- Sophie &Friends
A funny thing happens when you hit your mid-thirties.
Mind you, I sprinted past my thirties a few miles back. However, my sister Freda has just entered hers. She has reminded me how at this point in one's life one often reaches a gift receiving tipping point. It’s not that we don’t enjoy getting gifts. It’s just that the obligatory Christmas gift takes on a new meaning. Partly because we’ve all reached an age where we don’t really need “things” anymore. We don’t neeeed to have that boom box, or neeeed to have the newest gaming system. We’re adults now. If we actually do need something we go out and purchase it.
We’re at an age where our needs are grander in scale, and arguably more practical. We need a new washer/dryer, a new sofa, a new vehicle, a house. Big ticket items that don’t fit into a stocking. What we lack though, is time. Time to hang out with one another without outside obligations. Case in point, my mom’s 70th birthday this past September. Instead of planning some big blow out party, Freda and I played hooky from work and drove to Sonora, California, where my folks live, to just hang out and do whatever struck our mutual fancy. It was a totally laid back day. Not only did my mom have fun, but my sister and I got to spend some “road trip” time together, which is always a treat.
Museum Visits with Mom & Dad
So this Holiday, at my sister’s insistence, we are having a go at an “Experiential Christmas”. What exactly is that? Well, the best way I can describe it is this: it’s about giving someone a memory instead of an item. Granted, that memory might come with an item, such as tickets to a musical, or a cookbook with a particular page marked, a pair of new sneakers and a hiking path map, or a swatch of paint chips with the promise to help repaint the living room. The idea is not about the actual thing being presented. It’s about the shared experience.
Now, don’t be fooled into thinking this means you get out of doing your Christmas shopping! The Experiential Christmas actually takes a bit more thought than a trip to the mall. It takes really knowing your quarry and thinking about something that would be enjoyable for the two of you. Half of the fun is in the planning. My sister and husband are hatching something very special, a surprise I can’t mention until after Christmas. The fun they are having together in the prepatory stages alone makes for an amazing Christmas.
If you have young kids, this is probably not going to fly. But, if you find yourself at that point in your life when you have no real answer for “what would you like for Christmas?”, give it a try. You’ll never know until you experience it!