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Is the stress of the holiday gift-giving season starting to make your shoulders tight already? Has the meaning of the holidays gotten lost in the constant assault of holiday gift ads everywhere you turn? How does anyone afford the holidays without going into deep debt? Especially this year!
Why Have We Become Over-Consumers?
In case you are new here, my husband Craig and I live full-time in our RV. We have been living a full-time travel lifestyle for almost 4 years now, and WE LOVE IT. It has taught us to slow down and live a more intentional life which involves living in a smaller, mobile space to experience the joy of full-time travel and adventures. But, the holidays are still an area of stress for me. I am a giving person, and I love to see our grandkid’s eyes light up with excitement at a new toy.
While that moment fills me up for a short time, it wains pretty quickly, especially when I see the piles and piles of toys from other well-meaning relatives and friends too. How can one child play with 50 toys? It’s just not possible. And the worst part, they will most likely NOT remember a specific toy. At least not unless it’s tied to an experience. And sometimes they are. I am not lobbying for no toys for the kiddos at all. I mean, it’s part of being a kid.
When I was a child, we didn’t have an overabundance of “things” growing up. I think that’s one reason I’ve spoiled our own kids and grandkids with too many toys and gadgets because I didn’t want them to want for anything like I did. At least I thought I wanted more back then. WOW, I did a fine job of passing on the “over-consumption” gene, didn’t I? While I take most of the blame, it is safe to say that society played a huge role. When all you see from September through December are ads everywhere for the latest and greatest holiday gift ideas, always “things.” It’s bound to suck you in occasionally.
Holiday Gifts That Keep on Giving
If I think back to my most memorable holiday gifts growing up, a big one comes to mind. My first concert! It was a Captain and Tennille concert. Even if you never heard of them, you surely heard of “Love Will Keep Us Together”! Regardless, it was my favorite gift because of the experience it gave me. It truly made me appreciate live music (yeah, it was no Chopin, but for a 12-year-old, it was magic) and to this day, going to concerts is one of my favorite hobbies because of how it makes me feel. I will always be grateful for that experience.
I want that back for myself and, most importantly, for our kids and grandkids. I want to focus on giving them new experiences that will create meaningful and lasting memories. Ones that could shape their lives. And, I want to help you do the same, especially if you are struggling to bring the joy back to the holidays and kick the stress to the curb.
So happy you are on board with me. Believe me, when I say this will be hard for me and maybe you too! I am so conditioned to buy the shiny objects – hello, Amazon. I know we CAN do this together. I’ve created a list of experiential gift ideas from myself and other nomads like me—those who have probably done a much better job than me at focusing on experiential gift-giving. I truly hope these ideas and stories will spark your own creativity this holiday gift-giving season. Let’s all get back to a joyful holiday season.
I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that I know 2020 was a very stressful and unusual year for most. Some of these gift ideas will not be possible until we get back to some new normal, but there’s no time like the present to start dreaming about simple things like being able to hug each other and perhaps going to see a live concert. This year more than ever, let’s give each other EXPERIENCES to look forward to.
Easy Holiday Gift Giving Experiences
Most of these holiday gift experiences, sorted by interests, allow you to purchase, plan, or hand-make right from the comfort of your home. There is a variety of costs from just your time up to hundreds of dollars. These ideas are fun, creative, and outside the box approaches to the traditional monotony of shopping for gifts. And most of all, it could be the experience of a lifetime for the recipient that will be cherished for years to come.
The Adventurer, Traveler and Nature Lover
This section is jam packed. I’m sure it has something to do with the fact that this is totally me!
The Sports Enthusiast
The Health & Wellness Guru
The Music Lover
The Foodie, Coffee and Adult Beverage Lover
Put on your feed bags and get ready for another big list because I’m ALL this, ALL the time!
The Arts & Culture Lover
The Animal Lover
The Whole Family
Your Holiday Gift Experience Ideas
Phew, what a list! I hope it was helpful to get you on the path to giving holiday gifts that create a memorable experience to be cherished for a lifetime.
Now it’s your turn. We would all love to read your holiday gift experience ideas in the comments. And most of all, we want to hear the story and feelings behind why the gift was so special to you or the recipient.
Happy Holidays to you and your loved ones.