Experiences Over Things | 2019 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 more 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.  


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.  Memberships are always at the top of our lists for holiday gift ideas. New to Columbus this year is LEGOLAND Discovery Center at Easton and don’t tell my kids but they are getting this membership and a few others for Christmas this year.

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 2018 and throughout 2019 that are perfect for family memories.  

  1. Pete The Cat will be at the Children's Theatre January 17 - February 3, 2019 and Marry Poppins will be there May 17-19, 2019. 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 2019 like Tuck Everlasting.

  2. Tickets to see a show from CATCO is Kids. This is another great option for the young kiddos. Shows like BABE, The Sheep Pig, Seussical Kids, Madagascar a Musical Adventure Jr, and more.. 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: Amazon 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 30th 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 presents Frozen will be in Columbus April 18-April 21, 2019. We are huge fans of the Disney on Ice shows and will definitely be there for Frozen. Will we see you there?

  7. Sesame Street Live! Make Your Magic is coming to the Schottenstein Center on April 3, 2019 and tickets go on sale on December 18, 2018 at 10am EST. My two year old loves Elmo and this show looks so fun!

  8. Cirque du Soleil Crystal is coming to Nationwide Arena on January 23 - January 27, 2019. We took our kids to a different Cirque du Soleil a few years ago and they really enjoyed it.

  9. DANIEL TIGER is coming to Columbus!! Seriously, this is my favorite cartoon for my kids. It’s really a good one. You can catch Daniel and the gang live on April 28, 2019 at Palace Theatre at 4pm.

  10. A gift card for bowling and laser tag at Ten Pin Alley! We are OBSESSED with Ten Pin and my kids are always asking to go play there so getting a gift card for the holidays is perfect.

  11. Skating passes to The Chiller Ice Rink - we love doing this while my husband has some time off around the holidays and then again all year round.

  12. Tickets to go Tubing at Mad River Mountain. A few quick things to know about snow tubing - there are no minimum/maximum age requirements at Avalanche Tubing Park, only one person can ride in a tube but you can be linked together with other tubes by each holding on to the other tube. Wear layers for this fun, seasonal, activity.


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. 

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

experiences columbus ohio
Eryn Gilson1 Comment