The most memorable Christmas gift my boys have received (and what they both claim is their favorite) was the Experience Gift package we gave them two years ago. We gave each son a special package filled with 12 envelopes (one for each month of the year- you can read more about it here). The envelopes contained pamphlets, tickets, and/or gift cards for an “experience” with either their Dad or me. We all soaked up our time together, but the boys especially loved getting our undivided attention all while doing something that they enjoy. We had a wonderful time that year, but let me tell you…it was SO STINKIN’ HARD to schedule every single month!
Last year, we did not give them an experience gift because our daughter is now old enough to feel left out if she was not included. And thinking about arranging three one-on-one dates every single month felt utterly impossible now that our kids are getting older and involved in more activities. But both of the boys expressed how much they missed getting to do one-on-one dates with us. Don’t get us wrong…we still try to spend one-on-one time with them as much as we can, but we have found that unless it is scheduled and pre-planned, it sadly doesn’t happen as often as we would like.
The fact of the matter is that Experience Gifts are HARD for bigger families. When you have two children, you can take a night each month and one goes with one parent and the other child with the other parent. That isn’t possible when you have 3+ children. In reality, you have to schedule two or three nights each month just to make it possible for each kid to have some quality time with a parent.
So this year, we are trying something new! We have created an Experience Gift Schedule for our three children that will be part of their Christmas present! Each month each child will either have a date with Mom, a date with Dad, OR they will get to choose a family activity. We have committed to finding a babysitter (or begging family members) to stay with the one child that isn’t going on a date with either one of us that month. They will then get to choose a family activity to do another day (renting a movie, choosing a restaurant, playing a special game, etc). With this schedule, each child will get four one-on-one dates with Mom, four with Dad, and will get to choose an activity for the family four months of the year.
I have also included the printable for 4 children. It might take a bit more creativity to make it work with four children, but you can do it!
There are several different options for backgrounds but you’ll only need to print one of the pages. Some ideas that we are including for our dates are a music concert, Paw Patrol Live (for our 4-year old), local university basketball game, gift certificate to a painting night, bowling, rock climbing, going to a movie, etc. Each child will receive a copy of the schedule on Christmas morning along with any pre-paid tickets/gift cards we have purchased.
Click on one of the links below to download the schedule that fits your family: