KNOXVILLE, Tenn. – For that hard-to-shop-for person in your life, or for a more budget-friendly approach to the holidays, consider giving the gift of experiences this holiday season. While certain experience gifts can be a bit pricey, there is a wide variety of low or no-cost gift ideas.
According to Christopher Sneed, assistant professor and consumer economics specialist with University of Tennessee Extension, with a little imagination, some creativity and time, anyone can give their loved ones the gift of experiences.
“Gifting experiences is a great alternative to traditional gift-giving, saving you the stress of shopping and the expense of purchasing that perfect gift,” said Sneed. “Better still, the gift of experiences offers something that no other gift does – memories.”
Give a movie night – Gift your loved ones some quality time in the form of a movie night! You can make a coupon that can be redeemed for a movie evening at home, allowing the recipient to choose the film, of course. You can present the movie coupon in a box with popcorn, a favorite selection of candy and perhaps a blanket or two.
Take a hike (literally) – With more than one thousand miles of trails and breathtaking views, a visit to one of Tennessee’s 56 state parks is a great gift for the nature-lover in your life. Print a coupon (or two) for a trip to a local state park. You can let the recipient choose the trip’s activities and location. Present the coupon(s) in a box adorned with nature-inspired wrapping. Include a sprig of fresh greens for the finishing touch.
Get ready to cook – Many families have recipes passed down from generation to generation. Planning a family “cooking school” is a great way to share those precious family recipes with your loved ones. Offer the gift of your time and wisdom as you teach recipients the perfect way to prepare your family’s treasured dishes. As part of the experience, be sure to give all “students” a copy of the recipe. Or better yet, assemble a book of family recipes – a great way to carry on special family traditions.
Get crafty – This year, put your craft skills to work and create a special and useful gift like a set of personalized coasters. Simply head to your local home improvement store or second-hand shop for small squares of tile. Decoupage copies of family pictures on each tile, affix felt as a backing, and you have a one-of-a-kind coaster. Add a hand-written note explaining why you selected each picture and maybe a story or two about those special moments. Better yet, present all the needed supplies in a package along with a coupon redeemable for time together creating the coaster set.
Give the gift of help – Everyone could use a little help from time to time. Help with cleaning the house, finishing that home improvement project or organizing the closet can be a welcomed presents for busy family members. Think about what you are good at and create a coupon (or book of coupons) offering your time and skills.
“This holiday season, I hope more people focus on the joy of giving from the heart and cherishing the time we spend with loved ones, rather than solely focusing on material items and price tags,” Sneed said. “These memories of time spent together will surely be cherished for years to come.”
The University of Tennessee Institute of Agriculture is comprised of the Herbert College of Agriculture, UT College of Veterinary Medicine, UT AgResearch and UT Extension. Through its land-grant mission of teaching, research and outreach, the Institute touches lives and provides Real. Life. Solutions. to Tennesseans and beyond. utia.tennessee.edu.
–Haley Harbin, UTIA