Earlier this month, Terri Colby wrote in Forbes magazine that we should give experiences rather than physical gifts this festive season. She claims, “Gifts of experiences, not things, will keep on giving long after the holidays.” I would agree. Experiences are much better value for money and very Marie Condo.
To start with, there is the joy of planning and anticipation that goes into preparing for the event, then there is the fun of the experience itself, next, there’s the glow you bask in afterwards and then the tangible memories you create: the photographs; the videos; the blogs or letters you may write; the instastories; the diary entries; the poems; the conversations you have with other people long after the event who have done similar things. Oh yes, Terri, I’m with you all the way.
I confess that many of our gifts this year are indeed physical, and that worse, many have been ordered and delivered via Amazon. Shame on me. But when you live in one country and go to spend Christmas in another (unlike Terry Anne, who has everyone in the same state for the first time in 10 years) it’s just not practical to do otherwise. I mean how do I cram a sandwich maker for my mother into a carry-on suitcase? If I buy it in Holland it will only have the wrong plug on it anyway and instructions in Dutch. How can I transport the bottles of wine and the wheel of Stilton cheese? Home delivery is so much more convenient.
But gifts of experience weigh nothing, so again, Terri has the right idea. Only. Only. Only… organizing experiences that will really mean something to the recipient can be hard to devise and hard to actually take up. I remember once we gave a balloon flight to Ian’s parents that had to be used within a year, only every time they tried to book their flight it was too windy for it to take place. Ian once gave me vouchers for ten golf lessons and after my second lesson I realized I had two left hands and two left feet and so the final eight were wasted.
My gift to you
This Christmas I have a gift for you. A gift that you don’t need to pack into your hand luggage. A gift that does not have a time limit on it. A gift that is not dependent on the weather. It is a gift that has taken me almost a year to make and if you accept it, it will take about an hour of your time to experience.
We have all lived in various places in the world and enjoyed a vast array of experiences. We have met many people and learned many things. We have been influenced by friends, family and mentors and we have excelled and failed at many things. In short we all have stories to tell but we very rarely grant ourselves the gift of an hour sitting down with a pen or a keyboard and committing those experiences to paper, for posterity, as a legacy for our families.
I bet, if you are anything like me you have promised yourself time and again that you will write them down soon, that you will talk to your father about his experiences in the war before it’s too late, but then one thing happens after another and it simply does not get done. Again.
This is why I have spent a year created The Life Story Jar programme.
This is why my gift to you is a free lesson to help you start writing down your own stories once and for all.
And as I wish you all the merriest of festive seasons and the jolliest of new years I suggest that maybe, just maybe, you add writing down your family stories to your New Year Resolutions for 2020.