Friday, May 24, 2013

Experience the Gifts

I'm sure I must have written about this philosophy before, but I'll say it again: I contend that the best gifts out there are ones of experience, not materialism.

I'm sick of us gifting Sweetie with what we think are "the best/coolest gifts ever!" just for her to toss them aside after not even a week of play time.

In fact, I came up with what I think is absolutely a brilliant idea: We'll start gifting the other kids in our family, and those of our friends, with these "really cool gifts" we find. Alternatively, we'll give Sweetie (mostly) gifts of experience. That way, whenever we visit said friends and family with the cool stuff, Sweetie will be more than eager to play with and enjoy them. And yet, they won't be played with, broken and/or used up, and strewn about our house when she's quickly lost interest in them. 

Win/win! Other kids we love will get cool stuff, and Sweetie will not only have limited access to these things, but the memory of "experience gifts" to last her a lifetime. 


Last weekend Hubby and I and Sweetie headed into Boston for the day to celebrate my birthday. 

We rode the Swan Boats, 

saw the ducklings, 

walked a portion of The Freedom Trail

(with specific focus on all the Historical UU landmarks along our path - including the home of Louisa May Alcott. Yay!),

 did some geocaching, met up with friends we haven't seen in awhile, had lunch at Faneuil Hall,

and stopped off for sushi at our favorite restaurant on our way back home. And can I just tell you? It was the Best Day Ever!!! 


One evening a couple weeks ago, when we were finally all home, Sweetie asked if there was anything good on T.V. that night. (We have Hulu, so we pretty much watch as we want, and have access to most shows the day after they air, which is usually when we watch our favorite shows.) We said, "No. Not really." And that was the answer Sweetie was after! "Good!" she said. "I was hoping you'd say that. Because I was really wanting to have a Family Night with you tonight. You know, play some games, read, that sort of thing!" We were totally onboard with that. Ended up playing a few rounds of Apples to Apples, with our 4th player being one of our cats. So much silly fun! And such a nice change, as Sweetie said, from our usual just sitting down in front of the T.V. all night. You got that right!


Sweetie recently did a short essay on something she read about in a kids newspaper her classroom gets - the new Matilda: The Musical showing currently in NYC. As Sweetie understood it, she thought the show had come and gone (as plays usually do, in these parts) after just a short stretch of performances. She wrote that she was sad about this, as Matilda is both her favorite movie and book, and she would have loved to have seen it. 

I pointed out to her that this was a NYC musical and that those usually run for a long, long time. Still - it's NYC, and pricey, and still not likely that we'd get to go see it. Maybe it would come to Boston one day?

Then I started fantasizing about making this wish of Sweetie's come true. I did all the math of the ticket cost and travel expenses, staying overnight, etc., etc. And it actually seems like we can do it! I'd been wanting to go to Disney World forever. Still do. But this trip to NYC would be way less expensive than that, and just as - if not more - thrilling for Sweetie. 

Some talking with Hubby later, and - we're doing it! Christmas 2013 is going to be lots different for us than previous Christmases. Far fewer material gifts, much more puzzling and magical figuring out, and a huge gift for our little family of these tickets and weekend trip to look forward to next Spring. 

I'm so excited! Sweetie's going to be so excited! And she's old enough to have this be a memory she'll treasure for the rest of her life. 

Experience gifts - so much better than material gifts that get quickly tossed aside. Toys are often banged up, broken, out-grown, and/or forgotten in no time at all. 

Gifts of experience stay with you forever. 

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