Some readers loved this idea. Others quickly shot me email about my obvious cheapness, but Andrea, Andrea left an idea in the comments. Oh, how I love ideas.
What I've started to do is give "experience" gifts. For example, for friends of my daughter and sons, I designed gift cards letting them know we wanted to take them to the YMCA for a swim and out for a treat afterward. My daughter's friend already "cashed in" her gift certificate with us, and it was such a blessing to spend time with her and my daughter. -Andrea, Whispers in the Silence
I thought Andrea was on to something with this whole gifting experiences idea, and so I asked her to share her story. Here's Andrea.
Ever since our children starting receiving party invitations, I’ve perched on a mental teeter-totter. It’s a gift giving one. To gift stuff. Teeter. Or not to gift stuff. Totter.
With every invite I agonized over the desire to provide a “cool” meaningful gift versus following my conviction that I was contributing to our culture of excess. Up until this year I leaned heavily to the teeter side. And then God stepped in with an answer.
His inspiration? Gift an experience.
Though it requires greater thought than buying the latest toy or gadget, that in itself is a gift – the gift of taking the time think, really think, about another.
To get you started on how to gift experiences (or what to suggest when family and friends are looking for gift ideas for you), here are my top five tips plus a few ideas.
List what you know about the person…their favorite hobbies, activities, interests, places to go. For a child you don’t know well, ask their parents.
Take stock of your skills, abilities, resources and interests. Know how to play a musical instrument? Skilled at sewing, cooking, jewelry-making, woodworking, cosmetology, etc? Have memberships to museums, rec centers, sports arenas? Opportunities to pass on knowledge or share the wealth of your resources make great gifts and often cost little or nothing!
If gifting an experience to a minor, run your idea by the parents first to gain their approval.
Use Groupon to keep a look out for experience-related deals which fit within your budget.
Find a fun – and eco-friendly – way to package your gift. Here are a few examples of what I’ve gifted in the past:
A tri-fold card:
Two standard bi-fold cards:
A gift package for my Dad (yes, it has stuff, but it also has a certificate for going on a bike ride together)
My Favorite Gift-giving Ideas
- Gift cards to a favorite food place
- Money towards lessons, activities or memberships (swim/dance lessons, cooking classes)
- A play date to swim and go out for a treat afterward
- A visit to a museum, amusement park, science center, the zoo
- Doing an athletic activity together (hiking)
- Pass along a skill/knowledge (sewing lessons, cooking lessons)
- Offer to provide a certain number of meals/special dish for someone
- And my favorite gift that I’ve received? A facial.
Have you ever gifted an experience? If so, we’d love to hear your ideas here.
Thanks, Andrea. You know I love this idea and your cards are so creative. People in my world, prepare to receive an experience.