fond memories are the times you got the toy you always wanted. But the memories that really stick with us the most are those moments when we sat around laughing with our grandparents, playing games with our cousins, or singing Christmas carols with our parents.

Why is that the case? Because presents are temporary and human presence makes a lasting impact. The joy of opening a present goes away quickly while creating an experience together is something we remember for our entire lives.

So, here’s the deal. When the holidays roll around again, challenge yourself to value presence over presents. Knowing that, one day, your kids will look back on the times you spend together, prioritize making a memory over giving gifts.

Take the money you were going to spend on presents and spend it on presence. In

If you want to accept the challenge, here are 3 ways to give presence instead of presents this year:

Give a Coupon Book of Your Time

Unlike the purchase of a typical toy, this is going to require some forethought and creativity. Think long and hard about each one of your kids and what they would enjoy doing with you. If this is done right, you'll communicate two important things to your children:

  1. You understand and appreciate them for who they are.
  2. You value your time with your kids and care so much about it that you would create your own coupon book to make it happen.

Some easy but impactful coupons can include things like these:

  • Take a walk together
  • Go on a daddy-daughter date
  • Take a trip to the zoo together
  • Spend time making cookies together

Whatever is on the coupons, make sure they are created from a place of empathy, from a heart that wants to meet your kids where they're at.


Plan a Family Getaway 

Whether it's an overnight trip or a local getaway, use the money that you were going to spend on presents and spend it on a fun experience with your family. Here are some great examples of a family getaway:

  • Spend the night at a hotel - swim in the pool and order room service.
  • Go to the closest big city and stay overnight downtown, eating at a fancy restaurant
  • Go skiing, snowboarding, or tubing. Remember, you're doing this instead of all the presents, so you're able to splurge a little bit.

Plan a Regularly Scheduled Date with your Child

Decide that, for the next year, you will designate a certain amount of time to spend one-on-one time with your child. If you spend some time on this and package this up really nicely, it can be a memorable and very impactful present.

The truth is that your time is going to make more of an impact than a Pikachu card.

Your 8-year-old may disagree with that, but it's reality.

Obviously, you wouldn't completely disregard gifts, especially if your kids look forward to receiving them. The gist of it is that you are investing in experiences that your children will remember when they're adults instead of temporary objects that your children won't remember. 

We can't wait to hear about the creative ways you invested in presence over presents this holiday season!


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