We spend a significant amount of time during the holiday season seeking out gifts for those on our list. Sometimes that search leads to stress and frustration as we struggle to find that perfect present. It becomes a chore instead of a joy.
We’re inclined to believe gifts need to be actual, physical objects we can wrap in a box. But remember, a key ingredient in being organized is knowing what is essential to us and improves our lives. When it comes to gift giving, be it the holiday season or throughout the year, consider thinking outside that brightly wrapped box. How?
Research studies have found that people value experiences over possessions. The excitement of receiving something shiny and new fades pretty quickly. A memorable experience, however, has meaning and lasts forever.
Here are a few suggestions to add to your loved ones memory box instead of their mantelpiece:
Give gift certificates.
Though often considered a last resort, gift cards are universally appreciated. And it doesn’t have to be to someone’s favorite store. Gift a night at the movies, a meal at a new restaurant, a massage at the spa. Gift certificates become not only an event to look forward to but, in this economy especially, can be a real treat.
Give the gift of yourself.
We value companionship. Memories are made in the company of the people with whom we enjoy spending time. Turn your presence into a present. Make your own gift certificate and offer to buy lunch, spend a day shopping together or plan a movie night at your place. Get creative. It isn’t about being extravagant; it’s about being available. Your friendship and time is greater than any possession money can buy.
Give back to the community.
What if you pressed the pause button this year on giving gifts altogether and instead gave to those in need? Organize an event with friends and family and spend time together serving at a soup kitchen. Start a collection for a shelter and let those contributions be the gifts you give each other. Or for those feeling especially adventurous, volunteer a few hours for each person on your gift list. Helping others nourishes your spirit as well as theirs.
The beauty of offering an experience as a gift is not only in the lasting treasure of the memory it creates. It’s also more than manageable on a restricted budget. And you might just receive as much as you give. Now that’s joyful!