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The Best Gift is YOU.

How’s that holiday shopping going? Have you been scouring the internet—aka Amazon— for the perfect gifts? Yeah, I’m right there with you.

But, I want to tell you: One of the best lessons I learned from doing something new every single day for a year was that a shared “dare," a new experience with family and friends is the absolute best gift you can give or receive.

Why? Shared first-time experiences create memories. You bond with the people you do something with for the first time. And what’s better than that?

No "gift-in-a-box" can ever beat running into the freezing cold ocean with my girlfriends on New Year's Day for the polar bear plunge, having my daughter teach me how to make homemade bagels, or taking a paint your pet class with my husband.

The best. shared experience gifts are an investment of time and YOU, fully present.

So a few ideas:

  • Tickets to something experiential: A show, a concert, something like the Van Gogh immersive experience, or IFly

  • Escape rooms, splash paint rooms or virtual reality rooms. Maybe it’s a tour of something, a place you’ve always wanted to try.

  • It could be a restaurant that’s new and different.

  • A class: It can be virtual, I did a pizza making class with my husband through Goldbelly’s and it was just so much fun. Uncommon goods has some good online classes too.

  • In-person classes: I was once invited to an ice curling class and that was a complete blast and outside my comfort zone. During my year of firsts I went to an Irish Houlee. Complete joy dancing with strangers who became friends.

  • A new game: Introduce a new game to the family and have everyone gather round to play.

  • Teach someone something you know how to do well. Give a lesson. I once taught my student workers how to make my best guacamole recipe in my kitchen. They tell me they still use the recipe and remember that day.

  • Maybe it’s a road trip together to see something new. Maybe it’s giving back, something you do together, like serving in a soup kitchen, becoming secret Santas to children in need.

  • Find a clever way to wrap up the experiential gift.

My new grandson will unwrap a cute book with a little finger puppet hippo in it. His mom will open it with a card showing a zoo membership. I’m thinking of all the sweet new memories we’ll create strolling there this spring and summer.

Shhh! Don’t tell. It’s a surprise.

Happy Holidays, Do the New and Dare On!

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