In the end, all presents either get well loved and then discarded, garage-saled, or given away to friends or family. It might be shortly after they're given, or not until later on in college or adulthood, but sooner or later it happens to everything. That is unless you give experiences as gifts instead of stuff and things.
From my own childhood, I have very few things from my youthful days. A doll and some books and a few small keepsakes, but for the most part, the majority of the toys and other assorted items I was given, have long since been passed on to either someone else, be it the trash, thrift store or friend or family member.
Some of the trinkets I remember fondly, but most it takes a family picture to jar my memory as to their previous existence. Some of the memories that have stood out the most however, aren't the things found under the Christmas tree come December 26th. In fact, they aren't even things that can be put into a box, they're the adventures, places and sights that I saw with other people.
The Children's Science Museum in St. Louis when I was 10, the lake where I first learned to water ski and the long hour I spent watching Pinocchio through my fingers at the movie theater because the whole idea or a wooden boy, just freaked me out (and don't even get me started on the whale!).
This year, especially if money is short, try giving experiences to the children (or even adults) in your life. Make arrangements for an outing or afternoon excursion, take them to somewhere new, or even a tour of the tall buildings in your city! You could come to clean house for new parents or cook a meal in for an entire family. Those are the things you remember most when you grow up, the people you were with and the love that you felt as you discovered something new or viewed something for the first time.
There's many suggestions for whole family gifts back in this previous post, but we'd like you to chime in with some of your best "experience based" ideas. They can be those which you have previously given or those in which you'd love for someone to give to you!
Share your thoughts in the comments below!
(Image: Flickr Member Mark and Marie Finnern licensed for use by Creative Commons)