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How To Create Lasting Memories Without the Clutter



Design a Years Worth of Monthly Activities With Your Little One


Last year I shared with all of you my 8 thoughts for no crap Christmas gifts. I only purchased gifts I knew my kids would use and would require zero extra storage. I purchased most of our gifts from local moms too which meant I was helping other families enjoy their Christmas. Everything I selected for my kids was a hit. However, this year, they are asking for more toys because they didn’t get any last year. And the truth is I haven’t purchased new toys in years. Not even for their birthday. I’m not stingy or hate shopping, but they have had enough in their supply that I just did not need to buy more. Now they are growing out of things and into new phases so it’s time to replace what they no longer play with.

My husband did a fantastic job getting them set up with a slew of new toys this year. As I was reviewing their toy requests and began purging their childish things I couldn’t believe how quickly my kids have grown out of most of their favorite things. It won’t be long now that the toys we bought for this Christmas will no longer be cool, or hold any value. So what will hold value and keep them entertained without bringing a whole bunch of new stuff into my house to manage?

A calendar already pre-loaded with date days, or fun activities for each child. Last year I was introduced to a “date calendar” where you schedule one on one time with each child once a month. I had intentions of creating an entire calendar and adding to a binder. Instead I put my ideas into a card and sealed in an envelope. We opened one each month. I included things we normally do together like a day at the salon or a walk on our favorite trail, or time at the park together. I stuffed in coupons and prepaid gift cards for things like ice cream, the movies and a trip to the toy store. I presented 12 envelopes in a gift bag under the tree and we used one per month. My kids loved it! It was like a chose your own adventure and a gift to unwrap all in one.  But juggling 12 cards per kid was a bit much for me. So this year I’m switching to the binder idea. 

I started searching on Pinterest and found an amazing binder set from the Dating Divas. You can download everything you need to make a colorful binder cover and enhanced activities to do with your kids for around $15. However, I’m sure if you keep searching you will find something for free, or be inspired to create your own.   For a small investment of time (and printer ink) you can create a really unique gift for your child for around $20. The fun will last all year and there is no new stuff to clutter up your shelves or step on while walking through the living room. Most of the date nights are low cost or free like going to the library, or stargazing.

If you like the idea of presenting a card each month here is your how to:

1.    Purchase a set of 12 pretty stationary cards (can find these at the dollar store).

2.  Subscribe online to Hudson Valley Parent and receive your guides for fun, free activities in your local area. It's free to subscribe and search their activities calendar!

3.   Find free workshops at Michael’s craft store and Home Depot, or Lowes and grab those dates!

4.    Grab your calendar and start planning your days out and your budget.

5.  Write inside each card what surprise activity you will do together that month. Write the month on the front of the envelope and be sure to stuff any prepaid gift cards or coupons inside before you seal it up.

Assemble your cards in a nice box or basket, or even a special gift bag and place under the tree. Include a note to explain what the gift is about. 

 

The memories you create during these outings will last long after your child grows out of the latest fad toy. It’s easy to make this project your own and you can tailor it to fit your budget. Living in the Hudson Valley there is an enormous amount of free things to do and see. Get creative and put this truly unique gift under your tree. No other kids will have one just like it and you won’t have stand online for hours to get one. 

RELATED ARTICLE: Gift Giving Guide for Less Crap

The Whatever Mom is a full-time wife and twin mama living on coffee and wine. She enjoys the pure rush of cleaning the BIG potty between loads of laundry. It is her dream that moms everywhere accept and embrace the Whatever Mom philosophy which can be found here. You can also find her musings and popular shares on Facebook and Twitter. Stay up to date with her creative ideas and outings on Pinterest. 


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