10 Thoughtful Holiday Gifts the Entire Family Can Enjoy

Mark three, four or even more people off your list at once with these gifts the whole family will love.

It’s always a challenge to figure out the perfect gift for a friend or family member, but it’s even more of a puzzle when you’re trying to pick a holiday gift for the whole family.

Family gifting is becoming more common as holiday celebrations get bigger and bigger. It’s a great way to honor the holiday spirit without breaking the bank or going crazy trying to figure out gift ideas for each family member. A family gift is meant to be something that the entire family can enjoy together. And with the holiday so close, we wanted to give you some last-minute ideas that you could easily organize without ordering anything online.

1: Movie Night

A gift card for Netflix is something that the whole family can enjoy together for months. You can choose different denominations depending on how many months you’d like to gift. Pair the certificate with a basket filled with a few different types of popcorn and boxes of movie theater candy.

Gift: Netflix Gift Card, bestbuy.com
Pair With: Snack + Candy Basket

2: Socks For All

Gift a bright, colorful pair of holiday socks for everyone in the family. You can choose coordinating colors and designs so that everyone can wear them together on Christmas. Also include gourmet hot cocoa mix or a selection of holiday teas.

Gift: Tommy Hilfiger Fair Isle Socks, macys.com
Pair With: Gourmet Hot Cocoa Mix

3: Board Games

Rustic White Photography, LLC

Rustic White Photography, LLC

Choose two or three games based on the ages of the family members. Classic, go-to games that usually work well are Jenga, Pictionary, Clue, Monopoly or Scrabble. You could also try finding games at your local thrift store and bringing five to six retro board games as a gift.

Gift: Retro Board Game, target.com
Pair With: Assorted Holiday Dessert Basket (for Game Night!)

4: Mobile Printer

Though the kids might steal it away, a wireless mobile printer is a great family gift. These printers allow you to print pictures directly off your mobile phone or tablet. They’re small enough to toss in a bag, and they’re lots of fun to bring to parties (or even to break out and use on Christmas Eve!).

Gift: HP Sprocket Photo Printer, bestbuy.com
Pair With: Batteries + Photo Paper Packs

5: Shopping Membership

Another gift that will keep giving the whole year is a membership to warehouse clubs like Costco or Sam’s Club. These stores offer great discounts on bulk items, but you can’t shop there unless you’re a member. Pair the gift with a classic Costco bakery item.

Gift: Gold Star Membership, costco.com
Pair With: David’s Cookies Butter Pecan Meltaways Tin (via Costco)

6: Pizza Night

Put together the makings of a fun, homemade pizza party for the whole family. Pick up pizza dough, fresh mozzarella cheese, marinara sauce and toppings like fresh tomatoes or prosciutto. Pair it with a pizza stone or a pizza cutter. For an extra fun presentation, stop by your local pizza place and see if you can buy one of their large boxes. You can cover up their logo with a piece of paper and write your own note on top.

Gift: 13-Inch Pizza Stone, bedbathandbeyond.com
Pair With: Chef-Inspired Basket

7: Do Good

Through organizations like Global Giving, you can purchase gift cards that allow each recipient to go onto the site, choose the cause that speaks most to them and make a donation. It’s a lovely gesture and a great way to teach kids about the power of generosity and giving.

Gift: Donation Gift Card, globalgiving.org
Pair With: A Gift That Gives Back

8: Jump-Start a Vacation

Airbnb

Airbnb

The gift of travel is one of the most amazing presents you could give a family to enjoy together in the coming year. A gift certificate to home-sharing site Airbnb would be a great way to help jump-start vacation plans, allowing the family to choose any spot in the world to enjoy their time away together. If you know there’s a specific place that they would like to visit, you could even include a travel guide book for that city or country.

Gift: Airbnb Gift Card, airbnb.com
Pair With: A Fun Gift for Travel Lovers

9: Steel Fire Pit

Daniel Pratt, 2013, Scripps Networks, LLC. All Rights Reserved

Daniel Pratt, 2013, Scripps Networks, LLC. All Rights Reserved

This fire pit would be a great gift for a family that has a beautiful outdoor space to enjoy. Pair it with firewood and a s’mores kit, including marshmallows, graham crackers and chocolate bars.

Gift: Steel Fire Pit, homedepot.com
Pair With: Homemade S’mores Kit

10: Rock Band

If the family you’re buying for loves video games, then this Rock Band set is perfect. Everyone can take turns being a rock star and choosing their favorite songs. Set it up on Christmas Eve so everyone at your holiday dinner can join in on the fun.

Gift: Rock Band 4 Bundle, bestbuy.com
Pair With: Gifts for Music Lovers

 

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9 Budget-Friendly Staycation Ideas for Families

Just because you’re staying home doesn’t mean you can’t have an adventure.

Disneyland, the beach, camping, Grandma’s … just a few of the many places your kids would nominate as a vacation destination this summer. But staying home?

B-O-R-I-N-G.

