Contributor: Adrian Rutt
Christmas is here. Unlike the vast majority of the population, I waited until it was actually December to point out the obvious. This season is about giving. While I have no problem with gifts in general, I have - as I’ve gotten older - shifted my view about what kinds of gifts I both like to give and receive. The best way to put it is that I’ve viewed gift giving as the giving of experiences as opposed to things. I’m good on the mugs and scarves.
For example, I once gave my sister and her husband massage gift certificates and a babysitting “voucher” so that they could actually go get the massages. What a cruel gift it would be without the latter - “hey so since you can’t get out of the house can I have the massage?” Another year I gave them a bottle of wine and a puzzle. Of course these are still technically things, but they are also rejuvenating and or challenging experiences. They aren’t, in other words, like a mug. Again, nothing against mugs.
At this juncture in my life, I believe the best “experience” gifts are things that could help enrich someone’s personal life or advance someone’s career in some way. A sort of massage for the intellect, perhaps. At least the benefits of this massage last longer and are more fruitful than actual massages. There are few, in other words, who would resent being given the opportunity to take a class they’ve always wanted or needed to take to advance their career. Sure, it isn’t the most obvious gift to give, but that doesn’t make it any less worthwhile, generous, or expressive of one’s fondness for another person.