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Moments of Inspiration

The Greatest Gift They’ll Get This Year

Headline
The Greatest Gift They’ll Get This Year

Written by
Sarah O'Neill
December 2016

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Moments together as a family make the greatest gifts. We look at 4 gift ideas and travel inspiration to enrich the time you spend together as a family.

Perhaps you’re looking for a last-minute present or stocking filler this holiday season, maybe you’ve exhausted your imagination for the next big birthday in the family, or you just might be in search of gift ideas that you can turn into an amazing travel experience.

This holiday season, we look at 4 gift ideas to enrich your family life and the time that you spend together. The focus is not on products, but ideas, and how simple gifts can bring us together as a family.

Each gift is wrapped up in a common interest or hobby that will inspire your kids, your partner and you to get creative. We’ve even included some travel inspiration for each gift idea – to keep that holiday spirit alive until your next family vacation.

1. For Your Budding Performer

Chances are, your kids will spend at least part of the holidays hunched up over the tablet, watching the latest movie release, while your savvy teen is listening to music on Spotify or I-tunes, with a pair of earphones and a faraway look, nodding to the beat.

Technology has a way of individualising our time together under one roof, locking each of us into our own personal entertainment system, like individual city states dotted around the house. Here are some gift ideas to unwrap and unleash the imaginations that we so avidly feed from our screens:

Why not fetch your kids back into family life with the gift of a music book with songs from a beloved film score or by their favourite artist? Even dedicated video gamers might be tempted to tinkle the ivories or strum their guitar with sheet music for the theme songs that vibrate through their headphones all day long...

Spark the imagination of younger kids by letting them recreate stories from the movies, or invent their own, with a mini theatre. A simple gift of dress-up clothes, or even hand or finger puppets, could be the catalyst. Spend quality time together crafting a stage, be it a cardboard box that is cut and painted into a Punch & Judy theatre, or a full-time carpentry project out in the shed. Remember that the point is spending time with your kids, not the project itself. The family time you invest will be rewarded by nights where, instead of each retreating behind your own, individual entertainment system, you gather around your mini theatre to watch your kids perform.

Travel Inspiration

Take a city break to see a musical or theatrical performance that your family will love. Whether it’s family theatre at London’s West End, kid-friendly shows on Broadway or a pantomime closer to home, inspire your budding performer with a show-stopping experience.

2. For Your Sporting Hero

Whilst the football fanatic in the family (and we don’t just mean the kids!) might be over the moon at getting their hands on the latest FIFA 17 game, chances are it won’t improve their soccer skills. Far more enriching are gifts that encourage them to practise the sport themselves, like a new set of boots, a shirt from their favourite team, a shiny new ball, or garden goals.

Perhaps it’s hard to have a kick about with your soccer star, if you haven’t been able to hold your own against them since they were 5… or maybe a match with dad is always a very one-sided affair. If so, think about gifts that equalise the playing field, so that all of you can enjoy sporting activities together as a family. What about purchasing a net that you can use for badminton or tennis in the garden, or for volleyball at the beach? Let everyone participate by playing doubles, partnering each child with an adult. Target-related games give everyone a sense of achievement and make for great fun in the garden or on holidays, like a set of lawn bowls or plastic golf clubs. Perhaps you could spend time together indoors this Christmas, and outdoors in summer, setting up a homemade mini golf course with your children?

Travel Inspiration

Plan a trip and travel to see your child or your partner’s favourite team play. This could be a daytrip to the local stadium, or a weekend break for an away match, but you could also make it a special highlight of your larger holiday plans. For example, if you’re planning a classic US road trip in 2017, why not include tickets to a basketball match or an ice hockey game?

3. For Your Ravenous and Reluctant Reader

Books, books, and more books should be on every child or teen’s pile of presents at any and every opportunity. A keystone in their education and a doorway to a world of ideas and inspiration, every child should be encouraged to read. When they’re tiny tots, choose books that you can read to them. As they get older, choose books that they can read to you. Encourage your pre-teen or teenager to read with the regular present of a good book. Comic books and illustrated magazines are the perfect alternative for those who find it hard to immerse themselves in a wall of text.

Whilst reading with young children can make for very special and intimate moments together and is a precious and rewarding gift of your time, it can be hard to enter into the literary world of older children when they’ve got themselves buried in a good book.

Be actively aware of what your family are reading and what kinds of books interest them. Have books, newspapers or magazines to read and share lying around the house. Some of our family favourites are quotable trivia books, such as “Why Don't Penguins' Feet Freeze? : And 114 Other Questions”, which give us plenty of fun facts to share. Talk with each other about what you’re reading, what you’ve just learned, or what new worlds you’ve discovered. Let your children chat to you about the characters in their books and what happens to them. It might just spark your imagination for a trip together as a family.

Travel Inspiration

Why not match up your next family vacation to your reading habits? If your teenager is buried in the Percy Jackson series, why not take them on holiday to Greece, to rediscover the ancient Greek myths where it all began. Visit Gortyn and Kommos on Crete, both possible locations for the Minotaur’s famous labyrinth, the stunning formations in the Cave of Zeus, birthplace of the king of the gods, or the iconic Mount Olympus on the eastern coast of the Greek mainland.

4. For Your Video Gamer

The games industry was valued at $99.6 billion this year, beating global box office revenue, yet whilst a cinema visit is a normal experience for most of us, the hype around video games leaves many baffled. The generations are divided into “gamers” and “non-gamers”, and for many pre-millennials, gaming is a sealed world speaking another language that we can neither access nor understand. Many parents of teenage gamers feel they have little influence or insight into what their child spends most of the day doing.

When it comes to buying games as gifts for your child or teenager, be savvy about the games they are asking for, and check their age appropriateness. If your child is asking for a lot of single player or world-building games, chances are you won’t be seeing much of them over the holidays. Shake it up with a few family-friendly multi-player and party games where you might be able to grab a controller and join them.

Chances are your teenage gamer is more interested in games that aren’t so family friendly, but it is possible to coax your gamer away from the screen. A great family gift for video game lovers are challenging, tactical board games. The rules of play are often very similar to those in their games, and they will love logic puzzles and intellectual challenges. Some family-friendly suggestions include Risk, the classic strategy board game, Dominion and Munchkin. Mage Knight consistently tops polls of board games for gamers, but prepared to read your way through a labyrinth of rules… and to be ruthlessly defeated by your teen. You may want to play in teams...

Travel Inspiration

Why not use technology to your advantage for a fun-filled outdoor adventure on your next vacation? Geocaching is a great way of exploring a region with your kids by turning it into a treasure hunt. All you need is a smartphone with the app. Enable GPS and you’re good to go.

Surprise your teenager by taking them to visit a games convention. The largest in the world is Gamescon, held in Cologne, Germany, or you could visit the Eurogamer Expo in Birmingham, UK. A great opportunity to either share, or gain more insight, into your teenager’s hobby.

Whatever family gifts you decide to give, in this festive season or on any occasion, the greatest gift for your family is you, simply being there, sharing a special moment with them. Quality moments together as a family are the greatest gift you can give to yourself, your parents, your partner, or your kids.

Which is why, the greatest gift they’ll get this year...
... is You.

Written by Sarah O'Neill

A passionate traveller, linguist and writer, Sarah has visited over 20 countries around the globe. She loves immersing herself in new cultures, learning the language, and getting to know the local people.

Would you like to be an author at Moments of Inspiration?
Do you have an original idea for a guest blog post or interest to write regularly as an author for us? Send us your article or simply contact us at:

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