I just had a fantastic birthday:
- I did something that I had never done before
- I did something that makes me happy
- I spent time with good friends
- I laughed and was scared
- I had an experience…
A group of close friends and I went to paddle the West Fork of the Tuck in WNC. This was a new run for me and one that I had been excited to do for a while. The day was just what I was hoping; I had moments of pure exhilaration, pure joy, a dose of nerves and people I love to experience it all with me.
I don’t know when it happened but at some point the idea of receiving material gifts changed for me. I am not a collector of things but a collector of experiences and because of this birthdays and other gift giving holidays sometimes missed the mark. This became abundantly obvious around my birthday and Christmas because my sister and I have birthdays that are less than a week apart. So, for many years we were in the habit of the classic gift card exchange. I would send her an etsy giftcard and less than a week later I would get one to amazon for about the same amount of money, this just started to feel incredibly silly.
So I did some thinking, what are the gifts that I really enjoy and bring me happiness for so much longer than something material? The answer every time is having a memorable experience with someone I care about. After that my sister and I re-invented our gift giving habits and traditions into something that always excites us.
The first thing that we did was open a joint online savings account at Capital One 360. Now we are set up so that for any gift giving holiday (or because we just feel like it) we can:
- Dream of a place we want to go
- Find an inspiring picture of that place
- Write about all of the things that we could do if we go to that place
- Send that picture and description in the mail to the other
- Deposit as much money in that shared savings account as you want
This is the gift I am always the most excited about receiving because it feels like the gift of imagination. Every time I get a picture in the mail I spend days or even weeks imagining what that trip would be like.
Now – we wait. As we keep doing this our account will eventually have enough money for us to go on one of these trips. When that happens we will pull out all of our pictures and choose our experience. I love the process. I love being the one to send a trip idea and I love receiving her trip ideas in the mail. The last idea we shared… Darjeeling. Why not dream big.
How can you reinvent your gift giving habits?