Christmas Gift Ideas That Will Make Them Truly Happy

We know money can’t buy happiness, but every Christmas we try by purchasing
the latest fashion, phones and televisions for our loved ones. Sure, they’re
happy for a little while but its human nature and, soon enough, their
enthusiasm wanes. A few months into the New Year, that new phone isn’t the
“latest and greatest” any more and, as for that flat screen TV, the neighbors just
got one that was six inches bigger!

Christmas is right around the
corner but if you haven’t finished your shopping yet, here is an insight you’ll
want to keep in mind. Researchers are finding that, while the happiness from
obtaining material possessions can fade
rather quickly, the joy resulting from participating in experiences tends to grow over time. What do I mean by
participating in experiences? A couple of years ago, I secretly bought matinee
tickets to the Rockettes Christmas Spectacular.On that day, I told my 3 daughters only to dress nice and that I’d be
picking them up from school a couple of hours before dismissal for an early
Christmas gift. We went to the show, thoroughly enjoyed it together, and went
to dinner afterwards. Even now, years later, one of the girls will say,
“Remember when we went”…and we all think back to that day and enjoy that memory
and emotion all over again. (Yes, I even let them skip school to attend their
“gift”, which has only added to the memory!)

According to Ryan Howell, San Francisco State University psychologist,
“People actually do know, and accurately predict, that life experiences
will make them happier. What they really underestimate is how much monetary
value they will get out of a life experience.” The Christmas gift experience I
gave my daughters couldn’t be compared to any other material gifts and we’ll
always “have it” to share again and again.

Here are some more “experience gift” ideas; the price range is up to you.
You’ll present a gift certificate (either a real gift card/certificate or a
home-made one) for things you’ll do TOGETHER.

For your spouse or significant other:

  • Dinner
  • Movie or live show
  • Tuition to take a class – ballroom dancing, cooking,
    wine tasting
  • Fitness club membership
  • Couples massage
  • Night in a local B & B
  • Weekend getaway
  • Vacation

For children/grandchildren:

  • Ice or roller skating
  • Movie or live show
  • Teach them how to make a favorite “old family recipe” or
    Christmas cookies
  • Bowling
  • Pick out/cut down a real Christmas tree
  • Tickets to a professional sports game
  • Visit a local Christmas lights display, and get pizza
  • Take them to see Disney on Ice

Remember, you’re not simply handing
these people a gift certificate and saying, “Have fun spending it.” The whole
idea is that you DO these things WITH them. No weaseling out! So, put your
thinking caps on, be creative, and make some memories…they’re everlasting!