No matter how hard you are trying to find perfect gifts for your loved ones this holiday season, it may be difficult. Even though you are trying to guess what the other person may like or want, the gift becomes more of a reflection of your idea of their desires and preferences. Long lines at stores the next day after Christmas for returns or exchanges evidence how often we are wrong at this frenzied holiday gifting game, despite our best intentions to please and spoil our friends and family.
Your gift giving power may also limited by time and budgetary constrains. It just adds stress to what is meant to be a holiday of rest and spiritual rejoicing. How about you save some time this holiday season, rather than searching for and buying “perfect gifts”, consider creating and giving experiences and memories? Yes, material goods may give us a boost of joy when we get them but it fades quickly. You may anticipate a desired object and feel some pleasure when you finally get it as a gift. But once you have it, the excitement is generally short lived, as we tend to get used to “ownership” of objects rather quickly. Meanwhile, the experiences give us much more pleasure, as it extends from joy and surprise of “here and now” when get get it, into the future, when we recall the gift as a cherished memory of a special and joyful experience.
Also, experiences give us a gift of a companionship, which is a great boost to our psychological wellness in general, and especially at times when we are stressed out and feeling lonely. Also, doing things allows us to talk to others about it later, thus creating more opportunities for positive relational connections through pleasant conversations.
Here are some ideals of experiential gifts:
- Get a gift card for a meal at their favorite restaurant, if buying for a friend. Or invite your friend or a loved one for a meal together with you.
- Make a home cooked meal.
- Get tickets to an event.
- Plan a family trip.
- Give a gift of relaxation, such as a massage session.
- Create “a spa” treatment at home for your spouse and offer a massage.
- Offer your friends to baby-sit their children, while they go out and share adult-only time.
- Purchase an annual museum membership for your friends or family.
There are many more ideas that can be created using this idea of “less stuff, more fun!” The limit is only your imagination. Happy and health holidays to you and your loved ones!