Experience Gifts for Children Who Are Blind or Visually Impaired Celebrating Christmas, Hanukkah, or Kwanzaa

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Young girl smiling, wearing protective snow goggles on a ski slope

“This Christmas,” my parents told me when I was twelve “we are going on a family trip instead of buying presents. Here’s why: Do you remember what we bought you last year? No? Well, you never forget an experience.”

They were right. I never forgot that trip; we drove from our home in Raleigh to a cabin-inspired hotel in the North Carolina mountains for the weekend. It was my first time playing in the snow and it was marvelous.

And so began a new tradition where we had a small gift to open on Christmas, but the highlight was the forging of a memory. To my parents, thank you for that quality time.

Experience gifts. I can think of several reasons why they may be an ideal present for your child this year.

First, they typically require quality time. Time engaged in an appealing activity with parents, grandparents, an aunt, or an uncle is valuable and is the currency of love to a child.

Second, children with visual impairments learn through experiences. The first-hand experience of playing in snow for the first time, for instance, will teach your child the concept of snow.

Third, many children (though certainly not all) already have an excess of toys. Your home will be less cluttered and your family can appreciate time over “stuff”.

Would you help me come up with experience gift ideas? Here are my suggestions:

  • With usual hectic schedules, the greatest gift may be a short retreat from your high-pressure or fast-paced routine. A hotel in a nearby or faraway city may provide laughter in the heated pool, discovering a new restaurant and park, and a lovely evening walk.
  • Consider a family friendly movie in theater with audio description headphones.
  • Consider a trip to a theme park. Here in San Antonio, we have Morgan's Wonderland, a theme park designed for families with special needs “where everyone can play”.
  • Perhaps your older daughter would enjoy a manicure and pedicure, or even a make-up lesson.
  • Think about any professional lessons your child could participate in for the next year: piano, horseback riding, gymnastics, art, acting, martial arts, computer coding, or voice lessons. Read about the benefits of hobbies for children who are blind or visually impaired and consider a gift certificate to a year of hobby lessons.
  • How about a coupon book filled with “dates” with you throughout the year? Your first date could be a trip to a toy store where your child can choose a gift within a certain budget. Read blogger Emily Coleman’s experience with her son, Eddie.
  • Create a project together that would interest your child. For example, an invitation to build a treehouse in the backyard; wrap a piece of lumber.
  • Purchase tickets to a hands-on museum, a petting zoo, a concert, or a play.
  • Consider a weekly “mommy and me” gym class with your toddler.
  • What about memberships for a rock gym, a trampoline park, or an indoor pool?

Most importantly, think about the interests of your child. What would she potentially find engaging, interesting, or exciting?

Make it fun. Make a memory.

[Read these 5 Tips for Preparing to Take Your Child Who is Blind Someplace New before your experience.]

Topics:
Holidays
Social Life and Recreation
Personal Reflections
Sports
Arts and Leisure
There are currently 4 comments

Re: Experience Gifts for Children Who Are Blind or Visually Impaired Celebrating Christmas, Hanukkah, or Kwanzaa



We did this 6 years ago. We left on Christmas Eve after Lou and I finished our respective church services and drove until 2AM. What a beautiful Christmas Eve we had. No traffic. We were in our Motor Home and parked in a Truck Stop. Next morning when we were getting breakfast and ready to leave, a bunch of truckers showed up with gifts for the children. We drove through to florida in the next two days. We will always remember that trip and the gracious souls who played Santa. You see, we told the children 4, 4, 8, and 13 that Santa was gonna take a few days to catch up to us because we would be traveling. He surely did! Trips are always fun, even the tough stuff becomes laughable in memory!


Re: Experience Gifts for Children Who Are Blind or Visually Impaired Celebrating Christmas, Hanukkah, or Kwanzaa



That sounds like an absolute blast! My husband and I keep discussing wanting to rent an RV for a special memory/ trip. Thanks for sharing.


Re: Experience Gifts for Children Who Are Blind or Visually Impaired Celebrating Christmas, Hanukkah, or Kwanzaa



Get a class C or Motor home, not a pull behind. In the pull behind, everyone is in the car/truck and no bathroom or place to get drinks etc. In the motor home everything is a few steps and the only time you need a potty break is when the driver needs one. No roadside eeeuuuwww bathrooms or porta potty. Tired, pull into a truck stop for sleep. No schedule needed. Sooo much fun!


Re: Experience Gifts for Children Who Are Blind or Visually Impaired Celebrating Christmas, Hanukkah, or Kwanzaa



Now that's an experience gift! Unforgettable for sure.


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