Why I’m Giving Experiences More than Stuff This Christmas


With kids in the house, we have more than enough stuff to contend with! I know my kids think they love getting toys under the tree, but what they really remember are the gifts of experience.

Just yesterday my 15 year old mentioned how one of her favorite memories was years ago when we were on our way home, I spontaneously turned up a song from Fiddler on the Roof to top volume and we all hopped out of the car and sang-shouted and danced on our gravel road together. My boys are still talking about visits to Niabi Zoo and actually being present when the lion roared that one time, and when a lorikeet pooped on someone’s head.

three children looking at a goat at Niabi Zoo

My kids all love our tradition of going outdoor ice skating and sledding together at least once each winter, which is a huge sacrifice for this blanket loving mom! They start asking about it as soon as there is a dusting of snow.

Don’t get me wrong! I love to see the looks on my kids’ faces when they open that special gift they’ve been asking for, but let’s get real, in a few weeks, those same gifts are collecting dust and cluttering my house with the rest of the toys, and honestly, they’re just as happy playing with paper and tape.

This year, I’m giving experiences that last all year long. Here’s why:

Experiences Together = Family time:

My parents didn’t have a lot of money when we were growing up, but they always placed a large emphasis on our treasured time together. We considered it great fun to simply borrow an actual film projector from the library and watch old movies off of a reel. I want to create memories like that with my kids, and I want them to value our time together – more than they do material items.

boys in Incredible suits doing a science tug of war at the Putnam

My family really enjoys our time together in local adventures, which is why I think the FunBundle is such a great way to gift experiences. It’s a one-year membership for up to a family of six-you can have up to four kids and two adults to Niabi Zoo, the Quad City Botanical Center and the Putnam Museum & Science Center. The kids already LOVE Niabi and Putnam, but with the FunBundle, we’ll be able to discover how many amazing things we can do at the Botanical Center too!

Learning through doing:

As a homeschool mom, I am constantly teaching while we do life together. You are too, even if you’re not a homeschool mom! I fully believe giving experiences makes for easy teaching moments. I love the fact that bargains such as the FunBundle allow our family to learn all year long. While the kids focus on all the fun to be had at each location, they’re also learning. I’m giving experiences, the kids are learning through life and fun, and I’m supporting local businesses! #MomWin!

I love how they can learn about many places and see different animals from around the world in our own community zoo. What’s better? Niabi’s camps are some of the best in the QC, and my kids never get tired of the hands-on activities at the Putnam’s Science Center. The best part? They are constantly adding new exhibits and features so my older kids don’t get bored when we go back multiple times in the year. giving experiences boy playing with lines of terrain in sand at the Putnam museumThe Botanical Center is a true oasis (especially during this time of year), the Children’s Garden is a crowd favorite in the summer, and right now, I’m super excited to make it over to see the Winter Nights Winter Lights exhibit.christmas lights in front of the quad city botanical center

The gift of experiences are lasting:

The toys come and go. My kids tend to go in spurts. One minute, it’s all about art and they need all the different water colors and oil pastels. Then, the next, it’s all about the latest Disney movie, and they want everything from that. A second later, they’re onto the new thing, leaving those art supplies half-used and the toys disregarded. (Insert head shake here.) The paper and tape never seems to lose its appeal though, so add that to your gift lists, in addition to the FunBundle!

It’s just another great reason why I love giving experiences – especially ones our family can keep returning to. That makes the FunBundle my go-to. You can print off a copy of the FunBundle order confirmation and wrap it in a box, so the kids still have something to unwrap. I may even print pictures of each destination, so all the kids can open a gift as part of it – making sure I tell them we can go there all year long.young boys playing in sand area at quad city botanical center gift of experiences

Giving experiences is on budget:

All the toys add up quickly. The FunBundle is only $174 for our family. Plus, there’s the option of the FunBundle+, which is only $223 (hint-hint: this year it includes two tickets for Pints for Preservation. The kids shouldn’t have all the fun, right?). When you consider what it would cost your family to visit each of those places just once, it pays for itself within a few visits. Plus, I get discounts on extras like classes, camps, concessions, gift shop purchases and more – especially in a large family with a SAHM, every penny counts!little girl looking at an octopus at niabi zoo giving experiences

If you’re interested in gifting your kids a FunBundle or just getting one for your family, you can find out more at FunBundleQC.com. We’re also giving away a FunBundle to one lucky family on our Facebook page! Make sure you enter to win Christmas this year!

What experiences will you be giving to your family this year? What are some of their favorite experience moments with you? Let us know in the comments.foot prints in sand why I'm giving experiences this year


  1. We asked for tickets to various near-ish experiences for the kids this year, like Adventureland and Legoland. That way, we can all enjoy a few family day trips together 🙂


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