I used to love getting presents. I would snoop in my parents’ closet weeks before my birthday or Christmas, trying to sneak a peek of the toys they bought me. As I grew older, I still liked gifts, though they became more practical, like books or bags or stuff for my home.
Now when I think of giving a gift, I like to think of it as giving an experience. I like giving someone tickets to a play or concert they’ve wanted to go to. I like taking my son to the Children’s Museum or the zoo and leaving without a souvenir. His memories can be his souvenirs. (And, let’s be honest – I’ve taken plenty of pictures we can look over.)
Some of my favorite gifts have been tickets to an event: on my 16th birthday I got two floor seats to an upcoming Aerosmith show; for Christmas two years ago I got tickets to the musical Matilda; for two occasions I’ve gotten tickets to see Jerry Seinfeld live… I can remember these all so clearly. But other gifts are harder to remember, unless it’s something I use often and can remember when I got it, or unless I see pictures from the party or gathering and see what I unwrapped.
I don’t think experiences need to be saved to be given as gifts. We recently treated my son to Bubble Guppies Live! because it was in town for one night only, and it is one of his favorite shows. But overall, my favorite type of gift to get is an experience – and it doesn’t have to be an event! The act of being together, doing something together, is the actual gift. A handwritten coupon for a homemade dinner is just as great an experience – especially if the coupon includes the giver doing the dishes afterwards!