Experiences Over Things | 2016 Holiday Gift Guide | 614 Mom

My husband and I are big believers in experiences over things when it comes to gifts for our kids.  Don't get me wrong - we are not against toys, we just try to make smart choices when it comes to toys and then use the rest of the budget for fun experiences.  We will happily spend more to make this a reality.  Instead of that $14, cheaply made, random toy from Target we will spend over $50 on tickets to a play or a membership to a local museum.  This isn't because we think toys are evil or that our kids shouldn't have them, but because we want our kids to understand the value in making memories with their loved ones over material items.  We of course still buy them toys and with the exception of that bunny rabbit our daughter asked for one time, have made all of their big wishes come true.  However you won't catch me buying a cheap plastic toy - ever.  Instead I want to create those memories. I've done a lot of research on different fun experiences happening in Columbus over the next few months, that would be perfect for our kids, and I'm sharing it all below.  I hope it helps inspire you to find something fun to experience with your family.  

GIVEAWAY!!! Head to our Facebook page to enter to win FOUR tickets to Disney On Ice on January 25! Giveaway ends December 18th.  


We are so lucky in Columbus, to have some amazing museums in our backyard.  My husband and I definitely take advantage of those because it opens the door for so many fun memories at a pretty low cost.  Franklin Park Conservatory is a huge family favorite, we also really love The Columbus Zoo & The Wilds, The Columbus Museum of Art, Ohio Historical Society, and my kids have been obsessed with COSI since they were infants.  Depending on the place and level of membership you're looking at, the price may seem a bit high, but remember they come with a lot of perks - like unlimited admission, free or discounted parking, special member only events, and discounts.  


Now my personal favorite memories to give my kids (or anyone, really) are the ones that are once in a lifetime (or once a year) memories.  Tickets to The Nutcracker, or taking my son to see an OSU basketball game.  Those aren't things we do on a weekly basis so when the kids open those, they get really excited.  The excitement builds up from the time they open the gift until the day of the event.  Their happiness is so contagious and I just love getting to experience these memories with them.  Below are some events coming to Columbus at the end of 2016 and throughout 2017 that are perfect for family memories.  

  1. Snow White will be at the Children's Theatre January 12-22 and Charlotte's Web will be there February 2-12.  These are perfect because they are short plays, a great introduction to theater and so much fun! The tickets are also very affordable,  They have more shows in 2017 like CRASH and James in the Giant Peach - they are a little further out though so it may be a lot to ask your kids to wait until May for their Christmas gift - but hey there's always birthdays or season tickets ;-)
  2. Tickets to see a show from CATCO is Kids.  This is another great option for the young kiddos.  Shows like Goldilocks and the Three Bears, James and The Giant Peach, and Anne of Green Gables.  Generally tickets are $15 for adults and $10 for children.  
  3. Tickets to an OSU game - basketball, hockey, football, depending on the level of interest of your kiddos. My son loves all things Buckeye so we are planning on getting him OSU basketball tickets for Christmas.  
  4. Bundle up and head to Nationwide Arena for a Blue Jackets Game.  Make a night of it by heading down a little early and grabbing dinner at Nada, Boston's, or Buca.  (Note: Target sells youth Blue Jackets replica jerseys that would make attending the game even more fun for your kiddo)
  5. Harlem Globetrotters will be in Columbus on December 29th and make a perfect stocking stuffer.  You can even get tickets to go out on the court with the stars themselves.  Seriously considering this one for our kids.  Has anyone been? I'd love your thoughts. I haven't been since I was a kid. 
  6. Disney On Ice - Dream Big will be in Columbus January 25-29.  Opening night tickets are only $15 (plus ticketmaster fees) 
  7. Odd Squad a PBS favorite is headed to the Ohio Theatre on March 11 for two shows. 
  8. Disney's The Little Mermaid will be at the Ohio Theatre from January 31- February 5.  We are getting tickets for our little girl for this one.  She LOVES the theater more than anything and Ariel is her favorite princess.  I'm crossing my fingers I don't got into labor early so I get to go with her instead of sending my husband. 
  9. In February the BalletMet is presenting Peter Pan.  This is sure to be beautiful performance and with tickets starting at $29 (plus ticketmaster fees) it's an affordable experience. 
  10. I can't forget...Stomp is headed to the Palace Theatre March 10 - 12 and you will definitely see my family there.  Broadway of Columbus explains it as great for all ages and I am very excited to experience this with my kids.  

We want to create memories in our home as well, so we've thought a lot about the best toys to purchase that will allow us to create memories together as a family. 

  • Legos
  • Magna-Tiles 
  • Art Supplies
  • Board Games - Monopoly Jr., Jenga, Connect 4, and Uno are some of our favorites

Do you have anything you'd add to this list?  I'd love to hear! Leave your suggestions in the comments below.  :-)