Amazing Gift Ideas for Your Adult Children

Buying gifts for young children is easy.  They are always into so many things:  movies, Barbies, lego, toy cars, squirt guns, crafty things, clothes, games, etc..  And at that point, they haven’t reached the stage in their life when they’re picky about their gifts, so they’re pretty much happy with whatever they get. Ok, maybe not that stale tin of butter cookies from their weird Aunt with all the cats, but you get the idea.  They could be content playing with a stick and a piece of string for hours.

Buying gifts for older kids is not as easy.  It even gets more difficult when they move away for school and you really lose touch with what they’re into or listening to or wearing.  But some gifts defy age and will make kids of all ages thrilled.  The gifts of adventure and experiences!

My kids have always been adventurers.  We instilled that in them from an early age when we would always take them camping or on surprise  adventures.

On more than one occasion, the kids would come home from school and my (then) husband and I would tell them to get in the car and ask no questions.  They would start squealing with excitement, not asking any questions to spoil any surprizes.

We would end up taking them to a concert or on a camping trip to Florida.  One morning, my ex and I called their schools and told them the kids would not be attending that day.  After the kids had had their breakfast and got dressed, we told them to get into the car and buckle up for our adventure.  We took them to the Ontario Science Centre for the day.  They LOVED that S#&T!!!

So now my kids are older.  Two are finishing up University, and one is married with a job and a house.  They don’t live at home and they have money to buy their own stuff.  It was getting more and more difficult to buy for them.  (I know.  Most of you are probably saying by this point, “So stop buying them gifts.  They’re old enough to not get gifts anymore.”  I know and you’re probably right, but that just isn’t how I fly my ship.  So let me finish!)

Then it hit me….buy them adventures!  Memories!  Experiences!  What an amazing idea, if I do say so myself!!

So, the kids know what type of gifts to expect from me now, and they get so excited.  This past Christmas, I sat all 4 of them down (my son’s wife is included as one of my children, of course) on the couch, handed them all a small Christmas bag, and said, “Now open this all at the same time”.  They were literally squealing and wriggling with anticipation.

The 2 girls ripped into their gifts and had to wait for the 2 boys to catch up.  When they finally opened the gift certificate envelopes (that were all neatly tied around a small mickey bottle of their favourite alcohol.  Is that wrong??!!), they were amazed!

I bought gift certificates for all of them to go gliding!  They will be up in the air for about 30 minutes, and the instructor will teach them how to control the glider for most of their trip. I will be there on the ground taking pictures of the event.  Can’t wait!!

Update:  We just all went gliding last week.  What an amazing adventure!!!  We have so many fantastic pictures and videos of the event.  They were all sooooo thrilled.  It will be a memory they will never forget.

Last year, I sent 3 of them zip-lining for the day across a near-by gorge while my daughter and I went to see the live production of her favourite musical, Sweeney Todd.

I have also sent them on adventurous canoe rides.  We have a beautiful, large and very long river near us.  A company will drive participants and the rented canoe up-stream and let you gently flow down-stream over the next couple of hours back to their base along the river.  A beautiful and serene ride.


I’ve also gifted one of my boys a hot-air balloon ride for two.  He chose to take me over his girlfriend.  I was pretty choked up.  It was a gorgeous journey.  Unfortunately, all my pictures died with my phone that went for a swim in a lake last Fall.  But that’s another story.

I feel that these are gifts that create memories and that’s what is most important.

When older people are interviewed and are asked about their lives, they don’t talk about their job or the money in their bank accounts, they talk about the great memories and experiences they had and about all the adventures they didn’t take but wish they had.

That’s what makes up the happy times. That’s what is ultimately important to everyone.  And we all need as much of that as we can get.

I guarantee there are adventures/experiences you can purchase for your adult children that are within an hour or so of your home.  Horseback riding, go carting, renting a pool or a rink for a bunch of their friends, skydiving, rock climbing, even just renting some bikes or scooters or snowmobiles or jet skis for a couple hours so they can go on an unforgettable ride.  It doesn’t have to cost a lot of money.

How about admission for their family to the local zoo or the local conservation area or a cool museum?  What about renting their family a cabin in the woods for a weekend?

Tell them to play hooky from work, take the kids out of school, and just go!  Have a blast!  Regret nothing!!

Make some great, unforgettable memories.  Because in the end, that’s what is most precious!!


Kathleen Bolton

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