{Joyous Holidays} Gifts of Experience

AfricaArchieldGiftsOfExperience

I love making homemade goodies and crafts to give as holiday gifts, but there are those holidays seasons where time is at a premium, and I could easily fall into the holiday buying frenzy at the big box stores or the mall.

It is doing those busy holiday seasons that I remember to give gifts of experience.
Even if I am not closely connected to someone, I know an experience will be memorable.

My daughter’s birthday was a few weeks ago. I did not get her a big ticket present or even something tangible. I gave her an experience. She had always wanted to attend a murder mystery dinner, so I made her birthday party a murder mystery. She is still raving about what an amazing surprise it was.

I don’t expect to create an experience quite like that for my nieces and nephews, but I feel I can get close to giving them an experience to remember.

Perhaps it is the educator in me, but I find the best experiences are learning experiences.
Sometimes people forget learning can be fun!
I typically fall back on the trifecta of science, art, and reading.

Since time is at a premium (and usually funds are, too), I avoid heading to any store this time of year unless it is a grocery store or farmer’s market. I do most of my holiday shopping online.

My go to place is Amazon. I have the prime membership which means I get two-day shipping free (no minimum order amount), Prime Instant Video (some titles are free and titles are not), a lending library, and more. I use the free two-day shipping feature the most! It comes in handy this time of year and anytime I need textbooks. If I see a good science kit (or the makings of one), bulk art supplies, or book that inspired me at a certain age, I can buy it and have it on my doorstep two days later. No getting lost for hours wandering around in a big box store or mall. Click. Purchase. Done.

FYI: Amazon has prime memberships free for 30 days right now. I hate to say take advantage, but if you are time strapped, take advantage. If you have no need for the membership after the holiday season, cancel. The free shipping is worth you putting a reminder note on your calendar a few days before your 30 days is up so you can decide to keep or cancel the membership.

For younger children, I love ABC Mouse (abcmouse.com). It is online environment for the toddler through kindergarten range. They do yearly memberships. My son loves getting on and learning! I even use some of the printables to enhance the online skills with the offline (tracing, color, etc.).

Note the huge cost savings feature. You can put up to three children on one membership. It is definitely the gift that keeps on giving. Right now they doing the first month free. They also offer online gift codes that you can send to the parents.

Most of you likely already have this in your home, but for the few who do not, I want to offer my favorite perpetual experience gift, Netflix. This is not one that I have actually bought for anyone else (they do offer online gift cards), and it is not purely education (though it can be); however, it has brought a lot of joy into my household.

I first subscribed to Netflix around this time of the year a few years ago. The tradition in my family is to watch movies all day on Winter Solstice. At some point during the day, we watch a movie directed by Hayao Miyazaki. What better way to celebrate the darkest day of the year than sitting in the dark staring at the light? That particular year was the first time I could not afford to actually go to the movie theater all day and buy a Miyazaki movie to add to our collection. I was upset, but finally realized I could do something similar that year. I got Netflix and lots of snack foods. We invited over friends who brought more snack foods. It was a so much better than going to the movie theater all day! That experience birthed an evolution in our tradition.

You have my three digital ways of creating experiences as gifts for the holidays. What are some ways you create or will create gifts of experience? I can’t wait to get inspired in the comments.

Have a peaceful, joyous, love-filled day!

africa

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