I’m stuck too. I’m so done with toys for my kids. All the money and worry to procure the latest and greatest for them to forget about it after 30 mins and I’m literally left holding the bag...and picking it up...and putting it away...again. So I’m making a conscientious shift in my gift buying this year to minimize the mess and frustration. If you feel like we’re riding in the same boat, you’ve come to the right place. Here are my ideas for gifts of experience and I’ve grouped them into 3 categories: kids, spouse and parents. Hopefully you’ll find some inspiration and I will have saved the day (and yes you may take full credit, your secret is safe with me!)
Dilemma: Why can't they love something that won't get embedded in my carpet...looking at you Lego...
1. I’ll start with the shameless plug. My paint sessions are pretty damn experiential, not to mention I'm the only photographer in Denver, no Colorado, scratch that- the United States that offers these sessions, talk about a pure one-of-a kind experience. Plus you walk away with something too, consider it a parent bogo.
2. Classes/Lessons: Swimming, any instrument imaginable, karate, painting or any kind of art, dance/hip-hop, ninja, drama, magic, ice skating, cooking, horseback riding. Do something completely out of left field, it’s a great way to expose them to new and different things. Side note: be prepared to invest if they do like it. I did this last year and now we’re committed to weekly ninja classes a year later but hey, he loves it and he’s active and engaged for an hour while I write my blog posts: win-win.
3. Hotel night- on those random days of from school, go to a hotel (if it’s not a holiday you can usually find a pretty good deal), order some pizza in and go play in the indoor pool- they don’t care they are only 30 mins from home! Any hotel is still new and exciting for them.
4. Tickets/Shows: professional sporting event, concerts, afternoon tea service at a fancy hotel, movie day with a boat load of snacks.
Dilemma: trouble is most of us are hardworking indivduals with ready access to Amazon Prime. If we need/want something we buy it, we don’t need to wait for things like holidays and birthdays, we’re not suckers. That’s why you gotta stick with stuff that’s non-tangible. We think nothing of buying the $50 tchotchke but actually spending money on a service that would take stress out of our life, well that never seems to be a priority for us.
1. Services: Car detailing and wash, house cleaning, meal prep services, dry cleaning, spa treatment
2. Classes/lessons: welding, knitting, foreign language, photography (tip- almost any photographer you know is willing to teach an intro to photo/this is how to use your camera class), sculpture/ceramics.
3. Night outs with a purpose: farm to table dinners, brewery or coffee tasting tours, wine and cheese tours (Groupon is great for this btw- take a look at your local offers)
4. Rent a fancy car: Why not? We’re adults, let’s give each other a taste of what we otherwise cannot afford. Live a little and rent that beast you've had your eye on. What would you pick muscle car vs. sports car or does technology triumph over all?
Dilemma: What do you give someone who already has everything?
1. Gift cards to their preferred airline: maybe this will encourage them to take that trip on their bucket list?
2. Tickets to an event or show: and since you’re buying anyway buy one extra so you can go with them. You know that feeling you get when you can finally do something because your children have reached a manageable age, it won’t be total chaos and you might get some actual enjoyment out of it? Well that’s how our parents feel about us now. We can all go to a big fancy restaurant and they won’t have to worry about us behaving badly. It’s such a glorious parenting achievement that I honestly don’t think that feeling ever wears off in parenthood. Go ahead, give your parents that feeling again.
3. Netflix & Amazon Prime memberships: If your parents are not already on the convenience train, it’s time. Usher them into this century.
4. Tech classes: Technology is growing at faster pace than it has ever grown before. There are lots of community classes available that can help teach your parents how to: sync email over multiple devices, buy and upload apps, use FaceTime, how to text (and use emojis!), how to watch Netflix and configure Apple TVs. Give them a little knowledge to help them keep in touch with you, and bonus: it might cut down on the IT support calls you have to field from them.
5. Family Photo Shoot: Hire a good family photographer in your area. If you have to, pitch in with other siblings. Folks, this one is too important, just do it. Click here, if you want some tips on what to wear for your photo shoot, your family photographer will thank you!
6. Hire a someone to digitize old photos and videos: again...echoing my sentiments from #5- too important, and it ultimately saves you a lot of time and hassle, get that stuff organized and saved so you never have to worry about losing those precious memories. It is such a weight lifted off your shoulders you never knew existed until it’s gone.
What are some of your slam dunk gifts of experience you have given or received? Maybe I can add more to my list!