Friday, 23 November 2012

Experiential gifts

I've eschewed xmas for some years. While I love presents, I don't specifically need anything and I'd rather that friends and family members didn't spend their money to buy me something that I neither need nor want. I'll probably like and appreciate the gift but it really is unnecessary. A gift out-of-the-blue is way more cool than one bought during the festive season because that's just how things have been done.

The other night I was chatting to some friends - they work in retail. I was asking about business and whether they're seeing xmas-shopping traffic coming through. Although there's some, they're not yet completely in the season. They work at really cool outdoor stores so they get a lot of people coming in who ask, "My [partner/friend/sibling] has got everything - what can I get for them?!".

If you're in this situation then really, really don't get them anything because they really don't need it. Wrap your mind instead around an 'experiential gift'.

Earlier this year I did a photography course and I bumped into an old customer from back in the day when I waitressed as a student. He and his wife give each other courses as xmas gifts every second year (the photography course was his gift; she was going on a chocolate decorating course). My friends Lauren and Pam are also into experiential gifts.

It's more about doing and learning stuff rather than having stuff.

Experiential gifts extend across a range of things. Here are some ideas...

  • Courses (probably over a few weeks or months) - language, photographic, creative writing, plant identification
  • Workshops (usually one day/night or a weekend) - cooking, scrapbooking, beginner climbing/kayaking, gardening
  • Classes/lessons - pay for a month of classes. Your gift recipient has an opportunity to try something they've been wanting to do and because you've given it to them they'll probably make the time - and a month is long enough to see whether they like; art, dance (perhaps go with them - like if it is something like ballroom dancing), yoga, ceramics...
  • Events - submit and pay for their entry for an event you know they'd like to do - run, cycle, AR... the list here is near endless!
  • Adventures - tons of stuff here like rafting, caving, hot air ballooning, climbing
  • Other - massages, facials, manicure-pedicure (these are good for guys too!)
Some of these things can be pricey so rope in family members and make it one great pressie rather than many so-so items.

I was telling my friends about my Running Retreat, scheduled for weekend of 19 & 20 January 2013. I decided to put it in January because it is a great kick-start to the year. It's an opportunity to cast away festive slothfulness and to get your mind in the right place for being fit and active for the year ahead. It rocks in the mega-motivation department.

This running retreat is exactly that - a running-focused get-away with plenty of time for reading and chilling and bird-watching. It's a no-pressure, social weekend of running where you can choose which of the four runs to do (Fri evening, Sat morning and evening and Sun morning) and also the informative sessions (yoga for runners, foot care, form and technique). Full catering sorted too. And there are things like horse riding and floating in a boat on the dam as additional activities.

Goodness, how often do you go away - not for an event, but something more social and casual and 'therapeutic' - to spend a weekend where you get to run on lovely routes that have been planned for you and all you have to do is lace up your shoes? Now this is a super wonderful experiential treat for you or the runner in your life.


Unknown said...

Love this post Lisa! I hope the running retreat goes well. And thanks for the ideas, mind is spinning with ideas for my family!!

Unknown said...

The Running Retreat sounds amazing! You need to come and run an event like this in New Zealand!

Lobby said...

Lovely post L, I agree totally and people tend to remember the gift more because it was an "experience". The running retreat will be amazing!

adventurelisa said...

I've just bought my mom's experiential xmas gift... a five-day raw/vegan detox. I'll be doing it with her - it starts on Monday. I, of course, do have ulterior motives as I really think she'll feel great on a vegetarian diet (not necessarily vegan) with loads more raw. I've been on this raw-vegetarian-with-vegan-leanings for some time now.