I hate cleaning my kids’ rooms.  The act seems so incredibly redundant that it is beyond off-putting for me. And, much like we see in Toy Story 4, they attach emotionally to some of the weirdest stuff.

This is not a post about cleaning or organizing – I have zero wisdom for you there. In fact, my Pinterest feed is a good graveyard for all those “life hacks” on cleaning, purging, and organizing.

I am a sentimental.

I attach memories to things and that makes them harder for me to purge.  Funny story?  My kids are similar. (Science has yet to have enough spare time to prove it, but I am a firm believer that this trait is hereditary.) So now, we have at least three people in my house who are emotionally attached to random stuff because it is a reminder of the memories associated with said thing.

The resulting effect is clutter.

In the quest for that one “life-hack” that eliminates clutter, the singular thing I have found so far is to simply not bring it into the house. Radical, I know.

Unrealistic? More likely.

I am still early into this mom gig, but it didn’t take long for me to realize that Christmas can be the king of all clutter. Not only was I gifting things to my kiddos, but so was our extended family. Pretty soon, we were spending more time cleaning up after the gifts than actually enjoying them – or each other.

Time.

I realized I would rather trade time spent cleaning for time spent making memories. And that is when gifting experiences became our goal.

I want my kids to be well rounded.

We all do, right?

The goal in gifting experiences is to expose them to things I believe will build character and perspective. My girls are also five and six. At that age, there is hardly anything more fun than tearing into the shroud of mystery that envelops a gift designated just for you that has materialized overnight beneath a luminescent tree. So, although I am a huge advocate of experiences over things, I still gift to add a little tangibility to the memory without going overboard.

If my girls are getting ballet classes this year, they get new tights, leotards, tutus and shoes in a box with a voucher for said classes.

One year, we bought a Colorado State Parks Annual Pass. Then, we gifted backpacks and sleeping bags along with personal led lanterns.

A pass to the Colorado Springs Fine Arts Center meant my girls tore open various mediums of art supplies to use throughout the year. Along with that, we added tickets to see the live Frog and Toad play. These were tucked away in my childhood Frog and Toad books which we were able to read together beforehand.

Perhaps tickets to see the Colorado Springs Philharmonic perform any one of the Star Wars sagas gifted with a Chewbacca Build-a-Bear.

Gifting experiences for travel and home.

If we know we will be doing a fair amount of traveling in the upcoming year, a tablet or various travel games are ideal along with a few Busy Books that can be kept in a travel backpack or a car carrier for when either patience or batteries run out and imagination needs sparking.

We love our city and spending time together in it. Bring on the adventures! At this point my kids don’t even know what gifts to ask Santa to bring them for Christmas. And I am thrilled to keep it that way.

Photo Credit: Julia Young Photography
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Rochelle is a desert-rat from Arizona who kept moving north until she hit Colorado Springs; good luck getting her to leave now. She wasted no time snagging her husband under the pretense of athleticism and outdoorsy-ness. Among other things, eleven years of marriage has yielded two beautiful daughters, Harper and Quinn. Momming these super-sassy littles is her biggest adventure yet, and provides for some serious writing material. Rochelle works out of the home also, and has a diverse background in public relations, social work, student advising, youth ministry and pyrotechnics. She is presently finishing up her MBA and is juggling all of it fairly well for a person with little to no hand-eye-coordination. She is a firm believer that it takes a village to raise a child and she is beyond grateful for hers.