My friend Tan doesn’t give gifts. She gives experiences. I learned this recently when she asked if she could take The Hamster to Medieval Times with her son to celebrate his birthday. Since her son’s birthday is right on the heels of the Hamster’s, I was a little confused. By the time I sorted this all out in my head, I was sold on the idea.
This, of course caused me to consider the aptness of this concept in our commercially driven world. If you house is anything like mine, mounds of toys occupy every corner. And in this age of the extravagant birthday party, “small” means at least 8- 10 more toys are likely to move in. If instead my DS enjoys a day out with a child he likes doing something special and I spend some precious time alone, we both appreciate the gift.
The beauty of this type of present is that it need not be expensive. There are many things my family enjoys that are totally unknown to my friends’ children. Unexpectedly allowing them to join in on our family traditions can be a wonderful treat.
So, instead of gifts, at the next few birthday parties we attend this year, I think The Hamster will be giving experiences. Should you wish to join us – here are some ideas!
1. A day at the zoo 2. Cooking/baking/sewing/knitting – whatever your skill 3. An obscure museum 4. The local amusement park 5. The fire station/ airport/port 6. The beach/pool/lake 7. Playing your family's sport 8. A professional/semi-pro sports game 9. Making something your family makes 10. Sleepover at your house 11. A visit to an ethnic or cultural event your family enjoys 12. A visit to a farm or ranch. 13. An introductory lesson in something neat - paid for by you!