Every year, it feels to me that the world is become increasingly obsessed with ‘things’. Owning things, wanting things, ‘needing’ things.
But physical possessions are, for the most part, just ‘stuff’ — and personally, I certainly value experience over items — whether new travels, a visit to the theater or simply a delicious dinner surrounded by loved ones.
There are, of course, many who would agree — such as this grandma who came with a wonderful, brilliant alternative gift idea rather than the standard Christmas ‘stuff’ we are accustomed to receiving, year after year.
When Christmas came around, Darlene Howell Waller really wanted to give her grandchildren something that wasn’t a toy — they had everything they needed already.
So she came up with a wonderful idea: to plan a different activity once a month for the following year that the kids could cherish and remember.
The grandma’s perspective is as simple as it is wise. Here’s how she explains:
“If we looked back on our years, we don’t remember the gifts that were given or WHO gave them. But for me, time spent together are some of my sweetest childhood memories.
I remember the family vacations, the Saturday trips to the grocery store, the lake and camping adventures with my family, the fun we had in the tree house that my dad built for me. But I couldn’t tell you a single gift that was a ‘thing’ that I remember receiving.”
Darlene’s goal was simple: to give her grandchildren the gift of valuable experiences and time spent with family.
She went online for some DIY inspiration and came up with a wonderful “adventure box” idea. She decorated a treasure chest she found at a craft store and filled it with 12 separate little envelopes, each one labeled for one month of the year and containing an activity for the family to do together.
“Inside each envelope is a pre-planned, pre-paid (mostly) date for you and I (or you with Rich + Momy),” she explained in an adjoined note. “Some you choose, some I chose. But they are all fun as a family activity for us to do together.”
In terms of the planned activities, the sky is the limit! It could be a planned date for a day out fishing, hiking, seeing fireworks, playing a round of mini golf, or simply dinner out to their favorite movie.
Best of all — many activities don’t need to cost anything at all — for any funds that are required, these can be spread out over the year and spent when the activity in question comes along.
Bottom line, this gift is loaded with a wonderful surprise and sentimental gesture once a month for a whole year!
What a treasure of an idea! I think this gift offers a breath of fresh air in our increasingly consumerist world, don’t you? Share to inspire others to give this gift idea a try this year!