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5 Tips for Giving the Gift of an Experience

#givepresence, gift, experiences, rotorua

This year I’ve been giving experiences instead of gifts. As I’ve committed to decluttering my house and my life, I figure I had to follow through by not cluttering up the houses or the lives of otheres.

Giving presence instead of presents hasn’t always been the easy option, but it’s been well worth the effort, creating many memorable days out and weekends away that we’ll treasure forever.

If giving the gift of experience is something you’d like to do, here’s some tips that might help:

  1. Allow time to plan: This isn’t something you can usually throw together the day before. Arranging an experience needs time and effort to organise so make sure you start a few weeks in advance. Be mindful of the recipients’ needs and wants, and of their abilities, so the experience you give is one they’ll enjoy. It can help to pass the idea by them first, or if you want it to be a surprise make a ‘voucher’ to give them on the day so you can leave the details (and any bookings) open ended.
  2. Know your budget: Be aware of any hidden or extra costs such as travel costs, taxi’s, snacks, meals, drinks and any fees for cancelling or changing dates. If you’ve bought a deal online, make sure it can be redeemed at a suitable time (ie. are weekends excluded?) and that it won’t expire too soon. If you are giving the experience as a gift you may feel obliged to cover all of these costs and any others that come out of the blue on the day.

    Giving presence is about spending time with the special people in your life.

    Giving presence is about spending time with the special people in your life.

  3. Have fun! Giving presence is about spending time and creating memories with the special people in your life. Choosing experiences that the recipient wouldn’t ordinarily do themselves, or helping them achieve something they’ve always wanted to do will make the experience all the more memorable for you both.
  4. Make time. In today’s fast paced world one of the things we seem to have least of is time. There never seems to be enough hours in the day, days in the week or weeks in the year. Giving the gift of an experience that you can do together means taking time out of your busy lives to spend with each other – and you can’t put a price on that.

    #givepresence, gift, experience

    Even hiking in the rain didn’t dampen the enjoyment of this experience

  5. Create happiness. Research has shown that having an experience makes us much happier in the long term than buying stuff. Experiences – even the bad ones – create memories, build character and give us stories to tell.

So far giving presence instead of presents has been a success. There’s been fun and laughter and lots of memories made. It’s a long way until Christmas but already the kids are planning the experiences they’ll get instead of presents this year, which makes me think giving presence might just become a family tradition.

Read my reviews on giving the gift of:


  1. This is such a great idea Polly. My boy is turning 12 next week and I’ll be giving him my presence as a present – we’re taking a trip away to Taupo 🙂


  2. Love this! Some of my favourite gifts I’ve ever received have been experiences and it’s something I prefer to give now also.


    • Thanks Em. It’s been a winner in our household as well. No experience is a bad experience as far as I’m concerned – even the bad ones make for good stories eventually….


  3. Yes! There is so much written now abut how experiences are fantastic gifts that trump “stuff” every time. Love the blog post. As I’m trying (and failing) to declutter my “photos” I’m realizing that these are the mementos of fabulous experiences I’m afraid I will forget without the photos. I guess that’s why I’m failing at the decluttering in this category. :-}


    • So true Lisa. Alot of the stuff we already have is full of memories. I recently got rid of our CD collection. It took me months to convince husband it was ok to do so. We hadn’t listened to a single CD in years thanks to Spotify – but each and every one of those CDs was tied up in a memory. We kept some of the most memorable CD covers and have created a piece of wall art out of them that we can continue to enjoy.


  4. Pingback: Why there’s nothing under our Xmas tree this year. | Polly Unsaturated

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