Our thoughts on everything from what attracts mosquitoes to why you should live life outdoors — and more!

Make Memories, Not Clutter

When it comes to sales that take place from Thanksgiving to Cyber Monday, it can actually be quite shocking to realize how much money we spend on stuff. Last week, Amazon reported that Cyber Monday was its single largest shopping day to date — and beyond Amazon, a total of $6.59 billion was spent online by the end of Cyber Monday based on data from Adobe Analytics. At a 16.8% increase over last year, Cyber Monday 2017 was THE biggest shopping day in history.

As we ponder this, we’re struck not only by the enormous number of sales and drastically reduced prices on gifts for Christmas, but also by the copious amount of STUFF we think we need.

Cyber Monday is a marketer’s dream, but if you’re not careful, you can get pulled into buying things just because the “deal” is so fantastic. Oh, we’ve been there, and we have felt really good about getting that thing we had to have or someone wanted at a much-reduced price. But at the end of the day, it is just a thing.

And if you’ve ever been one who struggles to think of gift ideas for others who want to buy for you, you know it can become as stressful as shopping for others. We’ve become a society of excess, of stuff upon stuff. If you have kids, you know what we mean when you designate a room in your house specifically for toys. Holiday gift guides and end-of-year sales have become the norm this time of year, but if you look beyond all the hype, most of the items aren’t things you need, and they soon become clutter that gathers dust on a shelf.

Instead of giving things this year, consider giving experiences instead. Create memories by doing something or going somewhere that your family and/or kids will remember for years to come. We’re willing to bet that you’ll find them much more rewarding than the items you could have given (or received) instead.

Here are some ideas for experience-inspired gifts:

  • Tickets to a sporting event, musical event or theatre production
  • A series of lessons, like learning to golf, surf, paint, cook, dance or play a musical instrument
  • A gift certificate to a new or favorite restaurant in town, or one that the recipient wouldn’t normally visit
  • A season ticket or pass to a zoo, museum or amusement park
  • A movie pass to a local theater
  • A gift card to a bookstore or coffee shop
  • A massage or manicure/pedicure
  • An adventure gift: Schedule a trip to backpack, hike or camp somewhere you’ve been meaning to take the family
  • Travel certificates or weekend getaways
  • A professional cleaning: Arrange to have a local cleaning agency come in for a few hours and give their house a professional cleaning. Think of those things that never get cleaned, like baseboards and windows. This gift will be really appreciated!

Just remember: Instead of a thing this year, give the gift of an experience. It’s unique and unexpected, and the memory it creates will undoubtedly last a lot longer than the item it replaces.