Experiences Over Things


Maybe it’s adding a fourth child. Maybe it’s that this is now my SEVENTH Christmas as a mother (WHAT?!). Maybe my awesome, minimalist sister is rubbing off on me, but this year I had NO desire to ask for or gift THINGS.

But I don’t want to be a Grinch either!! I LOVE giving gifts and Christmas and trees and twinkling lights as much as anyone. So I’ve been brainstorming how to give experiences instead of things. It’s actually true that things lose their value and excitement over time, but experiences become memories and we cherish them MORE as time passes.

So, here is my list of 15 Experiences you might consider giving to your loved ones. I can tell you for a FACT that I would prefer ANY of these gifts to a scented candle by a LOT.


1) Photo Shoot
When I was pregnant I had my first maternity photo shoot (took me four times to finally get one!) and she came and did a ‘lifestyle’ shoot where we just hung out in our home and the kids were jumping on the bed and we were cuddling and reading a book and I LOVED it so much. For someone to catch the mundane, every day moments, looks and giggles. I think giving someone the gift of a photoshoot would be incredible.

2) Prayer Journal
The experience of communing with God, pouring out your heart to Him and recording it so you can go back and remember His goodness is absolutely priceless. This Write the Word Journal is a great one, full of scripture and then PLENTY of space to interact with and experience it each day.

3) Fitness Program
Of course I’m going to mention a fitness program. Giving someone the gift of health is an amazing experience. But it doesn’t just have to be a workout program or a subscription to Beachbody on Demand. It could be paying for their entrance in a race, obstacle course or tennis or golf lessons. Being active brings JOY and might keep your loved one around longer too – so it’s a win/win.

4) Tickets to a LIVE event
A sporting game, concert or play is such a sensory delight in a day and age where we experience so much behind a screen. To see the sweat on a performer’s face, and laugh along with hundreds of others is an experience that won’t soon be forgotten.

5) House Cleaning
I would seriously CRY if I was gifted this! If you are not a mom with four small children then you probably don’t get this, but if you KNOW a mom with four small kids then GET IT for her! Trust me, the experience of getting to go out for a few hours and come back to a spotless home will be nothing short of heavenly.

6) Annual pass to a museum or zoo
So often when we go to specialty places like this we stay ALL day because we want to “get the most” out of our entrance fee, but when you have an annual pass you can slow down, smell the roses, enjoy the beauty of the local botanical garden, or an hour or two at a local pool or water park. And this is a gift that will keep on giving for a full YEAR!

7) Baby-sitting
This is again, probably one of those gifts only a mom with four small children would REALLY appreciate, but so many parents just have a TERRIBLE time finding babysitting or use theirs up for work or other events and never get date nights. And even if you have ‘offered’ in the past, we hate to ask – so set a date, and give the gift of sanity – I mean, childcare, to your friends with kids.

8) Coffee
Yes, this could mean giving a gift card to a coffee shop, but MORE than that, give the experience of a coffee date with YOU! So often we say, “We should really get some coffee!” but in our busy lives, we seldom actually PLAN to do it! At least that’s how it is for me. I would just DIE to get this gift – not only because I love me some coffee, but because coffee with a good friend is like therapy!

9) Spa Time
Rest. We all need more of it – amiright? Why not give someone the gift of relaxation. A massage, a facial, a mani or pedi, that relaxing spa music, those robes. It’s an experience we all NEED and seldom get!

10) E-course or Online academy
Now days you can learn pretty much ANY skill from the comfort of your own home. There are so many little online academy’s I would LOVE to take – ones on de-cluttering, goal setting, entrepreneurship, photography. It’s an experience that will enrich someone for the rest of their LIFE as they get to gain a new skill.

11) Adventure sports
Sky-diving has never been my thing, but my sister and her husband did it and it’s apparently a once in a lifetime experience. Or maybe para sailing or water skiing. There are tons of adventure sports that we all “wish” we could do, and even if it doesn’t turn out as picturesque as you envision – it’ll be a great story!

12) Personal Stylist
We all have to get dressed, every single day. But most people don’t LOVE the way they look, they don’t know what their style is or where to shop or how to buy clothes that fit them. Why not give the gift of a personal stylist. You can look one up locally, or find someone online. This experience will not only be fun because….shopping! but will be a gift they use every single day.

13) Cooking Class
Eating is another one of those pesky things we have to do every single day. (I actually love cooking, so not so pesky to me, except when I’m super busy, and it’s getting late, and the kids are melting down and we have nothing that is quick to prepare) There are some GREAT cooking classes for all levels, even some you can have in the comfort of your own home (if you live in the South Florida area you should check out At Your Kitchen). Any gift that ends with a delicious meal is a winner in my book!

14) Conference
There are so many amazing conferences for men, women, writers, artists, photographers, entrepreneurs – you name it, there’s a great gathering for it. These times of refreshing and learning are always something we “wish” we could do, but again, unless someone gifts it to us, or puts it on the calendar and says – GO! we seldom follow through. What an amazing experience to give someone than to provide a space to get away and be enriched in their life.

15) Organizer
Having an organized home and life is one of those invaluable things that seems ever illusive. Hiring someone to come over and organize a part of your loved one’s life could be an absolute GOD-SEND! Sometimes we are so bogged down in the clutter and details, it takes a professional outsider to help sort things in a way that makes sense and keeps our life moving forward and working well.

I can’t wait to find amazing experiences to gift to my family and friends and fill our lives not just our closets and shelves.

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