“And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.” Hebrews 13:16
As the holidays approach, I am once again trying to reconcile the budget with the gifts that I need (want) to give. With ten children, twelve grandchildren, and one great grandchild, it is staggering to consider what we could spend if we aren’t careful in our planning. When we add in the angel tree at our church, our Compassion International child Marta, parents, friends, Christmas cards, you get the picture……
On a recent blog post somewhere (I apologize that I can’t remember where I saw it or who wrote it) someone posted a fantastic idea for holiday giving to family members, especially grandchildren. Memberships! Zoo memberships, Aquarium memberships, Sams Club (or Costco or BJ’s) memberships. The list of options is endless.
What a grand idea. Instead of trying to figure out which gift card to give which teenager, what toy to give the toddlers, and what dust collecting nick-knack to give our parents, we can give something of value that everyone can benefit from.
When I started researching family memberships I was shocked at how inexpensive they were compared to how much I usually spent total on everyone. I have compiled a list of various organizations that should kick start your gift giving ideas!
- The Association of Zoos & Aquariums This is a great gift for those who live within driving distance of a zoo or aquarium. Even better is the reciprocity agreement that many of them have with each other so they can be used while on vacation as well. For example the North Carolina Zoo in Asheboro, NC is $158 for an entire family plus one guest. That’s for unlimited visits! And…..bonus….you also get to visit the NC Aquariums for free as well! How cool is that!
- Sam’s Club A whopping $45 for a one year membership.
- Costco Also inexpensive at $55 for a one year membership
- Six Flags Atlanta Live near Georgia? Have 4 or more people you can buy for? Purchase 4+ season passes right now for the 2015 season for the staggeringly low price of $49.99 each and get the rest of this year free PLUS a free upgrade to Gold status which includes free admission to ALL the Six Flags parks and even better, FREE PARKING!!! I didn’t research the other Six Flag parks but I am sure they are running equally good deals. Let me say that if you by this for your grandchildren you will be THE coolest grandparent ever….hands down. (And you can include their parents in the deal as well!) NOTE!!!! To get the gold status for free you have to purchase it and activate it by Sunday November 2, 2014. If you can’t do that, it’s still a great deal at $50 for a season pass.
- Sea World Live in Texas, Florida, or Southern California? A season pass to the home of Shamu is available for the great price of $100 per person for the entire year.
- AAA Worried about your parents, your teen driver, your dear friend who travels alone? What a great gift for peace of mind. Prices range from $59 to $159 depending on the level you need. Tire changes, reliable towing, accident insurance, jump starts, gas, maps, travel tips, and more come with the membership.
- Children’s Museums Many cities have children’s museums. Most have memberships under $100 per family. Most have reciprocal agreements with other museums.
- Friends of The Smithsonian Love the DC area museums? While they are free to visit, there are some cool benefits to being a friend of the museum. A monthly magazine, a discount in the gift shops, invitations to events, and the list goes on. They even have a special reception area you can visit while there.
- Magazine subscriptions. The list is endless. Google the topic your teenager loves and you will find a magazine for it. Some great examples are the Shine and Sparkle Magazines from the GEMS Club, MICI Magazine from my friends down under, Clubhouse Magazine from Focus On The Family, and an endless array of science, nature, sports, etc for kids, teens, and adults.
Sweetheart and I have decided we are so over the toy giving. Christmas is a celebration of life, a time of giving of self, a time for connection. What better way to do that than with gifts that let the whole family benefit or gifts that make someone’s life easier/safer. I am on the hunt for more Christmas ideas so let me know if you have any great ideas!
Thanks for being on this journey with me. Blessings,