If you are not one of those people who purchase Christmas presents all year long, October is the month you start to think about what you are getting those you care about for Christmas.
A few years ago, in about October, I started re-thinking my approach to gift giving. I was thinking back to gifts I had been given as a child – either for Christmas or for my birthday. I knew I got gifts – I saw pictures of me at Christmastime or my birthday opening presents, but my own personal memories of what I got during those special times is faded.
I DO remember ONE singular gift I received as a child – I remember waking up on the morning of my 10th birthday to find staring at me an adorable Cabbage Patch Kid. Her name was Diana Mindy and I was SO excited to get her!!!! But she is the only gift I can actually ever pinpoint. Isn’t that strange? What do you remember getting as a child? I remember gifts I DID NOT get as a child – I wanted an Easy Bake Oven and a Lightbright but never got those.
Do you know what I have specific and a multitude of memories of? Things I DID with my family – learning to ski with my dad; going camping; going on road trips with my mom; going to Disney with my mom; going to Aruba with my mom as a senior in high school. I could tell you a handful of details about each and every one of those experiences, and THAT is what changed my mindset about gift giving.
Experiences change our brain. Encountering NEW situations and taking on new adventures rewires us, renews us, re-entwines us with our loved ones. It reconnects us to ourselves, to each other and to this life. What better gift is there?
The giving of experiences doesn’t have to be a big trip somewhere…although it could be! Last year we gave our children a short trip to Quebec (we live within driving distance and went between Christmas and New Years last year), a concert experience, season’s passes to a local water park, a 2-week high adventure Boy Scout summer camp for my son and my daughter and I took a super cheap flight to Paris in January and spent 4 nights in an AirBnB and explored the city. It was the BEST Christmas we have had in a long time!!! We still talk about every single one of those adventures and will continue to do so.
Life is short. Take the trip. See the concert. Go to the show. Get the pass. Bypass the mountain of gifts that get forgotten by January 15th and give the gift that keeps on giving…memories to last a lifetime! Don’t miss out!