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Reader Tip: Our family’s frugal experience Christmas gift

Laura from Ten Things Farm emailed in the following tip:

My husband and I decided that we wanted to give our daughter an “experience” gift rather than another toy for Christmas this year. (We know the grandparents will make sure there are several toys under the tree!)

I stay home full time and my husband’s job is not high paying. Add to that, they’ve cut everyone’s hours by 25% this entire year, so we are being careful with our budgets.

There is a museum of natural history in a nearby town that has an extraordinary dinosaur exhibit, and our daughter loves dinosaurs. I went to the museum’s website and checked the schedule of upcoming free admission days.

I used my printer to create “tickets” for the three of us to go to the museum on one of the free days. We’re planning to pack a picnic lunch (the museum is adjacent to a lovely park, but also has an indoor dining area where you’re allowed to bring in food) and we will be sure to take our camera and take lots of photos to remember a fun Christmas present! -Laura from Ten Thing Farm

photo via Bigstock

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  • Mel says:

    You don’t say how old your daughter is, but I know getting a disposable camera for a time like this is really cool for a child. Or maybe wait for a few times from going, the museum isnt as exciting bc she’s been there a few times. It adds an entire different aspect to the experience.

  • Emily says:

    Are you in Pittsburgh? Is that the Carnegie museum of natural history? If so, we took our kids there on Black Friday… was awesome.

    • That’s a stock photo that Crystal used…the museum we’ll be at is in Denver. 🙂

      • Emily says:

        Oh, I see. Well, enjoy your day. I hope you have a great time.

      • Cris says:

        I LOVE LOVE LOVE the Denver Museum of Nature and Science!! I went there 2x in 2001 (for free also) while I was an intern at the Denver Zoo. It has so many exhibit halls, one day was not enough for me! I definetely remember the dinousaur area, hope the giant sloth is still there!! The gems were amazing and I saw several from my country! Best in my opininion is still the animals! Recommended to anyone who is/ goes to Denver. I can only imagine it’s even better 11 years later.

        • ann says:

          We were at that museum last year. LOVED IT. you will spend all day there. I like the idea of giving her an inexpensive disposable camera for the outing

  • Kristie says:

    What a priceless gift to give a child!!! I just want to chime in here and remind folks to check with their libraries as many are offering museum passes to “check out” that allow you to visit for free. I know most of the county libraries in NJ offer them. Many of the passes cover very large families and can be used for a discount in the gift shop as well!

  • Kendra says:

    Love the idea of printing “tickets”. Kids like something tangible to hold onto prior to the event. I printed Polar Express tickets and we had a popcorn, icecream movie party with them tonight.

  • That’s a great idea and one my kids would probably love! We are all getting too caught up in the “gift” aspect of it and not the true meaning!

  • Marcia Hewitt says:

    Yikes! I am turning our family Christmas into a Christmas of Yore (courtesy of old family photos, treasured memories and those new-fangled computers, scanners & printers. I’ve been able to create some fun things but due to the cost of the cartridges, have sent most of it out to Snapfish when I would have done it myself. Question — has anyone run into a source for a great deal on HP Photosmart C4280 All-in-One using the HP74/75 Inkjet Print Cartridges? I would be grateful for any help! Thank you.

  • Amie says:

    That is such a fun idea. This summer, we participated in our library’s summer reading program and were able to get free tickets to a museum for the kids. I was able to combine it with another coupon and get adult tickets for half off. I paid $10 for all four of us. They also had a picnic area and we packed our lunch. There are so many good ways to save. I just took my sons to Calloway Gardens for their Fantasy in Lights. The tickets cost about $50. The whole family was sick with colds the week prior and I didn’t do my usual shopping and food packing. We ended up spending more money on food than the tickets, and honestly, the food wasn’t that good. I saw families tailgating with their lunches and having a great time. I wish I’d thought ahead this time.

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