Give the Gift of Experiences This Holiday Season

Nobody needs more stuff, but they do need more experiences.

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Fabulous sunset at the Rare Plant Research & Villa Catalana Cellars

Every year my sister sends me the same question via text.

“What do you and the girls want for Christmas?”

And every year I don’t know what to say. We don’t need anything. We have everything we could ever want and when we do need something, we just go out and buy it. Or, let’s be honest, we search for it on Amazon and wait for its arrival two days later.

This kind of consumerism has really put a damper on the load that gets left under the tree, but it’s also made me think about what I truly want vs. unwrapping more stuff that I will need to make room for in a drawer somewhere.

Lately, I’ve been rethinking gift ideas, and what I know is I’d rather experience something than receive another pair of pajamas/another robe/another bath bomb, or other mother appropriate gifts.

How I responded to this year’s annual text from my sister was slightly different from previous years in that I asked for a bottle of wine for myself, and not just any wine I can grab from the grocery story refrigerator, but wine selected by my brother-in-law who happens to be an amazing chef. He knows a lot about food and a whole lot about wine. I imagine anything I get from him is going to be a whole lot better than what I’d choose for myself, especially since I usually choose wine by how pretty the label is.

I’d rather have one amazing bottle of wine than four bottles of generic bubble bath any day.

Give the Gift of Experience

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Dinner in the Field

Perhaps you have parents, in-laws, siblings, or someone special in your life that you don’t know what gift to give for Christmas or Hanukkah.

Maybe it’s time to stop buying them more stuff, and give them experiences. Here are some ideas to get you started:

  1. A unique dinner out. Look around the gift recipient’s town/city via a Google search to see if a dinner out in nature is available. My husband and I had a fantastic time at an event put on by Field & Vine in the Portland, Oregon area. It took place in the summer at The Rare Plant Research & Villa Catalana Cellars. Yummy food, new friends made, and a load of fun! Nothing like dinner served family style under the stars.
  2. Purchase classes to learn something new at the local community center or community college like oil painting, photography, golfing, basket weaving, drawing portraits, sculpting, or creating a website.
  3. Purchase an app for them to learn how to meditate. I like Calm and Headspace.
  4. Buy tickets to a play, the symphony, the movies, the opera, a museum, or a football/baseball/hockey game.
  5. If you have an adventurer in your life, how about buying a moonlit hike through REI? REI has lots of monthly classes for the beginning adventurer, as well as those who are more advanced.
  6. How about an air balloon ride? (This is one of those gifts you might want to ask about prior to purchasing).

Once you start actually thinking about what lights a friend or family member up, it will be easy to begin searching for the experiences they will talk about for years to come.

One thing to be aware of, though, is if the gift is something they’d like rather than something you think they should like. You may think that the very thing Uncle Bob needs is to see an opera at least once in his lifetime but if he has no interest, then you’ve just wasted your money.

Also, make a quick inquiry to the recipient about any conflicts in dates. There’s nothing quite like receiving a gift of the symphony and then not being able to use the tickets because the date doesn’t work. The recipient feels guilty for wasting your money, and you may be frustrated, too, at the loss of money.

And, finally, make sure that the gift experience is not too far away. I received a gift one year where it met the above criteria but it was a minimum of an hour away on a good/no traffic day. I’m not willing to drive that far for an ongoing class.

Go ahead and be as creative as you can but protect your investment and make sure the gift would be well received and useful.

Day 13 of the 30 Day Blogging Challenge I dared myself to start (and finish).

Far more interesting internally than externally. I write to quiet the voices. Deleted Facebook & Twitter thereby immediately quieting 1000’s of voices.

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