Give the gift of Experience

A friend of mine who is a mom, author and childbirth educator recently posted on her blog an entry entitled “Think before you buy”. Yup, ’tis the season. If more people adhered to this simple idea there would probably be a lot less credit card debt and post-holiday blues come January. It inspired me to further develop my official position on gifts this holiday season: give the gift of an experience. I’m going to give gifts that I feel will enhance well-being and result in a good memory, vs. sit on a shelf somewhere. 

Kimmelin (who led a motherhood discussion inspired by her new book A Dozen Invisible Pieces & Other Confessions of Motherhood at our Mother’s Day retreat last spring) writes:
Think about the fact that, here in America, 99% of what we purchase ends up in the garbage or the ‘unused’ shelf somewhere in our home within 6 months…Think about the fact that manufacturers and retailers depend on the fact that poorly made products break or fall out of fashion sooner than next quarter’s credit card statement will hit your mailbox, and in so doing, prompt you to go out and buy more stuff.
The accumulation of stuff gives me angst, just like throwing away things has always made me worry about landfills (prior to actually knowing about landfills, I worried about where it all went). Experiential gift-giving can be creative and fun, and gives us the opportunity to connect with friends and family in a non-material way. Here are a few suggestions: 
  • a dinner out together, or if you cook, a home-made meal 
  • a massage 
  • a yoga class
  • a bottle of wine to share over time together catching up (cannot be opened with anyone but you)
  • a gift certificate to spend a day together doing something you both enjoy outdoors: skiing, hiking, biking, walking the dogs…
Do you have some ideas for experiential gift giving? Would love to hear them.