The holidays are such a stressful time for all of us. We are being bombarded with commercial after commercial for the latest and greatest gift we need under the tree. The kids are on high alert for the latest toy. The stores are crowded. The kids are crying. You’re ready to pull your hair out. Is that the Christmas experience you want to remember? While I love to give gifts to family and friends I also know that experiences can be enjoyed throughout the year. We try to gift an experience whenever possible. We are intentional with the experiences we are gifting and really think about the person like we would with a physical gift.
My husband and I strive to gift an experience for Christmas and Birthdays. There is just something magical about buying tickets for a show or sending a family member to the spa that brings them so much joy months down the road. The experience isn’t collecting dust and the person can really take the time to enjoy their experience.
While some experiences will take time to plan you can definitely give a last-minute experience that is well thought out. Maybe you want to give the gift of family movie night with a basket filled with movie theatre treats and a Redbox gift card. It doesn’t have to be expensive for the person you are giving the gift to really enjoy it.
Do we have too much stuff?
While my husband and I don’t have kids we have seen the aftermath of Christmas with children in the house. There is wrapping paper everywhere, toys scattered throughout, missing batteries for the one toy the child wants to play with, and a temper tantrum just waiting to happen. It is stressful for both the gift giver and the person receiving the gifts.
The gifts are set aside and often forgotten about. It could be months before the gift is actually taken out of the box before it is used or donated. It’s the sad reality of where we are as an over consuming nation. The gift isn’t appreciated as much as you thought it would be or you picked out the wrong size or color.
Minimalism has painted a picture for us that less is more. Less clutter in the home often leads us to be happier. It is less to manage and we can enjoy our time with each other. The average home has over 300,000 items! Can you imagine that? You may even have more in your home. Christmas is the perfect time to change the gift-giving pattern in your family (just make sure you let them know ahead of time if you would prefer an experience!)
Share Your Feelings with Family About Gift Giving
My husband and I have promoted the idea of gift an experience for many years. When we moved into our first home it was only 900 square feet. After our wedding, it was full of furniture and gifts that were given to us. It was great, but we quickly realized that we didn’t have the room for everything we owned. Enter the storage unit. We rented a storage unit for 9 years to store our stuff. Isn’t that crazy? It was very early on that we started asking for tickets to movies or a nice dinner out etc for Christmas and birthdays. This didn’t bring any more clutter into our home and we could enjoy the day out together. Sometimes we did a large group activity with extended family that was great and sometimes it was just an experience for one of us.
It wasn’t an easy topic to bring up since so many of our family members love to give gifts. We expressed our reasons for wanting experiences and shared that we would also be giving experiences to encourage family bonding time. Some still give us physical gifts which are okay but we encourage experiences. Be consistent with your desire to gift an experience and your family will eventually catch on.
Gift an Experience: Ideas for Your Family
There are endless experiences we can give as a gift. What is one thing you enjoy doing but don’t spend the money on it for yourself? Maybe you like going to the spa for a facial or to the ballet. These are experiences you could ask for as a gift. The same is true for your family and friends. What do they enjoy most? But maybe it’s not in their budget. I am going to share with you a list of experiences that you can gift to both family and friends.
A lot of museums have an annual membership. This is a great place for the whole family and the best part is you’ll learn something new each time you attend. I love the idea of giving the gift of a museum membership because the family can enjoy it multiple times throughout the year. If you don’t have a local museum an aquarium or science center is a great alternative.
The Escape Room has gained popularity over the years. Each escape room has a different theme so ensure the room you gift is family-friendly. The family will work together to escape the room by using clues. This would be ideal for older kids.
Do you have a sports team in your area? Gift an experience to the family’s favorite sporting event. This is a great way to get out and support your local community while having fun as a family. If you are interested in giving sports tickets as a gift you may want to check with the family to ensure they are available for that particular day and you’ll need to plan ahead. A lot of sports teams sell out their tickets well in advance.
Theme Park Tickets
One of our favorite gifts is theme park memberships. We have a few theme parks within a two-hour drive of us. We don’t normally buy the tickets for ourselves but if we are given theme park tickets we make a special trip to enjoy it. This year we were given Busch Gardens tickets and have visited a few times, it has been years since we been, so it was a nice treat. Theme park tickets can be great for families with kids of any age.
This would be a wonderful gift for your immediate family since it will be more experience. You can plan a family vacation and give it to your kids at Christmas time. This will be exciting for them but also build up anticipation until you are able to go on the family vacation. You’ll be able to plan excursions together and enjoy the time together bonding.
Gifts For Kids
Giving gifts to kids is such a joy. I love the smile on their face when they open the gift. To gift an experience can give you the same reaction especially if it something they are looking forward to or have never done.
A lot of towns have a pottery shop you can visit. They will have all different shapes and sizes of pottery that you can paint and decorate yourself. It is a fun afternoon out and the child gets to express them self through art.
Passes to the local bowling alley are a great gift to give. This is perfect for a rainy weekend or just a bonding experience. Bowling is one of those sports that most of us don’t do very often so it’s a special treat for a kid, especially if you bring them to the Glow Bowling!
What kid doesn’t love to go to the movies?! This was always a special treat in our house. By giving a gift certificate to the local movie theatre the child can enjoy a movie and maybe even buy a treat to enjoy.
Now, I know this can get noisy. However, if your child has expressed interest in learning a musical instrument then Christmas is the perfect time to give the gift of lessons and the instrument. They will be able to play all year and learn while doing so.
How often do you take the kids out one on one? Giving the gift of a dinner date is the perfect opportunity for one-on-one bonding. You can do this with your own child or even your nieces and nephews. Let them pick the restaurant and enjoy a night together talking. If they are younger you may want to take the child on a picnic and let them play at the park.
Gifts for Adults
Giving the gift of an experience to an adult can be harder. As an adult, we often buy what we want when we want it. To gift an experience for an adult you may need to dig a little deeper. What do they like but don’t spend the money on themselves?
Gift a Memory Book
Did you take a family vacation this year but never printed the pictures? Creating a memory book will showcase these moments and the recipient can cherish the memories. A memory book is great for both your spouse or extended family members.
A spa day is a perfect gift for just about any women in your life. Guys even love it too. Whether you give the gift of a spa day or even a massage, the recipient with love it. Depending on your budget some massage parlors have yearly memberships you can give!
A gift certificate to a couples favorite restaurant is the perfect date night. Saying you’ll watch the kids (if needed) is even better. This will give the couple time to unwind and enjoy each other’s company while not worrying about the kids.
There are so many memberships and subscriptions. Maybe you have a family member who loves Amazon but refuses to pay for Prime. Or they love a particular magazine but always buy it at the check stand. There are memberships and subscriptions for just about everything. Just make sure it is something the person will love and will not be adding clutter to their home.
Cooking Classes (or any type of hobby class)
Giving the gift of a class is a great way to learn a new skill and allow a family member to venture out from their norm. This is a great way to unwind and fine to a skill or do something totally out of their comfort zone.
Gift An Experience and Change Your Holidays
Giving the gift of an experience is a great way to cut back on the clutter in our homes. It encourages family bonding and can be little splurges that we may not normally spend on ourselves. If you are considering gifting experiences talk to your family and friends. Get their input and talk about transitioning away from physical gifts. If you have already started to purchase gifts for this holiday season, that is okay. You can slowly transition your family.