I love presents as much as the next person. But the BEST gifts are experiences, not things. Think about it.
In your whole life, how many presents can your recall? Now how many of them do you recall because they were wonderful or meaningful in some way? (Not because they were ugly, weird, etc.?) I’ll bet less than 20. Maybe 12. In your whole life.
Now think about some meaningful experiences that you have had with others. Experiences that were someone else’s original plan, not yours. Experiences that were offered to you to participate in. As gifts. I would bet that you could remember over 75% of them, which would take you well over 12.
The gift of shared experience offers us so much more. This gift is by nature more giving. It is by nature more thoughtful. And it is by nature more enduring. Who doesn’t want to give and receive a gift that is thoughtful and enduring?
And don’t forget fun. Usually these gifts are pretty fun. Instead of the gift opening with the one second exclamation of “wow, thank so much,” you’re going on a ride together. Buckle up.
Still unsure about what I’m talking about? Here are some real life examples. Your friend invites you to pick out your own pet for your birthday. Friend will purchase whatever pet you want. S/he will take you to as many places as you want and help you get your choice including supplies. Example two – you have a very demanding life, but you love it. Once a year, however, you and your sibling go away for a few days together to unwind. You pick the place together, your sibling plans the itinerary. The whole thing. You are thrilled to go without having to be the organizer. Example three – your spouse invites you out to lunch and a walk in the country just because it’s Saturday, and the sun is shining, and s/he wants to hold your hand for a while.
Be open to giving and accepting the precious gift of shared experience. The more open we are, the more we will have, and the richer our lives will be.