If you’re sick of stepping on stray Legos and listening to Elmo sing that holiday song for the millionth time, you might need a break from the more material aspects of holiday gift giving. Chances are, your fellow parent friends do too.

Preserve everyone’s sanity this year and deflate accumulation syndrome by giving these five treat experiences instead of stuff. The best part? No wrapping required — and these are gifts you can get last-minute!

For Smarties
An annual membership to a local children’s museum — or science or art museum if kids are a bit older — provides hours of entertainment for the whole family, as well as valuable educational opportunities. Ditto for zoo and aquarium memberships.

For Culture Vultures
Theater, dance, or performing arts tickets can provide a lovely night out. Go the extra mile (and make it truly hassle-free) by springing for babysitting.

For Jocks
Skiers on your list will appreciate a snow day without all the planning when you gift them with lift tickets and lessons for the wee ones. Don’t live near snow? Roller-skating, bowling, or renting beach cruisers for a few hours can also do the trick.

For Culinary Types
Cooking or canning classes provide the chance to learn something practical and have something to show for it. You’ll recoup the investment when your friend invites you over to show off her newfound culinary skills.

BGE, i.e. “Best Gift Ever”
Looking to cement your best friend status? Give your friend a gift that mere money can’t buy: Offer to watch her kids for the evening, or supersize it to overnight. It won’t cost you much and is sure to provide a memorable, relaxing experience.



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