Experiences Over Gifts-Why We Stopped Spending Money On Birthday Presents

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Last year my husband and I made what many people think is a pretty crazy decision. We decided to stop buying our kids birthday presents. For real. They might get one small present on their big day, Austen got a doctors kit, for example, but other than that not much. Not much material at least.

You see we used to go all out for the kids birthdays. Big parties, lots of presents, the works. But all that money was wasted. It was money down the drain and if I’m being perfectly honest my kids weren’t getting a lot out of it. So we decided to change our mindset, we decided to focus on things that could last.¬†You see, those¬†parties were over within an hour, the toys broke within a week. Heck, some of them didn’t even last 24 hours.

These things that we spent so much money on didn’t last. If we were going to be forking out so much, we wanted it to be something that would stand the test of time, tangible or not.

We decided that memories were the thing to focus on.

So we made the choice to shift our perspective, we chose to believe that our children would get more out of experiences than they would out of toys that did not last.

For Addi’s birthday we went to Great Wolf Lodge.

For Atlas’ birthday we took him to see Thomas.

For Austen’s birthday we went to the Denver Children’s Museum.

Each of these things did cost us money, but the joy on our children’s faces, and the memories they talk about months afterward are worth so much more than those toys. We are choosing to give our children something they can take with them into adulthood.

Something that will never leave them.

6 comments on “Experiences Over Gifts-Why We Stopped Spending Money On Birthday Presents


    It took my wife and 20+ years of marriage to realize that most of the gifts we were giving was just because it felt appropriate. It was a waste. Now we do small gifts for Christmas but everything else is put toward weekends away. Experiences are so much better than “stuff”!

  2. I love this! It’s hard to get SO many toys for every occasion. We started to ask for things like a zoo membership instead. I think the grandparents have the hardest time with this concept lol

  3. I couldn’t agree with you more. It seems to me, when we’re summing the things which brought joy to us, the memories tend to be more cherished over the items (no matter how much they cost).

  4. I am so 100% on board with this!! Our baby girl is just 1 1/2 right now, but for her first birthday we let just the grandparents send one special thing and took her to our local nature center for the day! Although, of course, she won’t remember that day, building that sweet memory is much more precious then the gifts we received (I don’t even remember what we got for her!). In future years, I hope to cultivate a attitude of memories/experience over material possessions that easily fade away.

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