“Christmas doesn’t come from a store, maybe Christmas perhaps means a little bit more.” —Dr. Seuss
Admittedly, I am not much of a stuff person. It is experiences that I relish, and there is growing research showing that others do as well. Experientialism is trumping materialism—especially with the Millennials and Bollennials (Baby Boomers who identify with the Millennials, a term I recently heard).
Maybe this year consider giving Christmas gifts that keep on giving versus ones that will just end up hanging in a closet or laying on a tucked-away shelf collecting dust.
Take a loved one on a trip
I find most people have a travel hit list. Try ticking off one of their destinations. Years ago, before my father passed away, I asked where was the one place he still wanted to see in his lifetime. It was Russia because he loved its language, music and literature, and he wanted to do it via the waterways. So, I took him on a cruise that went from Leningrad to St. Petersburg. I promise you that was the best gift I could have given him. He cherished that experience and our time together until his very last breath.
Write a letter of appreciation and frame it
Two years ago, a friend of mine received a silver-framed handwritten note from his daughter, recounting all the things she adored and respected about him. It is one of his most cherished gifts from her and has it displayed on a tabletop in his living room so he can read it every day.
Make a family recipe book
My absolute favorite gift from my sister is a book-bound collection of recipes, called “Specialities de ma Mere.” My mother grew up in Greece, then spent many years in France, where she learned to cook. I have always been blessed with eating her fabulous French and Greek cuisine. I love that the recipes are all written in my mother’s hand. I display this wonderful gift behind a plexiglass cookbook holder on a shelf above my kitchen sink. I was given these recipes more than ten years ago. Every time I look at my mother’s recipe book, I think of both her and my sister.
Adopt an elephant
Last year, I adopted an orphaned elephant that was born the same year as my godson. The thought being that they could grow up together, and one day I will bring my little guy to meet his elephant brother. I did the adoption through The David Sheldrick Wildlife Trust in Nairobi, Kenya. What is really special about this gift is that every month, the elephant’s keeper sends out highlights from the previous month.
Other gift ideas
- Help someone face a fear of heights, take them to do a tandem skydive or trapeze experience.
- Make dinner for your siblings of foods they love.
- Throw a “because we love you” gathering.
- Clean out a friend’s garage.
Make this holiday indeed more special through gifts that will keep on giving!