A Holiday Gift Guide to Create Memories and Limit Clutter
Intro by Meghan Seipp:
I don't know about you, but sometimes the thought of another gift giving season sends me into a tailspin. When I think of the unnecessary stuff my 3 kids acquire and the amount of time it takes for it all to get put away, I cringe. I cringe even more when I realize I've run out of places to put everything. As every year passes, the desire to show my children how to make the holidays just as bright without all the material things gets stronger. Whether you need ideas for yourself, Santa or your mother-in-law, this gift guide was born as a way to simplify our lives and create a low-stress holiday for moms with kids of all ages. We wanted to highlight different categories focusing mostly on experiential gifts, local businesses, enrichment activities and giving back to those who need it most.
The pandmic has complicated the search for gift-worthy and kid-friendly experiences, however, we think we've found some good ones! Before purchasing a gift or schleping the kids out of the house, check places for covid protocols, mask requirements and refundability. Most of them should be very accomodating and we hope your gift will also contribute to them keeping their lights on in 2022.
Local Experiencial Memberships and Attractions:
Maryland Zoo in Baltimore - I've given and received this as a gift several times and it's always a winner!
The Maryland Science Center (still on Groupon!)
Reginald F. Lewis Museum of Maryland African American History & Culture
Not-quite-as-local Experiences & Attractions
National State Park Passes
A train ride to a city they've never been to (some of our fave destinations not far from Baltimore are DC, Philly & NYC)
Passes to Great Wolf Lodge
Longwood Gardens - beautiful to visit anytime of year!
Dutch Wonderland - the perfect amusement park for toddlers and big kids alike!
Hershey attractions - Hershey Park, Chocolate World, ZooAmerica, Hershey Gardens, The Hershey Story Museum, to name a few. Or if you want to be super indulgent and experience several stops during a visit, possibly look into gifting a stay at the Hershey Lodge.
Tickets to the Capital Wheel. Similar to Hershey, if you'd like to make it a whole day excursion or an overnight out of it, National Harbor has lots of family friendly activities to check out year-round!
Ski lessons/lift passes at Wisp Resort. Take a ride on a snow tube or the mountain coaster while you're there!
Book a farm stay
Give an Airbnb gift card for a future family vacation
Book a winter (or summer) stay at the Hyatt Regency Chesapeake Bay Resort and check out the Harriet Tubman Museum & Education Center too!
Subscription to Little Passports
Raddish Kids Cooking Club
Kiwi Crate subscription
Try a CrateJoy kids subscription box
Bravery Magazine - a quarterly print publication for kids that features a brave woman in each issue
Learn another language here!
Play kit subscription for the littlest ones
Kids podcast subscription
Swim Lessons + bathing suit (check out Goldfish Swim or ACAC)
Ballet classes + tutu and slippers - a couple local suggestions are the Mid Atlantic Youth Ballet and The Moving Company
Gymnastics classes at Rebounders + leotard
Payment for summer camp or a virtual camp they want to attend
Horseback riding lessons
A fun option for active, older kids - schedule a sneaker fitting together and pick a race to sign up for! Charm City Run has lots of locations and race options to choose from.
Ice Skating - several of the local outdoor rinks are open through January and offer season passes, including the Inner Harbor Ice Rink and Ice Skating on the Avenue at White Marsh.
Mommy + me movement classes at My Gym
Full session for a sport and/or gear (football, lacrosse, soccer, etc.)
Martial Arts classes
Indoor Climbing Gym - we recommend Earth Treks!
Movie passes to local theatre or book your own private watch party
Family Game night bundle like this one
Giftcard to restaurant or takeout for the whole family
Streaming services for a year—we love Disney+
Tickets + gear for favorite sports teams - our pick is the Orioles Kids Cheer Free Program (formerly Dugout Club)
Camping gear for a weekend get-a-away...how cute are these LL Bean sleeping bags?!
Speaking of camping, a s'mores kit would be a fun addition to a camping excursion or even just a backyard firepit
I scream, you scream...we all scream for ICECREAM! Two of our local fave spots with multiple locations, kid-fun events and giftcard options are The Charmery and Prigel Creamery.
Tickets to Disney on Ice
Miniature Golf adventure at Monster Mini Golf
Bowling gift card - there are lots of local bowling alleys to choose from including duckpin at Stoneleigh Lanes
Build A Bear day date
Ahoy matey! Book an adventure with Urban Pirates (gift cards also available)
Bengies Drive-In Movie experience (make sure to check that it's a kid-friendly movie showing)
Roller Skating at Sportsman's Hall
Take a cruise on the Baltimore Water Taxi - seasonal passes for both visitors and locals are available as well as private charter reservations
Trip to a local bookstore to pick out new books, like the Ivy Bookstore
Art Kit from a local mom-owned company, Tiny Easel
Painting/Art Classes - check out these local spots: Social Studio & The Painting Workshop
Amazing Glaze - paint your own pottery
McFadden Art Glass - custom glass blowing studio
Materials to build a terrarium
Year/partial year tuition for school
Donation to college fund
Tickets to a kid-friendly performance at The Lyric or Hippodrome
Mommy + me music classes
Musical instrument + lessons from School of Rock
Family concert at the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra
Adopt an endangered species/animal
Save and track a sea turtle here
Donate to an animal shelter in a child’s name - Maryland SPCA or BARCS are great options
Adopt a family in need for Christmas - provide gifts, wrapping supplies, grocery store gift card, etc.
Gift for any charity - be sure to let your kiddo(s) decide where to give
Angel Tree - our fave location to grab a wishlist is at The Shops at Kenilworth. To make more of an impact, take your child(ren) with you on the shopping trip so they can pick out the items to give
Arrange a neighborhood canned food drive and donate to the Maryland Food Bank
Assistance Center of Towson Churches is always looking for volunteers/donations - have the kids get involved too!
Donate and volunteer with ShareBaby. Have your kids clean our their closets to donate unused clothing and gear. Then schedule a private volunteer session with them (or make it more fun with a group of friends!)
Sponsor a child's summer camp by donating to Genesee Valley Outdoor Learning Center
However you decide to "gift" this holiday season, our wish is that 2022 brings you lots of love and less clutter!