Holiday Gift Guide: Experiences Over Things

Holiday Gift Guide: Experiences Over Things

When you reflect back on your life, what moments make it onto the highlight reel that plays through your mind? Surely, it’s not the box of new clothes you received as a gift only to be thrown out a year later. We reminisce experiences – brief moments in time that shaped and impacted us in a way that made a lasting impression. Experience isn’t exclusive to grand adventures that teach us life lessons, but can include cherished moments spent with the people who mean most to us.

The value of material gifts fade with time; the newest versions overshadow what we already have and leave us unfulfilled, wanting more. Is it possible to think this constant overturn from old to new tarnishes the value of what we are gifted? Think about it. You receive a new article of clothing or piece of technology, knowing full well you will want to upgrade once a better version comes along. This makes it near impossible to ever fully reach a point of satisfaction with the valuables you are gifted. Lasting satisfaction and joy can be found in experiences. Let’s evolve from an “I have…” to an “I have done...” frame of mind.


How do you ask to be gifted experiences?

You would think it easy to ask others for experiences over things, but to our surprise that has never been the case. If you think about it, gift giving has become somewhat lazy. We make wish lists for others pick and choose what to purchase. There is little thoughtfulness and planning put into gifts such as these. Buying from a wish list has become the norm now, and when confronted with change, people feel conflicted. Instead of a list of items, provide ideas of experiences you would like to enjoy; this provides others with a general idea of what you are open to while also fostering creativity on behalf of the giver.

When transitioning to this way of receiving “gifts”, make your intentions for this change very clear to my family and friends that an experience shared in their company would mean more to me than any material present they could give me. You are in pursuit of opportunities that would add value to your life, not meaningless items that would fill the empty spaces of my closet and room.


Where do you even begin to gift experiences?                                                    

What you choose to gift is going to be unique unto the person receiving the gift. And doesn’t that make it that much more special and personal? It is considerably more meaningful to receive knowing the other person took the time to thoughtfully select a gift that would be fulfilling for you. The great thing about experiences are that they fall anywhere and everywhere along the budget spectrum. Indoors, outdoors, free, expensive – an experience is what you make of it. It can be as inexpensive or costly as you allow, and it can be as challenging or relaxing as you see fit.

One gift that is non-refundable and considerably precious is time. Giving someone your undivided attention and time to share an experience is irreplaceable. Our social media and content coordinator, Amanda, shared with us an experience she gifted that she will not soon forget:

“Last Christmas, I gifted to my Dad a road trip to Big Bend National Park. We spent the first week of the new year summiting the second highest peak in all of Texas, camping under a sea of stars surrounded by complete darkness, extreme ziplining in Terlingua, TX, marveling over the vast desert landscapes as we hiked miles of trails, and most importantly, exploring what once was an unfamiliar place with familiar and warm company.”

In the end, what will we hold dearest? Nothing but the memories of a life well lived. A life full of experiences that shaped our minds, souls, and perceptions of what it is to truly live a wild and fulfilled life. Our lives are meant to be lived through moments that awaken our hearts and minds, not through material things that create in us a very temporary false sense of happiness. Let’s gift our time, memorable moments shared with one another; only then will we begin to recognize the things we want will never compare to the things we need.  


Check out Wildway's Ultimate Experiences Gift Guide to get the ball rolling on your holiday experience giving.