This holiday season consider “experiential giving”. It is early November, to be more precise it’s November 2nd, Day of the Dead in Mexico. This year, I made an altar for my dad who passed away a few years ago. I was glancing at some pictures of my last Christmas with him, in which he is wearing a wool sweater from Peru, which had been my gift to him. He passed away the following summer and that made me think, all of a sudden, where would that Christmas present be? Hopefully that sweater is on someone else’s back, probably in a shelter down in Mexico City, since we gave away all of my dad’s clothes. Wherever it is now, there is no emotion in that sweater for me anymore. This got me thinking about what really stays with us, so I went back to my pictures. From the photos of that last holiday season, I noticed that every day of his visit to Rocky Point we saw the sunset from a different location in town. I had sunset photos from Whale hill, from a bar in the Sonoran Sky, and from Cholla Bay. We didn’t miss one sunset during his stay, and they were all beautiful. We played golf, we had a beautiful dinner at the Point restaurant, we walked on the Malecon (another sunset there), we went to the Pinacate Biosphere Reserve and he was bundled up as if we lived in Alaska. We had every meal of that week together. We hugged and shared time together and lots of Love every day he was with us. Of course we took some pictures that now remind me of that great time we had together before we knew he would only be with us for a few more months. Now my sister and I have a friend’s house in Mexico City full of my dad’s ‘stuff ‘. Stuff that we don’t want to give away and stuff that we don’t have any use for either. So that made me think that this stuff is not what life is all about, life is about the experiences that come with it, the things you do rather than the things you have. I take my memories with me everywhere I go and never have to pay excess baggage for them!

So, this holiday season, instead of that cool electronic, expensive perfume or luxury watch, consider giving a gift that is an experience instead. Depending on your budget here are a few suggestions: a weekend in a luxury rental in Rocky Point, horseback riding on the beach, massages, skydiving, kayaking, sightseeing, hikes, golf, or a flight over the beach. Anything that you do which won’t clutter your life but you will remember forever. Something that you probably wouldn’t pay for, if no one would buy it for, you is a great present! The best present I ever had from my dad was my lasik surgery! It’s been over 10 years and I can still hike in the rain without windshield wipers on my glasses! The second the laser hit my eye I could see clearly, what a great Christmas present!  This holiday season we are going to Puerto Aventuras and we plan to swim with the dolphins, something my daughter and I have always wanted to do, but never felt like it was worth spending all that money. I will get some pictures of us swimming with the dolphins and that will be more memorable than some gadget or clothes that will go out of fashion in a couple of months. Our experience will stay with us and never get old or go away.

So this season spend time with the ones you love, and love the ones you spend time with. If you want to spend more than time with them, give them a gift that will last forever and uses no space: Great Memories and Experiences.