Why Gifting Experiences Might Be the Best Idea This Year

My children have had the good fortune to receive several presents from their loved ones, and they have never gone without anything. We thus stopped giving them gifts and trinkets on their third birthdays and instead started going on experiences and creating memories with them.

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Here’s how to offer the gift of an incredible experience without the need for gift wrapping.

Consider what they’ll find appealing.

My children usually have extremely varied presents since they have quite distinct loves and activities. My younger daughter is interested in nature and wildlife, so her favorite excursions have included overnight stays at zoos and one-on-one time spent with dolphins. My artistic older daughter often receives presents based on performances, such as tickets to Broadway musicals and ballets.

However, there are occasions when it makes sense to look a little beyond the box and ask your present recipient if they would be open to trying something different. While they may have enjoyed the pottery lesson I gave them a few years ago, my parents may not have pursued pottery as a pastime. However, they have made many trips back to the store to purchase the proprietor’s creations.

Remember your spending limit

A Broadway performance and supper don’t come cheap, so you can absolutely go big on money for this, but you don’t even need to spend a dime to give the gift of a great time. A fun day of baking or creating at home, a hike or bike ride, or a day at the lake may be your gift to them.

Explain your own abilities

Use your knowledge of what you know they like doing or a talent they would wish to develop to inspire your unique event. You might spend the day happily planting fresh bulbs in their garden, or you could teach them how to dance.

Enjoy yourself when presenting.

My kids generally receive a card from us detailing the adventures of the previous year, along with silly images that somehow connect to the gift. The year we brought kids to Universal Studios and Disney World, we went a little over the top. We sent them an owl balloon that looked like a letter from Harry Potter welcoming them to Hogwarts.

If you still want to give them something they can open, include a little memento that is associated with the present, such as a beautiful canteen if you’re taking them camping, or a paint-by-numbers kit if you’re giving them a trip to an art gallery.

Choose whether to follow along.

It’s not required of you to participate in the experience, but if you can, I wholeheartedly suggest it.

My spouse and I alternate years of organizing (and participating in) our daughters’ birthday celebrations. We consider the opportunity to have that special one-on-one time with our children to be quite valuable, and it’s a great gift that we’re giving ourselves as well.

List all of your alternatives.

Finding the ideal present requires some study and patience. To spark your creativity, consider a few of these present suggestions:

Tickets for a performance, play, sport, or concert

Classes or instruction in crafts, athletics, dancing, or cuisine

Outing for camping

Tickets for theme parks

Staying overnight or visiting a museum

Riding a horse

Film evening

establishing a garden

Day of baking or handicraft

Treasure quest

interactions with animals at a zoo or aquarium

paddle boarding, kayaking, and other water sports

Bike or hike

Night of the games

A gastronomic journey or culinary tour

Tour of walking history

Visit a zoo or aquarium

Day at the spa

Picnic in the afternoon

Tea celebration

Day at the beach

Midday meal

culinary celebration

Day of playing video games

Engage in a joint sport.

Go fishing.

Garden excursion

Making cocktails lesson

Fun transportation tours, such as sailboat excursions, helicopter tours, and hot air balloon rides

Visit to a wildlife refuge

Skydiving or ziplining

Snowshoeing or skiing

Miniature or full-fledged golfing!

Escape chamber

Rollerblading or ice skating