Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Gifting Experiences

So I love giving and getting gifts, but I like it even more when that gift is an experience - sure there are the typical ones like massages and a pedicure, but when I started to think about what I spend in any given year on theater tickets, mini-getaways, and lessons I began to ask: why the heck am I not wrapping these up and gifting these to my child so it feels more like a privilege then just an ordinary state of affairs - of which it is both. It is not unusual for Olivia to vacation yearly, enjoy nights out at movies and life performances, or participate in some type of enrichment activity and yet these events are a privilege as SO many people are not afforded similar types of experiences. I know several adults who have yet to attend a ballet or travel outside of the state while by age 5 Liv has a stamped passport and orchestra seating at Playhouse Square. I don't want her to take these types of opportunities for granted so while she gets a few of her 'wish list' toys (I try to encourage puzzles and crafts) I really attempt to give her presents whose reach extend beyond the month of December. Here were some of the experiences she found under the tree this year:

Spanish lessons starting in January at Camp Globo represented by our Spanish styled Rapunzel

Ticket to see Beauty and the Beast

Ticket to see Cinderella

Ticket to the Ice Capades (I never knew that was two words - huh!)

And for my sister and brother-in-law

And for mom and Joe

Other cool gifts our family has given/received throughout the years have included a fishing charter trip, the deck,  a white-water rafting package, Universal Studio tickets, a Costa Rican waterfall excursion, an area golf package, and oh so perfect for the holidays a Straight No Chaser concert.

Hands down, one of the most generous experiences my husband and I were ever gifted was our honeymoon. At the time, Joe and I had just purchased our first home and so we didn't have the money to honeymoon right away. However, leave it to my amazing bridal party to all chip in and purchase us a 4 day cruise to the Bahamas.

Know someone who has always wanted to run a 5k - how about paying for their registration for an upcoming race? Or perhaps a hot air balloon ride for the romantic in your life (so jealous my friend Katie received this gem from her sweet husband)? A beer-brewing or cooking class for your hard to buy for significant other? Maybe a friend whose been a little down lately could benefit from some comic relief at one of the local comedy venues?

The possibilities are endless and the recipient gets to experience the joy of the gift twice - both upon receipt and when they actually engage in the experience.

The gifts need not be extravagant either - for instance, there is still time to purchase the following for me before the holiday officially ends at midnight tomorrow :)

I can't help but think to a few favorite movies for some virtually if not totally cost-free examples, namely the night of star-gazing at an airplane graveyard from Can't Buy Me Love or the picnic from Up

A few years ago I surprised Joe by pre-arranging with his boss a scheduled vacation day of which he knew nothing about until his alarm went off at 6:00 am and I told him to hit snooze - that he was off for the day. I'm pretty sure that 'non'-experience experience ranked pretty high in his book of best gifts ever.

What are some of your favorite gifts of experience? What is on your wish-list? I'd love to start racking up some ideas for next year's holiday season :)