5 Memorable Gift Ideas for the Holidays
What are the holiday gifts you’ve received that you remember best?
If I’m honest, it is hard to recall exactly what I was given last year much less any further back. I’m embarrassed to say so because I know the people who care about me have spent a lot of time and money over the years finding and purchasing things they thought I would like to have.
What I remember best about holidays past are the experiences I shared with my family and friends. When I was little it was going to the Nutcracker or looking at the holiday windows on Michigan Avenue (followed by dinner at the Rock ‘N Roll McDonald’s). More recently, I’ve loved the tradition of going to the Holiday Train Show at the New York Botanic Garden with my husband and to an annual Jingle Jams music class with my kids.
The gifts I do remember from many years ago were also experiences. My parents very memorably helped me buy plane tickets for a trip to France in my 20’s (that trip changed my life in many ways).
But even material gifts that resulted in experiences stand out, like the snowshoes my parents bought for my husband and I shortly after we were married. I can recall exactly what it felt like to hike up the snowy mountain trail we found with my dad that year, my cheeks heating up with the effort and how good the snowflakes felt falling on my face in the powdery white quiet. I remember we saw a funny little fat bird sitting under a pine tree, it looked kind of like a wild mountain chicken, and looked it up later: a ruffed grouse. Come to think of it, the birding manual I gave my husband one year is another gift with a lot of memories attached to it now.
If you are looking for an easy solution to the quandary of choosing gifts the people in your life will love and remember, here are some ideas (you can view the whole collection here). I hope they’ll help you and your loved ones make some good memories this season.
Pair a sweet card with a pretty (and practical) kitchen towel or sponge cloth. Tickets to a cooking class you can take together, a cookbook or some special baking ingredients like Valrhona chocolate or Nielsen-Massey vanilla would all make this an extra memorable gift.
Whether it’s in person or over zoom, the idea of communing over a tasty beverage will never lose its appeal. A bottle of spirits, a book of cocktail recipes, or one of the many tasty non-alcoholic specialty mixers that I’m suddenly seeing everywhere would be a great pairing with a thoughtful card and a date on the calendar. Our new sponge cloths make it easy to soak up drips in style!
One of my favorite things to do with my Aunt Nancy is go to those “Paint Your Pot” places where you can pick out a ceramic object and paint it. These cards with a crafty theme would be perfect to tuck a gift certificate for an experience that will put you next to someone you care about, hands busy and hearts in sync. Art supplies like adult coloring books or homemade stamp making blocks and tools would be fun too!
Botanical gardens often have special exhibits around the holidays, and most cities have tree lightings. Music or dance performances can also help engage your senses and keep you in the moment together, especially if you warm up afterward with a steamy cup of hot chocolate or coffee. If you can find something you and your giftee will enjoy doing together, it will surely be something you both remember (it might even turn into a new tradition!).
You could spend money on a new electronic thing or clothing item, but inevitably those things will eventually wear out. If you can find the funds and time to invest in an airbnb, or find another couple or group to swap spots with for a weekend, the memories you make will surely outlast whatever Apple is slinging this year, however appealing it may seem today.
Thanks for reading! You can find our whole collection of gifts that help create shared experiences (and lasting memories) here.