Reduce the Toys, Reduce the Stress this Christmas

That one toy that your child has waited for all year long, the one that you watched that sweet little voice ask Santa for when on his lap, the joy on their face when they open that gift…priceless.

But you may be looking for a way to minimize the clutter that seems to creep up when we least expect it –  until we are tripping over LEGO pieces or any other toy part.

Instead of getting one more toy, consider all of the other wonderful local activities and experiences that make perfect gifts, as well as memories for the family.

Getting an experience doesn’t mean forgoing opening presents and wrapping paper. You can wrap tickets, a leotard for a new gymnastics class, new boots for horseback riding lessons, or a book a local, independent bookstore instead.

Let this list help you find great toy alternatives. And, whether you use this list for Christmas, a birthday, or another holiday – we hope these ideas inspire.

Jump to Find more Kalamazoo Holiday Fun…
Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremonies and Holiday Parades
Christmas Gift Ideas for the Family
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Christmas Tree Farms
Holiday Shows and Performances for Families
Santa Sightings and Christmas Events
Holiday Light Displays

Sentimental Treasures, Educational and Practical Gifts with Deeper Meaning: 10+ Gift Ideas for Kids

It’s amazing how pervasive our mountains of toy possessions can be – and how quickly they can grow. Consider these 10+ gift ideas.

Subscription boxes are all the rage, and while they contain “stuff”, the experience inside can be worth it. Options for kids include science kits, cooking lessons, and goodies for kids, stickers, art projects, books, geek culture, games, and everything in between. We love the boxes from KiwiCo, there’s one for every age, they run sales, and getting monthly mail is fun for kids.

Non Toy Ideas for Kids - subscription box

Audiobooks – consider gifting digital audiobooks over paperback books – check out audiobooks from the library.  Some family-favorite audiobooks include The Boxcar Children, Magic Tree House series, Harry Potter series.

Photo Album. Kids adore looking at pictures of family members and themselves. Make a collage photo book of all of the special things your children have encountered or milestones in the past year. Most online digital websites offer discount codes!

Pamper little fingers and toes with a kid-friendly spa or salon appointment.

Grab tickets for the latest kid-friendly flick, butter that popcorn, and enjoy a movie at the Kalamazoo 10 or Celebration! Crossroads.

Or help your child pursue their passions, or burn off energy with these classes and lessons around town:

Sign your budding chef up for cooking lessons in Kalamazoo so they are soon making you breakfast in bed, or in the kitchen making tacos for the next family dinner night.

Watch your kids flip, tumble, and giggle during gymnastics class at one of our local gymnastics facilities.

What child hasn’t asked for a pony? Get ready to giddy up with horse riding lessons for your kids.

girl smiling on horse - non toy gift ideas

Have a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle at home? Sign your child up for martial arts classes at a local dojo.

Swimming doesn’t only happen in the summer months. There’s tons of indoor water fun to be found along with swim lessons – an essential skill for all children.

If your child has been begging to learn the piano, the flute, or belts out tunes during bathtime, music lessons might just be a hit.

Little Picassos and Monets will love art classes at a studio around town. Don’t forget to make more room on your fridge for the creative artwork.

Give the Gift of Experiences the Entire Family will Always Remember

Sporty families will love tickets or season passes to the Kalamazoo Wings, or Kalamazoo Growlers.

Burn off the energy all winter long with passes to SkyZone’s trampoline park or Jungle Joe’s inflatable paradise for kids. Jungle Joe’s has also added a miniature golf course – the perfect outdoor activity for after a long winter.

Strike something off the list with bowling passes to Airway Fun Center or Revel & Roll West.  Or consider an Airway Fun Card or wristband for their arcade, go-karts, ropes course, and other indoor/outdoor attractions.

Get clipped in and try out the largest indoor ropes course in Michigan at the Allegan Event Center. For the adventurous, climb one of 16 different climbing walls, feel the adrenaline rush during a freefall sim or whiz across the Kalamazoo River on the two 600-foot long zip lines.

Strap on those roller skates and head to Rollerworld for old-fashioned indoor laps around the rink.

Get chilly on the ice at Millenium Park, Lawson Ice Arena, or Wings Event Center.

Hit the slopes with passes to Bittersweet Ski Resort, Timber Ridge, or Swiss Valley Ski Area. Ski the black diamonds, take lessons, or even check out the tubing hills.

Animal-lovers will love a season pass to Binder Park Zoo in Battle Creek so they can feed the giraffes, ride the newly refurbished Z.O. & O. railroad and carousel.

If your family loves art, consider a membership to the Kalamazoo Institute of Arts where the whole family can get free admission, as well as discounts on classes and camps.

Soar through the air and into space with a membership at Kalamazoo’s Air Zoo. With rides, hands-on exhibits, a preschool room, special events, and a cafe, it’s a perfect place to fly to.

Need to get out of dodge? Hop the train to Chicago for the day to see one of the many museums, visit “The Bean“, or roam Maggie Daley Park.

Live in the great outdoors and hike all year round with a membership to the Kalamazoo Nature Center. Members get free admission and reduced prices in their gift store and camps.

Time with Mom & Dad. Kids love having one-on-one time. Better yet, let them plan the outing. It could be to try out a new restaurant, or get ice cream or make a run for hot chocolate.

Consider One of These 5 Local Kalamazoo Favorites for Mom and Dad

Let mom breathe with a membership or gift card to her favorite yoga studio around town. Some even offer kids classes for when mom feels like having a partner.

Season tickets to Miller Auditorium, the Kalamazoo Symphony, or the Civic Theatre are perfect for live performance aficionados.

A night out with a little wine, friends, and the opportunity to create can be found at Wine & Canvas, Painting With a Twist and Happy Our Art.

Let mom and dad just try to beat the clock in an escape room at Escapology or ClockNLock.

If you’ve been climbing the walls, let mom and dad try climbing their own at Climb Kalamazoo.

Christmas Gift Ideas for Families Kalamazoo

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