We are still a couple of weeks away from Halloween but the holidays will be upon us before we know it. Every year it's the same story in my house, no matter how early I start planning and preparing I'm still left racing around on Christmas Eve picking up last minute odds and ends and that one unexpected gift. I've shifted my own preparations into high gear and started executing the plans for certain loved ones on my Christmas list with the hope that I can get the major gifts out of the way early. I've taken a new approach to gift giving over the past couple of years that has alleviated some of the pressure of what to get for those in my family who seem to have everything, which is pretty much all of them.
I love experiential gift giving, finding a cool new activity or local destination and creating a fun experience is far better than adding more stuff to the never ending pile of things accumulating in every room and closet in the house.
We are very lucky to live where we do in BC, Canada as we are really close to a number of cool destinations that fit the bill perfectly for a fun weekend getaway that makes the kids ( young and old) eyes light up.
The challenge with these experiential gifts is how to present them. We all know it’s the thought that counts and having something tangible shouldn't be necessary but it is nice to have a little something waiting for you to open up on Christmas morning.
Here are our top three experiential gifts and how we presented them.
1. The Wine Tour
This is a favourite gift for my girlfriends or even for a nice couples getaway. Plan your getaway for a weekend in the Spring book your accommodations and create a map and itinerary for your tours. Once the logistics are taken care of it’s time to wrap up a cute little package that tells the story of your upcoming getaway.
- Pick up a postcard of the destination you're heading to and write down the details of the trip on the back.
- Print out your itinerary and map on fancy paper. I've even had them laminated before and attached a pocket sharpie so you can write notes about your favorite wineries, etc.
- I adore these wine journals and they make a great addition for the serious wine lover in the goup.
- These travel wine glasses are always a huge hit and are handier than you'd think.
- Lastly, include a bottle of wine either from a local winery or one from the destination ou're heading to for them to enjoy before the trip.
2. The Snowboarding/ Ski/ Snow Shoeing/ Sledding (or any other snowy activity) Experience
We have loads of local mountains right in our backyard and we do our best to get to them all at least a few times each season. It's the ones that are a bit further away (2-3 hour drive) that we can't get to on a whim that we try to plan a bit of a more substantial visit. So just like the wine tour I've taken care of all of the logistics and then wrapped up essentials for the trip. Whether it's a new set of snow shoes, a new sled or even new snowboarding or skiing gear. This can make this a really expensive experience but if it's something that is loved it's totally worth it. To keep this type of gift in a lower price range you can nix the snow going equipment in favour of a warm up basket stocked with a new scarf, gloves and toque plus all the fixings for hot chocolate by the fire at whatever chalet you end up at. (Maybe some cozy pj’s as well)
3. The Tropical Destination
We have in past years opted to forego the multiple gifts under the tree in favour of a family trip to a tropical destination to escape the bitter winter cold. One year a friend and I decided to take the kids to the Dominican Republic partly a Christmas gift partly their birthday gift as they are just days apart and born very close to Christmas it was the perfect getaway for the moms and the kids. They each got a cool new beach bag stocked with all of the beach going essentials.
- New Swim Suit
- Flip Flops
- Snorkel Gear
- Inflatable Pool Toys
- Lots of cool activity books and funky crayons to keep them occupied on the flight.
- One of those waterporof disposable cameras (I was suprised they still made them) plus the photos that resulted were priceless keepsakes of our trip through the eyes of our pint-sized travelers.