Give “time” & “experience-gifts” this Christmas

by Preety Sehgal, Development & Mentoring Manager

Christmas is the most wonderful time of the year. When I look back I think my most treasured memories are around this special time. I remember the thrill to open the gifts and see what I had received from Santa. But most importantly, I remember the joy of having my parents, family, cousins and friends around; the laughter and the mischief we were up to (including the mischief that was ignored). I remember my parents acting silly, spending time with me and laughing a lot (more than I had seen all year round).

So what makes Christmas magical?

After buying gifts for my children for the past 15 years, I have slowly come to realise that time and memories are the best gifts a parent can give to their child. I have stressed out to buy toys, things they need, things that will make them happy and have realised that the joy is not the material gifts we run around to collect, but the experiences we will have and the things we do with our children at this special time of the year.

Here are a few ideas to help you plan some gifts. If you have already purchased your gift for this year, consider adding some experiences as well and slowly transition to more experience based gifts if you think they contributed to the family bonding and making memories….

Gift your child a  blank “Make a wish” card

Explain to your child that you plan to do something together as a family. You can include the extended family, friends as well and let your child(ren) choose what they want to experience. Fasten your seatbelts, as I am sure the possibilities of this going crazy are endless.

Create a personalised book for your child.

This can include all the things they are proud of about them from the past years, school photos, special moments, crafts from day care.  You can add funny one liners they have spoken, the stories of their trips, events, and memories. A compilation of past years and a book to treasure forever.

Here are some priceless gems collected by parents Nikeeta and Darius:

Combo gift

Another great present can be an experience and a material gift combo of things that supports your child’s interest

Example: if a child is interested in gymnastics/ Ballet,  book them with a class for the full term and gift them a leotard/ tutu dress and some belle shoes. This is a great way for encouraging child’s interest along with supporting their experience.

Book next year’s calendar

An all-time hit can be a calendar already filled out with fun activities and special moments. Look at movies releasing next year, circus, events and shows/concerts happening next year. Book holidays and family picnics randomly in the calender and see the eagerness to start ticking off the to-do list by your child. PS – Christmas holidays and term breaks can all be filled with fun stuff.

Crazy photo shoot

A crazy, funny photo shoot all planned by your child. Let them choose a location, the colour scheme and also the poses. You will not only enjoy the photoshoot while it is being planned but also while you are shooting and also when you look at the results. This is one gift you will cherish for a lifetime. You can ask a friend to be a photographer and join in the fun.

Personalised story book

Seeing your own name in the book is one of the most surreal experiences a child can have. Find what your child would love to read and place an order. This is a sure hit.  Check out:


The greatest thing about “experience-gifts” is that it incites wonder and provokes discovery along with long lasting joy. “Experience-gifts” are about the experience itself, the thrill of being and doing it together, the moments it brings and the memories it creates. You will never look at an experience and wish for a better version or an update, it won’t take space and wont end up in the rubbish.

This Christmas let your gift be an “experience–gift”.

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