There’s not a lot under our Christmas tree this year. No excitingly oversized boxes wrapped in bright, sparkly paper. No tantalisingly small boxes full of potential preciousness. No bottles of wine, mall vouchers or boxes of scorched almonds.
It’s not that we’re not giving presents this year, it’s just that what we’re giving doesn’t need to be wrapped. Because this year instead of giving stuff, we’ve been giving the gift of an experience.
It all started last New Year’s with a resolution to declutter our small house to give us more space to live in. It didn’t make sense to fill all the space we had won back with more stuff, and so we decided this year the only gifts we would give were experiences.
While it hasn’t been the easiest or cheapest method of gift giving, it has been the most fun.
In the last twelve months we’ve been horse riding and skiing, spent a weekend on an offshore bird sanctuary and we’ve slid our way down a 300m water slide (proving that even bad experiences create good memories).
I’ve spent a day climbing a mountain with my sister, taken my Mum to the theatre and thrown my Dad a birthday party so he could catch up with family and long-time friends .
What made each of these gifts, each of these experiences, special was that we did them together. These weren’t just vouchers, or ideas that I paid for. They were experiences that created an opportunity for us to share the most important thing we all have – our time – doing something we both enjoyed and creating memories we could share forever.
Christmas will be a challenge. Organising the gift of an experience one birthday at a time is very different from organising experiences en mass.
I’ve already got the kids sorted – we’ll be having a sleepover at the zoo in January. Now there’s just the rest of the extended family to sort out.
More Reading: 5 tips for giving the gift of an experience