Gift an experience and you give an experience that lasts a lifetime! As the holiday season approaches, I ask that we take a step back and consider gifting our children experiences rather than just “stuff.”
I will never forget the day my mom brought my sisters and me to see “The Nutcracker” downtown at the Warner Theatre. The memory of the deep red theatre seats, the magnificent ballerinas, the lights, the makeup, the artwork and the depth of the voices is something that will never leave me!
Sadly, in the instant gratification world of the Internet, the things my children “need” arrive within two days thanks to Amazon Prime. A trip to Target with my three-year-old is never complete without a small $5 toy that breaks before the day is over.
I can’t tell you the hours I’ve spent sorting Legos in hopes my boys may put together an old set. We’ve even bought plastic bins to house individual sets and tried sorting by color or theme, but it hasn’t made a difference! They have no interest in the old stuff, and still clamor for a new box. It scares me to think of the message I’m sending when I give in to them, so this year I’m making a change.
In this issue of Washington FAMILY, we have put together a Holiday Gift Guide dedicated to giving that gift of experience! We encourage you to explore our list and consider gifting some sewing, music, STEM or swimming lessons. Or, you could consider taking your little one out for a day of indoor fun at Adventure Theatre, Imagination Stage, Shadowland Adventures, Rockin’ Jump, American Pops or Washington Revels.
Don’t know the right experience to gift? Don’t worry! Offer a “coupon” for a day out with your favorite little one and let them pick the activity. Local blogger, Christella Morris, recently wrote a story about this very topic and said, “If you’re in our circle of friends or family, please don’t buy my kids presents but instead give them the gift of your time and love. It doesn’t have to cost anything, but it’s really the ONLY thing they need.”
Thomas Gilovich states, “Our experiences are a bigger part of ourselves than our material goods. You can really like your material stuff. You can even think that part of your identity is connected to those things, but nonetheless they remain separate from you. In contrast, your experiences really are part of you. We are the sum total of our experiences.”
I couldn’t agree more. I’m truly looking forward to gifting my children experiences (and maybe a few toys) this year. I want them to recall these moments with the same lasting wonder I have when remembering my family’s “Nutcracker” adventure many years ago. Creating memories together lasts much longer than any material item ever could, so I hope you join me in making it the season of experiential gifting!
Happy holidays from our FAMILY to yours,
Washington FAMILY Magazine