Take the stress out of the holiday gift-giving season and give a gift to the people you care about that actually means something.
Consider a change in your perspective about gift-giving this year and give experiences instead of things.
Instead of giving a material gift that may likely end up stuffed away in a cupboard, closet or basement, give them something that they’ll enjoy and provide them with happy memories for years to come.
Studies have indicated that experiences make us happier than material things do. With that in mind, consider turning away from purchasing things and seek out experiences that friends and family can enjoy all year.
People get more satisfaction over experiences than things, so consider the idea of giving experiences over stuff that might just end up in a basement someday.
Here are some quick ideas to get you started;
Museum memberships. An annual membership to your local museum often permits discounted entry. A family membership is often a particularly good value for people with children.
Membership to a zoo or botanical garden. More than 200 botanical gardens nationwide participate in the American Horticultural Society program, which provides members of one garden free or discounted admission to others.
Season tickets to a theater or concert series. You’ll also find gift deals and holiday promotions at local theaters. Another option is simply to buy someone tickets to several upcoming shows.
A family membership or annual pass to a popular local attraction. An annual pass to the Shedd Aquarium, the Art Institute, Museum of Science and Industry or Field Museum for example would be a great long lasting gift. Your kids might enjoy a pass to Six Flags theme park.
Magazine subscription. An annual magazine subscription is a good gift for a child or adult, and often costs less than $20.
Warehouse club membership. An annual membership to Costco or Sam’s Club would be a welcome gift for a friend or relative who likes to shop at those stores.
Fruit-of-the-month club. The venerable Harry & David’s is still around, and you can have a box of fruit delivered to your recipient once a month for 12 months. Since its inception in 1936, the monthly delivery has expanded to a variety of fruit and non-fruit choices, including a flower-of-the-month option. A variation would be a wine-of-the-month club.
Classes. Has your significant other or best friend always wanted to learn to dance or to make stained-glass creations? You can buy a series of classes from a local dance studio, art studio or cooking school. Get a gift card or gift certificate so the recipient can choose a class that fits his or her schedule.
Movie rental service. A subscription to Netflix, Hulu Plus or another movie subscription service makes a good gift for a movie lover.
Giving the gift of experiences works in many ways …
It doesn’t give a material item that the other person will have to deal with and it’s not going to wind up needing maintenance or taking up storage space in their home or requiring a trip to customer service.
It will stand out in a positive way in comparison to the other items they receive. Most “experience” gifts ever received stand the test of time and create long lasting memories.
It often allows you to experience the gift together and if the gift is an event you can both participate in, it becomes a shared memory, something far beyond what a material gift can offer.