Stuck in Back Bay traffic last week, (it was the Speedo Santa 5K Run – don’t ask) I saw a sign on a church “Live the Gift”, which I misread as “Give Life.” This is what I have been thinking during this hyped holiday shopping season. This time of year all the joy of the season gets trampled by the frenzy of shopping, holiday performances and obligatory social events. Instead of fighting the crowds at the mall give experiences that can be renewed during the doldrums of January and February. “Give Life” Experiences, they make the best memories. Sometimes it is good to have mild dyslexia.
“We do not remember days, we remember moments.” – Cesare Pavese
The most powerful moments are the shared simple ones, not the big bang of going to Disney World or on a cruise. Instead of “stuff” that too quickly becomes clutter or big events that become endurance trials, give those you love the gift of you, your time and attention.
Write out a “gift certificate” or coupon with your gift written out. You can include a copy of the cookie or pizza recipe, a mini candy cane, a list of videos, a copy of the book to be read together, or a map of the hike path (even hand drawn is great). Include a date for the shared time together or at least an expiration date and follow-up to make time together, soon.
Here are some ideas for memorable shared moments:
- Making cookies or pizza together in the kitchen
- Bird watching or a hike together in the woods
- Spend an afternoon at your local museum or historical site.
- Snow is for more than shoveling – build a snowman or have a snowball fight.
- Have REAL hot cocoa (not from a mix) with peppermint sticks or mini-marshmallows to warm up with afterward.
- Find a hill and sled down – if you don’t have a snow sled or saucer improvise with a plastic trash can lid or a big piece of corrugated cardboard. Improvising adds to the fun and memories.
- Read aloud from a favorite book – Harry Potter or Little Women can fill many a cold and dreary afternoon or evening.
- Purchase admission to a class or lecture on a topic of interest that you share with a friend or family member. Go together, learn and have great fun.
- Rent or borrow from the library some great classic videos and enjoy with homemade popcorn. Add grated parmesan cheese and/or cayenne pepper to your hot popcorn.
- Have tea/coffee and chat with a good friend at a pastry shop or at your place. (It is OK to buy your delicacies rather than make from scratch.) The main thing is relaxed time together with your friend to catch-up.
What do you do to create shared moments with family and friends? The goal is connection with the people who are important to you, not a perfect event.