Something other than toys for Christmas  

Not sure if anyone else out there is like me, but if there’s one thing my kids don’t need this year, it’s extra toys from Santa. 

They don’t need next year’s American Girl doll, they don’t need all the Hatchimals, and I will know who doesn’t like me if my kids are gifted slime.  

But it is Christmas, right? It’s the time for holiday gifting and Santa Claus and all the toys. 

This year, my younger daughter decided to take it up a notch and ask Santa for a pet bird, a pet turtle, and a pet fish. I told her Santa doesn’t fly with live animals. My older daughter, who is “in” on all things Christmas, asked if we could do an Elf on the Shelf this year. Even though she KNOWS.  

I really am not eager to have unhappy children this Christmas season, but I also don’t want to invite more pets in my house or toys until the house just explodes, so I have come up with some ideas for me – and for you – that will encourage more experiences and fewer additional toys. 

First up: Horse riding lessons. We have two (that I know of) places in the parish that offer horse riding lessons and horse riding experiences – Covenant Farms and Collins Natural Horsemanship, both in Dubach. My kids have had experience with both, and not only do they get what my elder daughter calls “fuzzy therapy,” but they also learn how to care for the animals, how to respect them and how to be responsible. 

Also, what about a membership to Champ’s Kids Club? This is such a good deal that keeps giving – to parents and to the kids. The kids get admission to all home games, a shirt, a neck lanyard and other neat goodies that can be unwrapped on Christmas morning. 

Another local idea is with Peachy Adventures (@peachyadventures318 on Instagram). This is a newer local business, and it’s adorable. Laura and Ryan set up indoor or outdoor tents that are perfect for any lounging, snoozing, or partying. Even I, who am not a fan of camping, would camp in one of these tents! 

Lastly, and this is not local, but I’m a little proud of finding it: animal tracking. Remember what my little girl wanted for Christmas? Well, I got her a sea turtle – sort of. I ordered bracelets from Fahlo that will allow us to track a sea turtle as it travels through the ocean. The bracelet will come with a card that has a picture of a sea turtle (possibly our sea turtle, not sure) and a story about the sea turtle, and I purchased a stuffed sea turtle as well so she can snuggle with it at night. I can’t fully recommend this, as I am not familiar with this company, but there are several others online, and I am super excited about this Christmas surprise. 

Here’s hoping your Christmas shopping is merry, fun, and bright!