Columbia Mom’s Clutter-Free Christmas Gift List


In recent years, social media has been abuzz with the concept of “clutter-free gifts.” Clutter-free gifts refers to presents that give the recipient something to do instead of a material possession. These gifts are great for parents because there is no assembly and no small parts to step on later. Requesting this type of gift from relatives also lowers your child’s risk of getting pink bunny pajamas for Christmas.

If you’re interested in working a few clutter-free gifts into your child’s Christmas this year, check out a few recommendations from around Columbia.


1. Riverbanks Zoo & Garden

You can’t go wrong with a membership to Columbia’s amazing zoo and botanical garden! When you purchase a membership, you get access to both the zoo and botanical garden, Waterfall Junction, a plethora of programs offered by both, free admission to the holiday lights at the zoo, member nights, and more! 

2. EdVenture Children’s Museum

EdVenture has so many places for kids to play and learn. It’s a great place to take your child when the weather is too hot, too cold, or too rainy to play outside. A membership here is well worth the money!

3. South Carolina State Museum

New exhibits are always coming to the South Carolina State Museum, giving children different experiences every time they go. In addition to all of the wonderful exhibits you’ll discover, you and your family can also immerse yourself in the stars by taking in one of the many fantastic shows at the planetarium. 

4. Trampoline Parks

I have yet to meet a child who didn’t absolutely love a trampoline park. Fortunately, Columbia boasts a number of them! Check out Flight Adventure Park, Surge Adventure Park, Altitude Trampoline Park, or Summit Adventure Park.


1. Concert or Event Tickets

Columbia has two main venues for events, Township Auditorium and Colonial Life Arena. Both events are home to concerts, comedians, and even kids’ touring shows. Check out their websites to see what exciting events are coming soon!

2. Frankie’s Fun Park

Frankie’s Fun Park offers a full day of all sorts of adventures for your family! You’ll never get bored with all that Frankie’s offers. Your family will love spending time playing mini golf, driving go karts and bumper boats, practicing some swings in the batting cages, or just playing games in the arcade. 

3. Riverbanks Zoo Backstage Tour

How exciting would it be to meet your favorite animal at Riverbanks Zoo?! Well, you can! Riverbanks offers behind the scenes tours with the penguins, koalas, rhinos, and sea lions. If you’re especially fond of the koalas, now is a great time to book your backstage tour with the koalas, as there is a new baby koala!

4. Children’s Theatre

Columbia boasts some fantastic children’s theatre! Check out Columbia Marionette Theatre, where you can see some wonderful puppet shows. Columbia Children’s Theatre puts on amazing performances throughout the year. Your family will smile laugh as they experience the shows at both of these theatre’s. 

5. Sporting Events

Take your little athlete to see the Gamecocks play baseball, softball, basketball, football, or whatever they’re into. Columbia Fireflies and Lexington Blowfish baseball tickets are also a great way to go!



1. Ceramics at The Mad Platter

The Mad Platter offers loads of fun! There are projects your little artist can make in studio, and projects you can take home to paint as well. 

2. Art class at Columbia Museum of Art

CMA offers a variety of classes for all ages. Check the website for details.

3. Swimming Lessons

Believe it or not, many local places offer swimming lessons year-round. From the YMCA to private swim companies, to local community centers, you’ll find a variety of places in Columbia that offer fun and affordable lessons. 

4. Music Classes at Tempo Music

These classes are a great way to shake up your toddler or preschooler’s week. Music classes are a great way to introduce your little ones to music and instruments of all kinds!

5. Wood crafts at AR Workshop

AT AR Workshop, you can create a variety of wooden signs and art that would be the perfect addition to any kids’ bedroom.

These clutter-free gifts will not only give you and your child something to look forward to, but you’ll create special memories that will last years to come. As a bonus, there will be less stuff to sit in your car waiting to go to the thrift store later. Sure, you will probably still want a few big boxes sitting around the tree, but replacing a few “things” with the promise of having some fun in the new year is a great trade-off. 

What would you add to this list?

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Allison Linden
Allison Linden is an Alabama native who moved to the Midlands in 2011 with her now husband, Darin. Allison and Darin currently live in Red Bank with their children - Vivian and Henry. Allison has a bachelor’s degree in mathematics and obtained her MBA in May 2019, while almost 8 months pregnant with Vivian. She has worked for a retail energy company since 2013 and began working from home during the pandemic. Her husband became a house spouse after the birth of Vivian to allow Allison to pursue her career goals. Balancing working at home with a baby and a preschooler has been a challenge, but she has thoroughly enjoyed watching her children grow up. Allison enjoys taking her children to Edventure, Riverbanks Zoo and Botanical Gardens (the garden is way cooler than people give it credit for), local parks, the library, gymnastics, and dance class. When she is not working or momming, Allison enjoys exercising, binging true crime shows on Max, and occasionally having dinner and drinks with friends. Likes: Vacations, concerts, stand-up comedy, nice restaurants, bacon, juicy gossip. Hates: Yard work, driving, pants without an elastic waistband (hard pants), running.


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