We don’t do the big pile of gifts under the Christmas tree now that the kids are older. Mostly everything they want is SO expensive that they get their big ticket item and a handful of smaller, cheaper things. My daughter is angling after a new iPad and I know my son wants some very expensive Lego. How expensive does Lego get? The Lego Creator Big Ben is an eye-watering price at almost £200. For plastic bricks(!) In order for our family Christmas gift unwrapping to not be over in minutes, we usually have small gifts that are either at the base of the tree or stocking stuffers.
Here are my small gift ideas for Christmas for the travellers in your life. Although these awesome Christmas gifts may be small in size, they prove that great things can come in small packages.
We love taking small games with us on vacation. We play a game of something while we have after-dinner drinks and the kids have a mocktail.
For games with younger children, I love these intelligent variations on Bingo. Usually a game of Bingo feels like a self-inflicted lobotomy procedure. In these new versions though, you have assorted bingo games like Dog Bingo, Cat Bingo, Bird Bingo etc. Even pre-reading children can participate and learn at the same time.
Bananagrams is a fast and easy word game where you race to finish up the word tiles you are given. Unlike Scrabble, it requires no board and is much smaller and portable.
Another firm favourite in our family is Zip-It (from the makers of Bananagrams) where you race to create words from alphabet-covered dice in teams of two. This game has kept my two children occupied for hours on a plane.
For adults, after dinner we have the Purple Donkey pocket version of poker in a tin box. Who are we kidding? Our kids have played it too, but with pennies. If they are going to get fleeced, we might as well teach them how to not cry about it.
We love the Games Room games by Ridleys Games. It’s like trivial pursuit or other famous games only in a small box – with different options for general knowledge, music, movies, charades etc.
After my kids displayed their abysmal knowledge of classic Hollywood films like The Godfather, I am determined to bring their movie knowledge up to par. I’m loving the Movie Memory Game in helping us to do so.
A little mindfulness goes a long way. People who love to travel tend to be on the go – who has time for weekly therapy sessions? Not us. I love these books for enabling busy people to express themselves without tying themselves into a routine. Stop and think a bit. Your life will be better for it.
Writing is a great therapeutic release (I can attest!). There are two books for worriers – No Worries for the proactive worrier who want to work out their issues and Write It Down for the passive worrier who just needs to express their worry. Sometimes you just need to think something through and there isn’t a solution to fix it.
What about those people who think they are always right? In My Humble Opinion lets you vent and rage before you go full postal with an AK-47.
Finally, The Happiness Project. I want to do this with my children in the new year. I want my kids to realise that happiness doesn’t actually wash up on you like waves on an ocean while you stand idly by. No one is happy all the time, unless you are Pollyanna (in which case you have no business being in our family of realists and worriers). You make your happy place where you find it. Happiness is comprised of a series of little things like receiving a compliment or watching a beautiful sunset.
There are plenty of things that make you happy that you take for granted. I would like our family to acknowledge what makes us happy – all the little things – and see what we can change to make other aspects of our life better. I want to be proactive in a glass half-full approach towards life.
Life moves too fast! All those cool memories wash into each other and it’s so hard to remember details.
My first choice – Books To Check Out – is because we are a family of readers. In fact, we have started Family Book Club where we all read the same book and discuss it. Our first book was Wonder which we wanted to read before seeing the movie.
We are also list makers – Travel Listography lets you think about what you want to do and where you want to go. My son always ask if we can return to ‘X’ place because we had such a good time there. Sadly, there is not enough time in the world for us to return to many places together as a family. I am hoping he will be like us where we have returned somewhere many different times at different periods of our life. For example, I have been to Paris as a solo traveller, with friends, when we got married, and with children in tow. Each time Paris provided a different experience for me.
Film Listography is another book where we can record our favourite movies and why we love them. It’s a list that is personal to our family. For example, we LOVED The Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul. The critics panned it but so many of the scenes in that movie resonated with us. That movie was full of the dumb sort of things that would happen to us on a road trip.
As for the Camera Lens Coffee Cup? I think it should be a general rule that when you are being introspective, you really need some coffee and cookies to help mull things over. Also, every self-respecting traveler takes way too many photos. Why not make poke a little light-hearted fun at the whole thing?
Desk and Mini-Wall Calendars
Our lives seem to be periods of boredom (work, school, etc) punctuated by cool vacations. A desk calendar seems just the thing to count off the days until your next vacation.
For these desk calendar selections, I’ve picked something classy (Vintage Travel), something inspiring (Yoga Kittens), something funny (Cat Shaming) and something weird (the Atlas Obscura). My husband is the class act, my daughter goes gaga for kittens, my son loves a good laugh and I am a big fan of visiting oddities around the world.
There are lots of really cool gadgets that make great Christmas presents which will help your travel-loving family cope with life on the road.
I absolutely love this universal outlets power strip with USB port extensions. It is the only adapter I need to travel the world because every conceivable power socket is covered. In addition, the USB ports means all of our iPads, iPhones etc can charge together. No more hooking up electronics in random places in a hotel room and forgetting where we put one (or more) in the rush to leave.
Never forget your keys (or your key cable) with this nifty Native Union Key Cable. When I go on holiday, my house keys are put in a pocket because I don’t need them anymore. Then there is a mad scramble at the end of vacation to remember where I put the house keys. Now, I know where they are! With a charging cable for my iPhone which is very dear to my heart.
My husband is obsessed with his Fitbit fitness tracker. It’s great when we are all together on vacation because he can then tell us how many calories we have burned walking all day. It opens up way more possibilities for a gluttonous dinner!
We also love our Amazon Kindle e-reader. It’s easy to download books, magazines and newspapers without the added weight of paper. We will always be lover of physical books and will never go completely digital. On the other hand, the Kindle is wonderful for travelling.
We love our GoPro carrying case. Before all the accessories were in a messy Ziploc bag but now everyting is in its place and easily visible. And, there’s no panic over where the extra battery is when we are travelling.
I want these watertight sealed underwater dry bag for the iPhones in our vacation essentials bag. Even though the newer iPhones are supposed to be water resistant, taking them to the beach or poolside still makes me nervous. On our recent trip to Florida, my iPhone 7+ just narrowly escaped being covered in an overturned poolside drink. With these relatively cheap dry bags, it’s one less thing to worry about.
I hope you enjoyed my curated selection of small gift ideas for Christmas. Christmas is great but I really don’t enjoy the shopping part. All of these items are available on Amazon – I don’t know what I did before Amazon Prime!
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