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Making memories: Christmas experience gifts
By Tammy May

As you’re planning your Christmas present list this year, keep in mind that the most memorable gifts are not things, but experiences. Gifts of stuff get lost among the stuff we already possess. On the other hand, people are far more likely to remember shared experiences. Stuff is easily forgotten, whereas experiences are long remembered.

What are some ways you can give the gift of experience without breaking the bank? Fortunately, experiences don’t need to include an adrenalin rush to be memorable. Think back to some of your favourite memories. I’m sure that many of your best experiences are simple and unrushed—good times with good people.

The ‘gift of experience’ ideas below come with that principle in mind. In each instance, I’ve also suggested a small symbolic present to place under the tree. The accompanying card will need to explain the experience that comes with the gift. For example, a set of cupcake foils could be accompanied with an invitation that reads: Cupcake baking at my house on Saturday 5 January at 1pm followed by afternoon tea.

Children love helping and making things. A cake tin or cupcake decorations could symbolize your gift of a shared baking session. A pair of safety glasses could include an invitation to build a wooden toy together. Some craft supplies could come with an afternoon craft session. A paintbrush and colour chart could represent the gift of repainting your child’s bedroom together.

Shared experiences in the great outdoors. Does someone you love need help in the garden? A pair of gardening gloves could symbolize a day or two spent gardening together or building a vegetable box. A map could represent an afternoon spent bike riding, hiking or driving together. A postcard could display a special place where you’ll take your friend for a picnic, morning tea, or a special meal.

An evening of entertainment. A bag of popcorn could represent shouting your friend to an evening at the cinema—movie of their choice. A selection of recipes could come with an invitation to choose a meal that you’ll cook for them. A bottle of massage oil could signify a special date night. A board game or deck of cards could come with an invitation to a games night.

There are lots of cheap and loving ways to give the gift of special experiences to the people you cherish. Keep it simple and focus on the things they enjoy.

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