By Nancy A. Pritchard, Life Mastery Consultant

The Not So Big Christmas – Day 11

                                           Experiences Instead of Stuff


Pause for a few minutes and think back to your fondest memories of past Christmases.  Chances are very good that these memories have nothing to do with physical gifts. For most of us, shared holiday experiences are far more memorable than things. The people that I’ve talked with while creating this blog series shared their following favorite memories:

“Our annual family trip to pick out our Christmas tree!”

“Watching my little girl sing, “Silent Night” in the children’s Christmas pageant.”

“Our annual Christmas Eve drive to see the light displays.”

“Each year, everyone in the neighborhood gathered at our house on Christmas Day.”

“Every year during Christmas week, my sister and I would treat each other to lunch and a local theater production.”


Since experiences create lasting memories, just for this year why not consider gifting holiday experiences instead of things.

Ideas might include: 

*Tickets to see a play at your local theater (The Nutcracker, perhaps?)

*A coffee and dessert date with your best friend the weekend after Christmas

*A gift certificate for you and your significant other to enjoy a post-holiday couple’s massage

*An evening of babysitting for young parents who would love a free night to prepare for their own Christmas celebration or to enjoy a night out on the town

*A day at the museum – (Nancy’s story: Knowing that I tend to appreciate experiences more than things, two Christmases ago my son and his wife gifted me with a day at a Washington, DC museum of my choice. Lucky for us, we live just an hour from DC.  After doing a bit of research, I decided on ‘The Newseum.’ On December 27, we rode metro into the city, enjoyed a day at that incredible museum, then shared a meal afterwards. I will remember that thoughtful gift for years to come!)


You don’t have to spend money to create memorable experiences, especially with kids. Simplifying expert Elaine St. James suggests creating a holiday countdown that focuses on spending time together. Of course, this countdown can be adapted to include adult loved ones as well!

Your Christmas week countdown might include:

December 19 – Allow each of your children to invite a friend or two to decorate the family tree. Turn up the Christmas music and make plenty of popcorn – to string and eat!

December 20 – Snuggle by the fire before bed to read a few favorite Christmas stories.

December 21 – Bake cookies and watch a favorite holiday movie together.

December 22 – Deliver homemade cookies (made the night before) to your neighbors.

December 23 – Drive around town to enjoy the holiday light displays. Have everyone pick a favorite!

December 24 – Attend a Christmas Eve service together.

December 25 – After a simple a.m. gift exchange, hang out in your pajamas, drink hot chocolate and play some favorite games together.