So, how do you sell a staycation to your little rascals? Oh, and not spend a ton of money? Fill it with fun and adventure.

Look for activities that are simple to pull together and entertaining for all ages — bonus points for those with educational benefits.

Check out these nine kid- and budget-friendly ideas — and a few tips from a frugal mom — that will make your summer staycation just as lively and memorable as any trip.

Camp out in your backyard

Pitch a tent, pull out the camp chairs, and roll out those sleeping bags. It’s time to go camping – in your backyard! This just might be the quintessential summer staycation experience that every kid should have.

Study the local flora and fauna; practice wilderness skills; roast marshmallows over a fire pit, grill or in the microwave; tell scary stories; spot constellations in the night sky.

You’ll get all the fun of camping without the long drive or gross campsite bathrooms.

World culture day

Immerse yourself in a different culture for a day. Pick a city, country, or area of the world that fascinates you and your children.

Explore the culture by making decorations or outfits, following customs, and using typical language phrases. Make a meal from the country, play traditional games, and learn fun facts from library books or websites.

“If you live in a city or metropolitan area, you can recreate any number of cultures,” explains a Pittsburgh mom and budget blogger at Femme Frugality. Femme created a “Parisian experience” in Pittsburgh by visiting museums and cathedrals, checking out a bridge with love locks, and dining at an outdoor cafe and French restaurant — all within her hometown.

Get your chef on

Have a budding Jamie Oliver or Rachael Ray on your hands? Let your little chefs put their skills to the test with a fun “Top Chef” style competition. Introduce a mystery ingredient, work in teams, and see what you can come up with.

If competition isn’t your style, simply head to the farmer’s market or grocery store and pick out a unique ingredient and see what your family can come up with to use it in a dish.

Have a sweet tooth? Have a bake off and create your favorite cookies, cupcakes, or cake. Share the goodies with friends and neighbors, too.

Family carnival

Create your very own town fair, and bring your friends and family members in on the fun. Serve up classic carnival food like corn dogs, french fries, funnel cake, and cotton candy.

Set up DIY games like ring toss, cake walk, Plinko, corn hole, balloon darts, a fishing hole and more.

Ask guests to bring a game or food item to share the work.

Finish off the night with an outdoor movie by stringing up a sheet and using a projector.

Learn something new

Expand your horizons by learning something new. Take an online course onCraftsy.com to learn a new skill or craft; figure out how to play an outdoor game like bocce ball or croquet; practice a different language with books from the library; or hit the zoo to learn about a new animal.

Femme’s trick is checking out homeschooling blogs; they are a great resource for fun activities that also have an educational component.“Prep materials and gather ideas ahead of time to prevent the typical summer educational slide and avoid ‘I’m bored’ comments,” she advises.

Build a fort

Wrangle up all the cardboard boxes, blankets, chairs and pillows you can muster andbuild the ultimate playhouse or fort.

Construct tunnels with boxes (bonus if you can snag a large refrigerator box); create ‘rooms’ with blankets and chairs; and arm your fortress by building a pillow moat. Play princesses and knights or just snuggle up in your cozy den and watch a movie — don’t forget the popcorn.

Keep the fun going into the night: Add twinkle lights and have a sleepover in your new castle.

Cool down with water play

Hot summer day? Cool down by making your own backyard into a mini water park.

Break out the sprinkler and burn off some energy by splashing around. Fill the kiddie pool and hop in with your little ones, or wage a water balloon or squirt gun fight for an afternoon that’s guaranteed to cool you off and make you feel like a kid again.

Live in an apartment or don’t have the water gear? Head to your local splash pad or community pool. To save money, look for free or discount promotions at the pool or water park.

Find your inner Van Gogh

Arts and crafts are a great way to get those creative juices flowing, make fun memories, and create cool pieces to treasure for years to come.

Tie-dye some plain T-shirts, create your own playdough using flour and salt, make beaded bracelets, or try your hand at loom weaving.

Keep things simple by drawing with some sidewalk chalk, building a birdhouse out of Popsicle sticks, or simply getting messy with some finger paint.

Not sure where to start? Find age-appropriate crafts by checking out Pinterest or kid’s craft blogs for inspiration.

Plan a treasure or scavenger hunt

Make like a pirate and go on a treasure hunt. Set up a string of clues for your kids to follow that lead them all around the house, yard, and even the neighborhood. Make up your own clues or check online for clever rhyming ones or location ideas.

End the hunt with a fun prize, which can be anything from a chest full of faux gold doubloons, a long-desired toy or trinket, or a plate of fresh cookies or cupcakes. Add a dash of extra fun by dressing up as pirates or explorers.

Whether you have a lot of free time or a little, a chunk of change to spend or a limited budget, there are plenty of fun staycation ideas to make your summer special.

The key is getting creative, thinking like a kid, and employing the resources that you have at your fingertips. Your kids will remember the magic of experiencing little moments and everyday things with you — and not how much money you spent.

Posted by Erica Sooter on Zillow