By the time you get done buying the Xbox, shoes, clothes and endless toys for everyone in your family many of you will have spent well over $1,000 for Christmas. That’s $1,000 of hard-earned money from working longer hours, sacrificing gifts for yourself all in an attempt to make your family happy. Then what happens? A year later your kids want new gifts all over again and you’re spending even more money to make them happy. Is that what you want your holidays to look like?
According to Investopedia, Americans will be spending more money on gifts in 2012 than they did last year. In 2011, the average American spent $646 on holiday gifts. In 2012, it is expected that the average American will be spending $854 in gifts for friends and loved ones! That’s enough money to take a trip, save towards a down payment on a house or pay off some debt. I wish I knew this 5 years ago when we were in a frenzy to be Super Parents and buy all of the latest gifts. However, in the last two years we decided to do a complete remix on what the holidays look like around our house.
Instead of buying gifts that our children would play with for only a couple of months, we decided that we wanted to make memories in a different way. We decided to forego gifts and take a trip to celebrate our family. By doing this, we won’t be forced to stand in long lines waiting to get the latest toys and we won’t be forced to spend our money on things that can stolen, broken or not appreciated.
Call us crazy but we want our kids to to get up , get out and see something! Here are four reasons why traveling is a much better investment in our kids than buying gifts.
- No one can steal or break our memories. How many times have you bought a new gift for someone than to have it stolen or, worse yet, broken within weeks? Traveling across the world will allow our family to make memories that many times can’t be duplicated.
- Our house is already crowded with toys that no one plays with. I can’t count how many Barbies, iPods, trucks, etc. that we've bought the past couple of years. All I know is that we have toys that my kids do not play with. So why would we bring more toys into our house? Traveling, seeing new sights will give the kids a better foundation of what life is about. before we leave on our trip we’re going to have our kids fill up one large garbage bag full of toys for children who are less fortunate.
- Our kids need to know that there is more to the holidays than just gifts. Holidays are supposed to be a time that you get together with your family—not a time to get all of the latest gadgets. That's another reason we make our children donate toys. This will drive home the fact that the holidays are not for the toys.
- Many times it’s cheaper to book flights off season. Flying can be expensive but right now you can get awesome deals on domestic and international flights. So instead of buying gifts, book your flight today!
Now my MommyNoire family, have you started shopping for the holidays? If not, then book a flight (or plan a trip) and get to exploring!
Words by Franchesca Lane-Warren