Updated: Jan 19
Life seems cluttered and disconnected as it is.
Why not give the gift of your time to help with both of these modern dilemmas?
Advent calendars: a tradition for young and old, alike.
Usually filled with over-sugared treats and knick-knacks that find their way into a ‘junk drawer’ or garbage somewhere. With many modern movements leaning away from overconsumption and processed eating, it’s no surprise that many people, myself included, are opting for a more traditional advent experience.
For my family, we have bought a second hand, quilted drapery (about 2ft x 2ft) that has little pockets sewn into it that are the perfect size to insert little letters to the kids. Each letter includes a daily family activity that we get to enjoy together leading up to Christmas day. For now, they’re simple: they have the activity and a picture to help them understand what they will be doing each day.
In the future, I intend to make it an actual letter that may include a treasure/scavenger hunt to discover what the day’s fun will be or sometimes a little note to remind my children of how and why they are loved and what they can do to show others the same love this season and all year round. In the meantime, their activities are given to them simply and range from trips to local Christmas markets, crafting, and giving to the needy (food drives, animal shelters, etc.).
Connect with me to draw ideas from My Advent Experience List for your littles in the years to come!
This sort of mentality extends far beyond the countdown to the big day this season. I’ve toted The Fabulous Four for gift giving and I believe that the experience>things movement can be used with this method as well! They can want and need experiences too, you know. Seeing a band in concert that they’ve always admired qualifies as a want while a trip to the spa could be just what momma needs - Ahem!
This being said, experiences can vary dramatically depending on the person, your relationship, and the experience gifted.
Experiences WITH the person
Making memories with family and friends is one of the most important parts of celebrating during the holidays. Most of our memories come from a place and time when we were experiencing life WITH a significant person in our lives.
I distinctly remember, every Christmas morning, sitting at the top of the stairs with my little brother at my grandparents’ house, waiting - perhaps a little impatiently - for permission to come downstairs. We needed to wait until great-grandpa woke up - I am SURE that he was already awake and they were just enjoying their hot cups of coffee before the kids tore through, and to be honest, in hindsight… it’s not a bad idea - good going great-grandpa. I loved that time spent with my brother on the top step. These intimate moments are part of the true meaning of Christmas.
It doesn’t have to only occur on Christmas day either!
Many holiday celebrations this time of year last far longer than the prescribed one day of celebration according to the Christian faith - besides, they don’t sing the 12 Days of Christmas for nothing! Prolonging the seasonal festivities by gifting experiences before, during and after the festivities is what makes the most of our memory-making!
For example, every Christmas since having children, my brother and sister-in-law go to dinner with us at a fancy steak restaurant. We go WITHOUT children and eat our fancy meal without interruptions, speaking about adult things, drinking adult drinks. We pay for ourselves and enjoy it thoroughly! We look forward to it yearly and remember, fondly, the memories we’ve made along the way. Note: It turns out celebrating Jesus’s birthday doesn’t get you a free cake.
Experiences when you can’t (or don't want to) be there.
Now, this isn’t to say you’re lazy, neglectful, or not completely filled with love for the person you’re gifting to, it’s just that not everyone wants to go see T-Swift in concert - I mean, I do… but not everyone is in that same, awesome, boat. Also, sometimes you may not be physically able to attend an experience due to distance or other limitations.
In this modern age, there are always ways to still form direct experiential memories over and above the gifts we love to give our significant others. Video calls on innovative mediums help people to connect as often as they wish. Read books together, play card games, board games, or just chat and be together for a while in the way that works for you.
A great story, about gifting experiences, that always stood out to me was about a game of chess played through snail mail. My husband’s grandfather and a friend would mail their moves to one another, back and forth, until the game was over. This took weeks, if not months to complete but it gave them joy, memories, and an experience to last a lifetime. In fact, when an experience is so memorable it can transcend generations through storytelling, in writing and spoken word, like this story is destined to do.
Another example of this type of gift includes memberships. I recently bought a membership to a local museum for my loved ones, knowing that I would not be able to go with them each and every time they enjoyed the place but it still brought everyone joy, all around.
Connect with me to gain access to My Experience>Things Idea List to get your thinker turning for your next gift!
Beyond the Holidays
Experiences>Things can extend beyond the Christmas season as well! The Experience Box is a great way to give a gift that lasts all year long. It functions in much the same way as the above-mentioned advent calendar except that instead of having 25 activities leading up to Christmas, there are 12 activities (one each month) to last the whole year through!
The ideas for this box have taken many forms, all of which are exciting and long-lasting. One box includes a build-up of themed activities that lead to the final gift of a trip to Disneyland as the final gift. Another includes special, often simple, one-to-one grandparent time with each grandchild. Like the Fabulous Four, you can take this experiential gift idea and run with it, through the hills and into another world of possibility! Getting creative makes it even more fun!
Subscription boxes can be a great way to facilitate this type of gift without the fuss of planning and attending to the gift given. This falls under the above-mentioned category of experience giving without having to be there if you don’t want/can’t do so.
Although some paid experiences are a dream come true, these types of gifts can totally be free as well! In fact, many of the ideas listed on My Experience>Things Idea List have little to no cost involved. Some of the best gifts in life are free.
With how economic, eco-friendly, and meaningful this style of gifting is, it's no wonder this mentality is catching on so fast. It just makes sense. So, the next time you have a birthday, anniversary, wedding, or any other type of celebration to attend, consider these experiential options before you overspend on something for the receivers ‘junk drawer.’
My Experience>Things Idea List will help you to take your gift-giving to the next level by giving a gift that really makes memories; gifts that are truly cherished for years and years to come.
(You can gain access to My Experience>Things Advent and Gift Idea lists by connecting with me anytime throughout the year)
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