By Jodi Milner

Jodi Milner author/bio pic

As we are swiftly approaching Christmas and the time where we share our love with our family and friends in the form of gift-giving, I’d like to present a twist on your gift-giving approach. While things are nice to have, especially when we need them, consider creating an experience. This can be as easy as finding a fun game to play as a family, supplies for a craft to do alongside a child, or an outdoor toy that encourages teamwork and physical activity. It could also be something as complicated as traveling to a new place as a family.


Why? More things often equal more stress, especially if they tend to clutter desktops and the corners of bedrooms. While it’s easy to like all of those things, it’s harder to be grateful for them unless they are truly useful. Experiences on the other hand naturally generate a sense of gratitude for having done them. 

There have been several studies comparing purchases of material possessions vs experiential purchases and as a whole, those who seek out experiences tend to be happier and have a more rounded outlook on life than those focused on the material. They also tend to be more generous.

Try this:

As you go about figuring out what to get for your loved ones for Christmas, and also what types of things you’d like to ask for, seek out ways to turn a portion of the gift-giving into giving and receiving future experiences. In light of COVID, you’ll have to be a little creative when it comes to visiting places or going to new restaurants, but it can be done! 


I personally hate shopping and trying to choose things even when I need them, so getting stuff has never been the issue. However, the flip side to that problem is I struggle with getting rid of things as well – especially gifts that came from kindness that I can’t use or don’t know what to do with. For this reason, I love getting experience type gifts, where it shows that the person has put some thought into the gift, wants to spend more time with me, and best of all, I get memories instead of stuff. On the same note, giving things that I’m not sure will be used and will end up in a pile somewhere doesn’t feel gratifying. If anything, it causes a boatload of stress because I worry they might have the same issue I do with getting rid of things. Choosing to give an experience instead, even if it’s a streaming movie and microwave popcorn, is always appreciated.

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