We all have so much STUFF! We will probably always want more stuff, but research shows that experiences make us much happier than things do. So this year, try giving someone an experience instead of a sweater or watch. We all get tired of our things, but a wonderful memory will never get old. I have listed some ideas so you can give the best gifts this year with none of the wrapping! Double bonus as this also means you will contribute less to landfills!
Give a road-trip – Include a gas card or car rental, a couple of snacks, and a map.
Weekend Get-Away – Especially nice for parents, get a gift certificate to a hotel for a couple and offer to babysit their kids for the weekend.
Help them Fly away: You can buy a friend points on their favorite airline that they can use towards a flight.
Relaxation Experience: 99.5% of us rarely take the time to relax, so give an excuse to take some time to unplug and de-stress. Give a gift certificate for a manicure, pedicure, massage, ancient baths, korean spa, sauna, acupuncture, facial, or meditation or yoga class.
Entertainment Experience: We all like to be entertained. Tickets to a show, theater, comedy club, concert, or movie are usually safe bets.
Eat, Drink, and Be Merry Experience: Give a certificate for a restaurant, wine or beer tasting, or tour of a distillery.
Membership Experience: A gift that gives year round, the recipient will think of you gratefully every time they go. Memberships are available for museums, botanical garden, amusement parks, zoos, theaters, movie houses, and more. Chose based on your recipients interests.
Outdoorsy Experience: For those who love adventure and being outside consider lift passes to a ski slope, a park pass for a local national or state park, a bike or snowmobile tour, white-water rafting or rock-climbing experience, dog sledding, hot air balloon ride, or a sailing trip.
Kids Experience: Personally, I always worry if the toy or book I get for a child is something they already own. Which is why giving them an experience is a great option! A week at summer camp, a craft day, tickets to an amusement park, movie passes, or an ice skating, martial arts, or horseback riding lesson will be sure to put a smile on a young face.
Learning Experience: I am sure that most of us are familiar with the “Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime.” Who wouldn’t want to learn or expand a skill or area of interest? Give a class! Painting, writing, gardening, cooking, dancing, drawing, scuba-diving, or music lessons are all great options.
Helpful websites when looking for experiences to buy and give: Cloud9Living, GroupOn, Living Social, and Travel Zoo.
I think that when you give an experience, you are giving FUN. What could be better than that?