In keeping with my zero waste desires in a previous blog post, I decided to make a gift giving list that was only experiences. We’ll be doing some of these for our family, but will still be giving physical gifts as well, if they are the right fit. I’ve never been about buying a gift just to buy a gift. I try not to buy a gift unless I really feel it suits someone. I have small kids so I understand the feeling to want to give them something to play with RIGHT THEN. That’s what grandparents are for! We try to have gifts that will keep them interested for a longer period of time (lego, a dollhouse, board game). We also don’t spend a lot on Christmas. So while we will do some of the below we will NOT do it all! I love the idea of experiences because it is often something we can do together.

Flights or visits to friends – I love this one and we have been doing it a long time. When I was pregnant with Jack, my husband’s best friend’s wife emailed me and offered to pay one way for him to go to Ottawa for the Superbowl in February if I paid the other way. It was a brilliant surprise. Now they have gone back and forth for the last 5 Superbowls. It’s no longer a surprise but a wonderful gift.

Nutcracker – I grew up as a dancer. I always loved the Nutcracker. A mom friend asked if I wanted to take Olive with them this year. Yes, it is before Christmas but will serve as one of her gifts. She’s going to love the ballet AND being there with her friends.

Concerts – Halifax (and other cities/towns) has a huge amount of concerts to choose from. Even if it is a few months after Christmas, that’s ok. The anticipation is part of the enjoyment. If it is a concert you don’t want to attend, ask a friend to go too or have another couple arrange a surprise. This could also apply to Paw Patrol, the Wiggles, or other kids shows.

Moosehead games – Jack is obsessed with hockey. He will watch anything and cheer for anyone. This year I would like to get tickets for Jack and my dad to go together. Any type of sports game would fit the bill here.

High Ropes course – We have On Tree at Ski Martock. A season pass (or gift certificate) would be a wonderful gift. They have a small course for ages 5-8 and then the regular course for 8+.

Play place certificates – This would be great for a friend, child, nieces and nephews and anyone with a child young enough to visit the various play places in Halifax area. It’s a great way to have fun on a winter or rainy day and most have free wifi for parents. These include Hop, Skip, Jump; The Playbox; Happy Kids and Rebel Space.

Trampoline Place – Get Air is open in Dartmouth and is a great weekend destination for those who like to move. This includes kids and adults!

Annual Passes to a Location – There are so many great options. Did you know you can give a Parks Canada Discovery Pass for yearly admission? The Discovery Centre and Nova Scotia Museums also have this option.

NS Parks e-gift cards – For a camper or camping family an e-gift card for a few nights camping would be a great gift. You can get one that is accessible to all of the Parks and the recipient can choose where to go. We love Graves Island, Five Islands and Thomas Raddall.

Neptune or Symphony NS or the NS Tattoo – Similar to a concert, there are so many options to choose from. There is something for everyone. The Music of the Eagles is being put on by Symphony NS in January! The Tattoo tickets go on sale Nov. 1 and the musical, The Color Purple is coming to Neptune.

Classes – What do you get your grandchild who has everything? A class that they would love. Some examples could be: 4 cats Art Studio (on Oxford St in Halifax), Bite Sized Kitchen Cooking Classes (, sewing, gymnastics, any sports!

Swimming passes – Either swimming lessons or a 10 pack pass to the nearest pool would be perfect. Swimming is great exercise and a wonderful weekend outing.

Rock Climbing – Ground Zero climbing Gym is a great option for kids and adults. It’s a huge upper body challenge and will keep you active in ways you don’t expect. Seven Bays Bouldering is more for adults but has a great cafe to eat at after you climb.

Cottage rentals – Going to a cottage as a family would be such fun. My best friend’s family goes with her in laws to a cottage every February or March. There is so much to do in the winter. We love cottages outside Windsor, close to Ski Martock. You could book something for summer too, but then you have to wait a LONG time!

Trip down South – Many friends and family book a trip instead of getting gifts for each other. It’s a big one but might be just the thing you need for some vitamin D in the winter.