PRESENTing Your Loved Ones with the Best

December 13, 2018

It’s finally December, which means the holidays are officially in full swing. On the surface, the next month might seem like a never-ending parade of mall Santas, Mariah Carey, and cups of hot chocolate, but a very real stress accompanies this time of year. For college students already struggling with money the other eleven months of the year, the pressure to come up with the perfect gift is never-ending. How are you supposed to show the important people in your life how much you care when all you have to your name is $3 and a Target Rewards Card? 

It might seem like there are only two options: completely forget you have a bank account and send yourself into even more crushing debt, or just regift everything you got from the work white elephant exchange last year. The stress to spend can get to the point where it’s almost difficult to process. In fact, the National Retail Federation estimates that this holiday season, the average American will spend $700 putting gifts under the tree. That’s months of groceries or rent. But what if spending wasn’t the go-to? What if, instead of buying something tangible, we choose to give the gift of experiences?

Michael Scott from The Office.

So, no Gifts? 

On the surface, “giving the gift of experiences” sounds like the sort of empty gift that you fake gratitude for when it’s received and immediately move on to something else. In fact, if given with the same intention as an expensive physical gift, an experienced-based gift can be the most personalized gift. An experience gift essentially means giving a gift that is centered on the creation of memories between the gift giver and the receiver. It means focusing on something that lasts forever, rather than something temporary. It means giving the receiver the opportunity to experience the happiness that can only come from doing something they love. 

Experience a New Kind of Christmas 

What does that look like? That’s the beauty of experience gifts: they look different for each and every person. For your foodie best friend, it might look like cooking, packing a beautiful picnic lunch, and heading to your favorite park once spring returns. For your movie buff mother, you might spring for a bottle of wine, pop mountains of popcorn, and schedule a day of laziness together with her favorite films. For your fitness-focused significant other, you could plan an outing to one of the many free community exercise classes offered around the city. Grand totals for experience gifts can then fit whatever room you might have in your budget; if you have the money to spring for front row tickets to Ariana Grande for you and your bestie, go for it! If you have the money for cooking a favorite meal of your significant other together in your own kitchen, more power to you! The only criteria is that the gift focuses on creating memories with you and your loved ones. 

Christmas doesn’t have to be this financially stressful time of year. Say adios to the long lines at the mall, ditch the materialistic wishlists, and forget a whopping credit card bill. This holiday season, consider giving shared experiences and building memories that can last a lifetime with those who mean the most.