Alternative Gift Ideas (Experiences over Plastic!)
This year more than ever, we have all learned to value life’s experiences over ‘material stuff’. When you can’t have those experiences, you really miss the opportunity to make new memories with your loved ones. So how about buying friends and family these alternative gifts for Christmas? It’s also a great way to support our local businesses.
A Family Pass
A family ticket or annual pass to a favourite attraction always goes down well and it gives families something to put on their 2021 calendar! We all like a day out to look forward too.
A Freedom of the Line ticket for the Severn Valley Railway makes a lovely gift; combine it with a day out at Arley Arboretum. National Trust membership is a valuable present, as it can be used all year round and across all the UK.
If you have a little ‘monkey’ in your family, how about buying them a Go Ape voucher where they can swing in the trees at Wyre Forest?
Or enjoy unlimited access to woodland walks and trails at the Wyre Forest with annual membership from £35.
For a unique gift, that helps support the animals too, West Midland Safari Park offer VIP Experiences like a Junior Keeper for the Day, or the chance to feed the Lions or Cheetahs!
Dudley Zoo offers a special opportunity to work with some of the rarest and most endangered animals in the world, with their child or adult Zoo Keeper Experiences. Plus you can be assured that the money spent goes towards conservation of the animals. Alternatively you could purchase one of their Close Encounter vouchers where visitors can get behind the scenes to feed the animals.
Wild Zoological Park offers a 20 minute mini VIP experience for £30 which would suit younger children.
If you have a little ‘monkey’ in your family, how about buying them a Go Ape voucher where they can swing in the trees at Wyre Forest!
The Forestry Commission offer membership for the Wyre Forest itself from £35 - enjoy unlimited access to woodland walks and trails all year round.
Sponsor an Animal
Dudley Zoos’ Adopt an Animal package supports vital conservation work, plus the recipient also gets a day pass to the zoo to see their adopted animal!
Have a look at the shop section of the Wild Zoological Park’s website – there are lots of gift ideas here, all helping to support the great conservation work they do at the park. How about adopting Megan the python for £20?
Wolverley Animal Centre give you the chance to cuddle a meerkat. What child wouldn't love that!
For Christmas, you could treat a loved one to Afternoon Tea at Whitlenge Gardens ? Or enjoy a Sunday roast at the lakeside restaurant at Bodenham Arboretum? If you’re a decent cook, how about preparing a meal/dinner party for family – there are plenty of baking and recipe suggestions on our website.
Grandparents often struggle to know what to buy youngsters these days, but they relish helping out the family. How about purchasing lessons for a club that the child has always wanted join, or a hobby they have always wanted to try? For example, if a child is hoping for a new instrument for Christmas, you could them buy a voucher for music lessons with Load Street Studios in Bewdley or C Sharp in Stourbridge. Alternatively, how about paying for drama, dance, martial arts or swimming lessons? If you’re looking for ideas, see the Clubs section of the Raring2go! website which is full of local information on what’s available.
At Load Street Studios in Bewdley, for £36 a family can record a Christmas Carol of their choice and a spoken greeting. The digital MP3 can then be sent to all of their friends and family by email, WhatsApp or messenger. A Christmas message with a difference!
Home-made Christmas cards from children are always treasured and, for inspiration, we’ve loaded lots of craft ideas on to the Kids Zone on the Raring2go! website.
Or buy a beautiful home-crafted outfit for a child close to your heart, from Stourbridge based Bodhi & Rose. With colourful fabrics they create original designs for babies and toddlers. They are giving Raring2go! readers 10% off with this voucher!
As we know, theatres and concert venues have really struggled this year, with many live performances postponed until 2021. You would support these venues, and give families something to look forward to by purchasing vouchers for Christmas. Why not treat your loved ones, family and friends to the gift of live entertainment? Experience the unique atmosphere of a live show at Dudley Borough Halls (Stourbridge Town Hall or Dudley Town Hall). See what's on at www.boroughhalls.co.uk or consider purchasing vouchers for loved ones.
The REP theatre in Birmingham offers you the chance to have your name on seat in the theatre for a small fee. Join the likes of Julie Walters, Lenny Henry and Joanna Lumley who have already taken their seats!
In the season of goodwill, a nice idea would be to make a donation to a loved one's favourite charity. Charities have lost out on so many fundraising opportunities this year, and so are in need of our support. Many are developing new, creative ways to raise money in the absence of face to face events. How about buying a friend the Black Country version of Monopoly, sold by Mary Stevens Hospice?
If you have any more ideas for alternative gifts, let me know and I'll add them to the list!
Editor of Raring2go! Kidderminster & Stourbridge since 2008. Local font of knowledge. Mother of two and wife of one.