The inspiration for this post came from a passage in a book one of my colleagues recently published. Robert Wall’s eBook is entitled Escaping “Giftmas”: Getting Right-Side-Up about Gifts in an Upside-Down Holiday Culture. When I first bought the book, I was browsing the table of contents, where “Addendum: Valentine’s Day” caught my eye. “The gift needs to create a memory,” Robert said. This applies for any gift occasion. One of his examples was the difference between giving one’s wife a teddy bear vs. dressing as a bear and doing an Elvis Presley rendition of his “Teddy Bear” recording. Obviously, the second has the potential to be more memorable.
Experiential Gifts Are Memory Makers
I ask myself: What elements mean the most to me in sharing special occasions with someone? This question particularly relates here to times when gifts are typically given.
- Fun – Enjoyment and maybe laughter are terrific ingredients.
- Surprise – Some bit of what happens includes a surprise.
- Inexpensive – Free is even better!
- No actual “gift” – The experience is the gift – there is nothing to take up space at home, unless it is short-term (think: edible).
- Romantic – If the people involved are a couple, any event can include threads of romance (holding hands, hugs, candle light, dancing in the backyard, reading a poem).
Reflecting on memory making experiential gifts I have witnessed with friends and family, + some I have given or received myself, here is a list that might jumpstart your own ideas.
- skating rink: roller or ice
- breakfast picnic of fastfood in an old cemetery
- a child making & decorating a 3-tiered cake for her 9th birthday (with supervision)
- gift basket to take on a date – love songs CD, candles, cookies, sparkling cider
- belly dancing lessons
- amusement park or carnival rides
- a special drive to appreciate holiday lights
- writing together (2 or more people) – see 10-minute writing post
- a new or rarely played game (creative ones like dictionary dabble and pictionary)
What experiential gifts have made memories in your life? Are you percolating some new ideas for your next gift giving event? Please share your fun in the Comments section.