Gifts of experiences are ones that provide a lifetime of memories. -

Day after day, we give you a glimpse into what makes us tick and the things around us that provide some degree of meaning or impact in some way. We tell you about our favorite games and express the benefits of incorporating games into education and family life. We share thoughts on mobile phones and why kids should have them. We talk about technology and kitchen gadgets and all the things that we utilize in our day-to-day lives. During the holidays, we take time to compile guides filled with ideas you might consider during your gift-giving preparations. (In case you are wondering; yes, we’ll be doing that again this year along with our xx days of giveaways!) We hope you find value in what we suggest and use our thoughts as a reference point for what might fit into the various aspects of your lives: from cleaning products to gifts for others.

But there’s more to us than that. I told you a few weeks ago how we’re trying to declutter and provided a list of places to donate used items. We simply have too much stuff. I don’t want to say my girls are spoiled, but I’ll be the first to admit there are few things that they want and don’t already have. They may not have the latest iPhone or iPad, but they have one which is more than many kids can say. They have a computer but it’s older and have access to my Surface Pro if they need it. Video games and Legos, board games as far as the eye can see and, well, just about anything else they might want. They use their own money to buy some things new and others when we visit a thrift store.

The other day I was chatting with another mom about the difficulties of buying gifts for kids who don’t NEED anything else. I explained that we’re to the point that we encourage the gift of experience from family members and that’s what we like to give as well. Often we make arrangements for something they didn’t even know they wanted and other times we accommodate a longstanding wish.

It’s something we’ve done for a while. A number of years ago we coordinated with the cable company and purchased a DVR service for my MIL. She hadn’t asked for one and said she didn’t think she would use it but appreciated the sentiment. During her recent visit, we joked about it and all agreed that it’s one of the best gifts we have ever given her. She would have never purchased it for herself but we recognized that it’s an experience and a service that she would love so we took the leap for her.

Our daughter was thrilled with the gift of tickets to see Yo-Yo Ma in Concert. -

A number of years ago, when Madison first started playing the cello, a gift from my mom included dinner and tickets to see the symphony. We followed it up last year with tickets to see her musical idol, Yo-Yo Ma. These experiences are something she will remember for years to come.

Give gifts of experiences such as indoor skydiving to create memories of a lifetime. -

It’s something we’ve seen more and more as the kids get older. A few years ago, my brother decided to give the kids the gift of flight and bought them airtime in a wind tunnel in Chicago. There’s nothing that can remove that memory from my daughters’ minds. It was an amazing gift idea.

This gift of a cruise is one they'll remember their whole lives. -

Each year for Christmas, we gift my parents with tickets to some event. Over the past years, the list has included a high-end auto show, a concert, a comedian and a theatrical musical. It’s not just about gifts to and from others, either. We also do this within our own family. The biggest decision we made was when we did not to exchange Christmas gifts with each other, including the kids, and opted for a family cruise for the holiday. Several people were surprised to hear we didn’t fill the tree with gifts to the kids, but the girls said they loved the experience the cruise offered. They’re old enough to understand that not everything has to be wrapped neatly and put under the tree with a bow on top.

Kids like gifts of experiences (like a salon visit) they might not otherwise have. -

And finally, the reason this idea has boiled to the surface and made its way to SahmReviews… Kennedy recently celebrated her 12th birthday and we agreed to take her to the salon to have her hair done in any way she wanted. Hombre, color, highlights and cut. We didn’t object. It’s an experience she has wanted but we didn’t feel was right for her until now. Yes, we could have paid to have this done at any time, but why not make it special and give it as a gift instead of something that she didn’t want (or need) as much.

This is something that has been on my mind for a while, but I’ve never really written much about. As we approach the holidays (yes, it’s just around the corner), think about all the things you can purchase that will add value to the lives of the recipients, but also think outside the box and give gifts of experiences.

If you put thought into each gift, you’re sure to find something that they’ll love and will appreciate for years to come.

What’s your favorite experience to give as a gift?

16 thoughts on “Sometimes the Best Gift is an Experience

  1. I love this idea. For our last anniversary, all my wife wanted to do was go camping. It was cheap and easy (and I didn’t have to plan much), but it was a wonderful experience. Sometimes we just need to ditch the worldly stuff and let the experiences bring us together.

  2. Such a great post…most people have too much stuff. Our experience is that our girls get to go to a week long overnight camp in the summer. Has been horse camp the last couple summers. One year they got downhill ski passes as well. Just wish my inlaws were on board with this… the gifts are horrible and waste of money, things aren’t even for their age range.

  3. That is a crazy cool idea. I’ve never actually thought of gifting an experience before, but it seems like the perfect way to gift someone with memories that last a lifetime.

  4. That really is so true, experiences can sometimes truly outweigh any monetary priced gift for sure. What a cool experience to share!

  5. I couldn’t agree with you more. Stuff is fun but experiences are WAY more valuable. We often give movie tickets and other passes to our niece and nephew for their birthdays and holidays.

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