Give the Gift of Experiences

Dec 3, 2021

As we welcome December, there is considerable merriment in the air, which may also be accompanied by a frenetic undertone if we’re honest. It can be overwhelming to balance work and your personal life while striving to create a memorable holiday season, so our focus for December blogs will be on stress management and family health. How timely.

So, I couldn’t wait to plant this seed to give your loved ones a little emotional lift when they unwrap your present this month: consider purchasing loved ones an “experience gift” instead of a tangible one this season. Research has found that experience gifts may bring more happiness than physical gifts, because of both the anticipation factor, as well as the lasting memory potential. And there's bonus points if it is something that you could do together or with a loved one. For example, you could buy tickets to the children’s theatre for grandparents to take their young grands to, or a series of “dates” to be used with your spouse, children, or parents throughout the year, an admission or membership to a local zoo or museum, concert or comedy tickets, etc.

After living in big cities and in small apartments in the Northeast for 12 years, I became somewhat of a “minimalist”, desiring to not acquire unnecessary objects and clutter that doesn’t fall into Marie Kondo’s categories of useful or “sparking joy” on the regular basis.

What have been some of my favorite gifts that perhaps you could replicate as you gift-give? Last year, we were gifted a family session with our photographer, and that is a gift I will cherish for years to come. My husband and I like treat each other to massage or a treatment at a local spa and have always loved when we're gifted a gift certificate to a favorite or new restaurant. My daughter and I enjoyed being gifted season tickets to the children’s theatre. And finally, as my brother and I become teenagers, our family would take a family cruise over the holidays in lieu of gifts, and those made for some of the most amazing lifelong memories as a family. We fully intend to continue this tradition as our kids age.

The aforementioned have all gently forced me make time for cherished memories that may otherwise have gotten back-burnered because of limited time, bandwidth, or resources. You don’t need a weekend away to get the benefit; consider a wine tasting or cooking class, a yoga class with your sister or mom, or festival tickets in your hometown. And in many ways, now more than ever, people crave togetherness and gatherings to make up for lost time social distancing.

I hope this helps inspire your shopping and furthermore, that you are the recipient of something you’re looking forward to in the new year!

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– Keeley Mezzancello, MS, RD, LDN, CHWC

Health Advisor, Registered Dietitian | Email Keeley

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