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The 2021 holiday season is here and the scramble to shop for gifts is on. With the shipping delays in the news and worries over supply issues, gifts that aren’t things on shelves are a bonus!

Given the popularity of books and blogs on minimalism, many of us seem to be looking for ways to have less “stuff” in our lives and our homes. When the holidays come around, I find myself simultaneously purging closets and the playroom while buying gifts for the ones I love. Giving experiences allows you to share memories together and avoid the clutter of forgotten toys in a few months.

All of these options were open and operating at the time of publication. Please take the step of double checking as this pandemic has many industries changing things often. With that said, our local and small businesses truly need our support at this time, so take any chance you can to support them!

Did we forget your favorite local option? Let us know in the comments!

Memberships are a great way to keep the fun going all year long! They are also great gifts to request from grandparents to the whole family. Many of these locations are currently operating at limited capacity or with restrictions(such as requiring masks for participants) but are still a wonderful option for the coming year, and a way to support our local community!

Our Local Favorites:

  • Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center at Colorado College gives you access to the museum and its ever changing exhibits as well as access to special members-only events and discounts on classes through Bemis Art School. Did you know they have a tactile gallery where kids of all ages can actually touch the artwork?
  • The Edward C. Rochette Money Museum is a great option if you have any budding numismatists in the family! Membership to the American Numismatic Association gives you access to our local museum as well as many other benefits.
  • Cheyenne Mountain Zoo has multiple options for membership levels to choose from, but all give you 365 days of access to the zoo and discounts to many zoo events!
  • El Paso County Nature Center membership gives you access and benefits at both Fountain Creek and Bear Creek Nature Centers, with discounts on all of their fantastic programming!
  • Western Museum of Mining and Industry has a lot to offer, especially if you have littles obsessed with machinery! They also have events throughout the year that members get early access and discounts to.
  • Rocky Mountain Dinosaur Resource Center offers memberships and is a great option if you have a dinosaur lover!
  • Space Discovery Center offers annual memberships that also get you into 450 reciprocal ASTC (science and tech) museums worldwide.
  • Play Street Museum does not offer a traditional membership, but they do have multi-visit play passes that would make a fantastic gift as we head into winter.

This category of gift ideas perhaps is the most affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. While performance venues face the chance of last minute cancellations, many of them have adjusted or shifted to virtual events to in order to continue bringing performing arts to the Pikes Peak Region. Many of the theaters in town have special offerings for children and families which is a great way to introduce kids to live theater!

Some local options:

  • Colorado Springs Philharmonic offers a Free for Kids program that allows for one free child ticket with an adult ticket purchase. Great way to save money and enjoy something new together!
  • Pikes Peak Center does a great job of offering a variety of performances each season, including Broadway performances. On each event description, you can find age minimums or suggestions to help you plan for your family!
  • UCCS Presents has all you need to know about what is going on at the ENT Center for the Arts in the upcoming season. Not all performances will be family friendly, but you should be able to find something to suit your needs!
  • Look into offerings by local high schools. Many of them put on amazing shows that are perfect for kids!

All of these options were operating at time of publishing but please check in before purchasing to make sure you are comfortable with any precautions they are taking or altered hours or activities.

Fun options around town for gift cards:

Picks for Fun Family Dates:

Subscriptions are a fun way to give gifts over time. Kids love to get mail! 2020 is presenting us with lots of quality time at home and subscription boxes are a great way to fill the time.

Activity Kits:

  • KiwiCo has options for single crates or subscription crates for kids of all ages ranging from science to art and everything in between!
  • Little Passports sends a crate full of activities for a new country each month!
  • Raddish Kids is an all inclusive cooking club in a box!
  • Bitsbox sends a new leveled computer science concept with a set of crazyfun app projects each month!
  • Surprise Ride sends a monthly kit exploring a fascinating subject, from fantasy to science, inclusive of all the project supplies, a reading book, a keepsake, plus simple step-by-step photo instruction!
  • Young Chef’s Club is a monthly box from America’s Test Kitchen that includes recipes, experiments and activities to keep kids busy in the kitchen!
  • Universal Yums sends a box of snacks from a different country each month and includes recipes and activities about the country to make for a fun family night activity!

Magazines for Kids:

How do you get everyone on board with experience gifts?

Ask kids to create a wish list in a little different way. Have them make a list of places they want to go, things they want to learn, or what fun activities they would like to do as a family rather than a traditional list of desired toys.

When presenting experience gifts, print out a certificate or a picture that represents the gift. Alternatively, a small stuffed animal or toy could help introduce a zoo membership. Gift your budding artist some supplies to go along with their classes.

Share this guide with grandparents who may want to gift your family year long opportunities!