Holiday gifts for the busy parents and kids in your life

Story highlights

  • Parents around the country weigh in with gift suggestions
  • Give the gift of an experience, such as a museum membership, many parents say
  • Monthly subscriptions for grooming products or crafts are also popular
  • To find unique gifts, it helps to not wait until the last minute!

Kelly Wallace is CNN's digital correspondent and editor-at-large covering family, career and life. She is a mom of two girls. Read her other columns and follow her reports at CNN Parents and on Twitter.

(CNN)Every year I make the same pledges to myself at holiday time: Get started early and take time to find those unique gifts that deliver more authentic oohs and aahs than presents from a last-minute run to the mall.

And every year it's the same story. I am one of "those" people who is online or out at the stores right before the start of Hanukkah or on Christmas Eve, feeling desperate to find something before the clock runs out.
Sound familiar?
Well, since we are in this together, how about we try for a different holiday gift-buying experience this year?
Don't know what to get the busy parents who seem to have everything? Stumped on gifts for your little ones, or for the tween or teen in your life who you want to surprise as opposed to delivering every single item on their wish list?
I reached out for gift ideas for busy parents and kids, and a group of fabulous women and men from around the country answered the call, providing so many great suggestions -- from a gift certificate for a home cleaning service (who wouldn't want that around the holidays!) to a cool way to remember all those Instagram photos you took to a way to turn your child's art project into a full-size stuffed treasure.
So, click around, and see what moves you, and be proud of yourself for doing at least one thing differently this year -- starting to think about gifts weeks earlier than you usually do!
Do you have any ideas for unique gifts for busy parents and children? Share your thoughts with Kelly Wallace on Twitter or CNN Living on Facebook.