With the whirlwind of the season in full swing, it’s easy to get caught up in the holiday hustle, especially when it comes to presents. Stores are open late, and you’re inundated with ads promising the perfect holiday gifts for each and every loved one.
Your budget gets stretched along with your patience. You’ve got no time to wrap, even if you could find the tape. You start wondering if it’s all just a bit too much.
You’re not alone. Plenty of families are taking a step back on holiday gift giving, replacing all those things – sweaters that need to be returned, games you only play the day they’re opened, mittens that will lose each other the first day at the playground – with special time together.
The gift of an experience is gaining popularity, where loved ones get together for a show, an event, or an activity, making memories that leave your whole family with a far more precious present.
Instead of shopping, take a drive together and look at holiday lights, check out a festival, rent an igloo (yes, an igloo), or go downtown for ice skating and treat yourself to some cocoa and cookies afterward (but remembering to clean those chompers before bedtime).
If you like model trains, head for the Gardenland Express Holiday Flower and Train Show at the Missouri Botanical Garden, a great place to get out of the sleet or snow and see trains roll over 900 feet of track through a miniature holiday wonderland made from thousands of fresh plants.
If you prefer riding the train instead, the Polar Express runs daily trips to the “North Pole” out of St. Louis’s world famous Union Station, which is celebrating its 125th birthday this year!
And those are just a few of the holiday-themed events. Why not try a museum or shows or escape rooms or even paint-your-own pottery, just to name a few possibilities? There’s truly something for everyone!
But if the thought of all these experiences sound too expensive or exhausting, don’t worry. There are plenty of experiences you can share close to home!
Build a snowman. Collaborate on a holiday meal. Pick a movie or game to share together. And if you need an extra helping of holiday cheer, watch a few videos of the penguins at the St. Louis Zoo, frolicking in the snow and ice so you don’t have to!
Whichever holidays you celebrate, do your best to make them restful and restorative by creating memories instead of clutter – and have yourself a Happy (and healthy) New Year!