You’ve heard that old saying, “The best things in life are free.” I always thought it was kind of lame and not really an appropriate sentiment in this era of consumerism and material gift giving. Who doesn’t like shiny jewelry, new clothes, great perfume, a wonderful book or fresh flowers? I sure do!
Despite this sort of underlying cultural pressure, I underwent a drastic change in perspective several years ago. I had become so tired of the last minute, just run to the store and whip out your credit card for a gift type process. In a flash of insight, I requested “experiences” from all of my children for Mother’s Day one year. I thought this was the easiest holiday to start with since it was all about me! They seemed sort of confused at first and didn’t really know what to do with that request – even my husband groaned. But soon they caught on and the practice has now spilled over to other holidays as well.
I have been given amusement park outings, picnics, horseback riding, photography hikes, massages, pedicures and historic garden tours. We have started giving this type of gift to others as well: lessons, concerts, mini-trips, shows, manicures, facials, wine tours and special meals. Just last week my youngest son took me on a picnic to our favorite spot for Mother’s Day. It was an entire afternoon of food, photos, nature and fun. The conversation and connecting that happens on these outings is simply unrivaled. I couldn’t help but create my own “American Express type” commercial:
- Picnic lunch at Dave’s Diner – $20
- Entrance fee for Pratt’s Falls – $1
- The smile on my son’s face – Priceless!
“The best things in life really are free.”