Holiday Gift Guide 2018

It’s “the most wonderful time of the year”!!!! I love purchasing gifts for other people- it truly makes me happy when I find something for a family member or friend that I think they will love. I know the most popular holidays for gift giving are still more than a month away, but I also know some people (like myself) like to get an early start. My 2017 Holiday Gift Guide remains one of my most popular posts, so I thought I would offer some additional suggestions for 2018.

If you follow my blog, you know I place the highest emphasis on spending time with my family exploring the country. My husband and I prefer to “gift” our children with experiences for the holidays and their birthdays, and if we do gift them material possessions, we try and include things we can do together. Here are some new ideas I found this year:

Displaying Family Photos with the Thunder Bunny Labs 50 States Photo Map. I have been looking for something like this for years! The map even comes with a Map Maker tool to make fitting the photos in the shape of the state easy. The kids and I will spend time over the holidays printing, cutting, and placing the photos in the various states (to date, we’ve got 31 states covered!) There are three mats outlining the states, state names, and bodies of water. You can order it with or without a frame and there are map options including Canadian Provinces, the Caribbean, and baseball parks. . This would also make a great gift for grandparents to display trips with the children. Bonus: it ships for free!

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2. Stocking Stuffer: The Little Traveler Toys’ Kids Travel Pack. I know my children will be excited to fill their replica passport with stickers for each state we visit (or have visited) and even country icon stickers. My daughter carries a wallet now and the replica credit cards might even help her become more responsible with her things. The Little Traveler Toys Company also offers additional passport stickers and a carry on backpack to help kids become independent and responsible for their items.

3. Subscription Service: There are so many monthly subscription service options for every interest your children may have. My daughter loves to cook, so last year, we got her a subscription for Kidstir’s Happy Cooking Kits. She gets so excited every time the bright green box arrives in our mailbox. There are usually three recipes, a cooking tool, a supplement like place cards to decorate or a game to play, and a grocery store list of ingredients. The 12 month subscription also comes with a recipe binder to keep everything organized. Kidstir also offers a singular or three/six/nine month subscription options.

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4. New Board Games: While I liked playing Zingo for hours on end when my kids were toddlers, I am grateful they enjoy playing more complex games now that they are older. Our favorites include Scattergories, Monopoly (although it can go on for hours), and Trivial Pursuit Family Edition.  I recently found Wits and Wagers at Target and a fellow shopper told me it’s his family’s favorite game. My history loving, numbers and statistics guru of a son will definitely want to play; I just need to make sure he’s on my team! Card games are also great for the car and hotel; our favorite card game is UNO- classic variety.

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5. Museum Membership: My family recently explored the Connecticut Science Center in Hartford, Connecticut. The whole family LOVED it! There are tons of exhibits, shows, and special events. My kids keep asking to go back. It’s the perfect place for a child’s birthday party and they even have opportunity for scout groups to stay overnight in an exhibit. It makes more financial sense for us to get a family membership, which will give us tons of additional perks and privileges to visit other Connecticut museums like Mystic Aquarium, Maritime Aquarium at Norwalk and the Beardsley Zoo.

If you would like more ideas on giving experiences for the holidays, check out my list here. And if you’re heading to New York City to experience the magic of the holiday season in “The City”, make sure you check out my top 10 list here.
Happy “shopping” and enjoy the magic of the holiday season!

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