Gifts of Experiences, not Gifts of Things

Like many people have done, I’ve turned away from the Christmas frenzy of buying gifts for everyone and receiving gifts from those people. I finally realized all those things are often soon forgotten. Most people can ill afford to buy gifts for so many people. So now, I choose to donate money that my wife and I would have spent on gifts to a local charity.

But I still give one gift at Christmas, and that’s to my Little Brother. Sometimes, a Little really needs things (like socks, a warm coat, some food) because the Little’s family is in dire straits. Thankfully, Ethan has food, clothing, and shelter plus some toys and games. All things considered, he’s doing relatively well.

Ethan putting on his game face for Laser Tag

Even so, I’ve decided starting with this Christmas and going forward, to give gifts of experiences when I give a gift. So my first foray into that world was an evening of unlimited play at our local bowling center. The place offers a sizable array of arcade games and a rather impressive laser tag room (three levels, dozens of walls, half-walls, nooks, crannies, etc.).

Ethan doesn’t seem excited about Laser Tag, but he’s channeling his inner warrior.

For three hours, Ethan and I bowled (we both scored more than 100 at least once–woohoo!) Then we ate pizza, played two fun games of laser tag (my first time–it’s pretty darn cool!), and tried our hand at most of the 25 or 30 arcade games in the place.

Whew! It’s a lot of work to have that much fun.

Ethan deciding on his next arcade game

Ethan may not remember most of the gifts he got this year, but I sure hope he remembers that frigid evening over Christmas break. He got to hang out with his Big Brother doing something way neater than usual. Most importantly, we made some memories that will last a long, long time.

Ethan and I are (mostly) losers in the arcade games, but winners in the game of Life!

Merry Christmas. Happy whatever other holidays you celebrate around this time of year (I still haven’t met a bona fide Festivus observer). And, Happy New Year to All.

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