Choosing experience gifts over things could make you happier this holiday season.
Like many of you, I have spent much of the past year following the KonMari Method of decluttering my home. What I learned from reading The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up has been a constant theme in my life. “Does this item spark joy?” is a question repeating over and over again as I’ve been faced with the decision to declutter something or even bring something new into my home. It’s a method that has worked wonders in my life…until Christmas.
As I look at the giant stack of boxes that keep coming into my house for Christmas presents, I wonder where I went so wrong. How did I once again get caught up in the value of “things” over “joy”? Simply seeing these boxes and knowing the impact the clutter inside will have on our house makes me anxious. In fact, many of the things I’ve “KonMari’d” from this past year were Christmas presents from past years. Why did I allow myself to get caught up in shopping, shopping, shopping, yet again?
I’ve already made the mistakes I’ve made this year, but I vow right here and now that next holiday season will be different. Instead of choosing things, our family is going to choose experiences. It’s the experiences we share together… from big to small… that brings happiness to our lives. By not allowing more clutter into our house and by bringing more experiences to our life, we will be released from the stress of being suffocated by a house full of things.
As I think to next year, some ideas I have for experience gifts for my family are:
The “Get Away” Gift: This past year I had the amazing opportunity to go on 2 different cruises with Princess Cruise Lines and each time I thought about how much my family would love that experience. Whether we choose to go over the holidays next year, or I decide to use this vacation as a future gift, there is nothing better than a family vacation as an experience gift. (PS… it’s not too late for you to decide to do this as your gift this year. Princess Cruise Lines has both digital and plastic gift certificates you can gift to others!)
Whether you choose a ski vacation, a beach getaway, or a simple “staycation” near home, experience gifts of time away with your family and loved ones will definitely bring joy.
Theme Park Gifts: One of the best days my family had this summer was the day we spent at Worlds of Fun, a local amusement park. In fact, I don’t remember laughing quite as much together as we did on this day. We had a blast riding roller coasters, water rides, and eating bad theme park food. Whether you do a seasons pass or just a one day ticket, theme park gifts are great experience gifts for any family!
The Gift of Learning: This past year I took a photo organization class through Life Captured Inc, and it was one of the best experiences I’ve had. This class helped me to declutter my online photos, as well as develop a photography work flow that helps to keep me work and personal photos in order. I can’t think of a better “experience” gift than the gift of learning something new. Whether it’s a cake decorating class, a hand lettering class (I took this one and LOVED it), a craft beer 101 class, or something else, giving the experience gifts of bettering yourself by learning something new is an awesome idea.
Concerts and Live Events: I love live music and live theatre. Most major cities have “traveling Broadway shows” as well as live music events. Fun experience gifts would be tickets to a favorite concert or seasons passes to a local theatre league. You can find both family friendly shows as well as shows for future date nights out! And season passes are a gift that can keep on giving, all year long.
Sporting Events: Since winning the world series, all my son has asked for for Christmas is a bundle of tickets to next years Royals games. Give your favorite sports enthusiast tickets and I’m sure they would be a very happy camper. Another idea is if you have a runner in your life, pay their entry fee to a race they might be interested in. This would provide some great motivation to them to better themselves as they train for their next big event.
As you think about what brings you joy this holiday season, I think most of you will agree joy doesn’t come from things, but the experiences we share together. The chance to bond with my family and friends over an experience brings me so much more happiness than any single thing possibly could.
What do you think? Have you ever chosen to give experience gifts over things? Next year, mark my word, my family is going to discover the joy of giving experiences over things, and I know it will make us all much happier!