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5 Experience Gifts You Will Find in Orange County

The act of gift-giving is a common part of being human. Giving someone a gift is a generous act that requires thoughtfulness, intentional consideration of the receiver and financial sacrifice. For people with children, there are a myriad of instances in which this process will play out throughout the children’s lives. While gift-giving usually results in the creation or purchase of an item there is an alternative gift practice that people, especially those with children, may want to consider: giving experiences.


No matter how intentional and thoughtful a person is, there will always be gifts given that go in a closet never to be seen again until the family is purging clutter. This does not mean that the gift was a poorly chosen gift; it could simply mean that it was forgotten. Although people’s memories can be short and important things can be forgotten, it is far more difficult for someone to forget that a loved one chose to plan a cruise trip for them or to take them whale watching off Newport Beach. Planning to do something with a loved one gives the gift of having a memorable experience that will last a lifetime or longer whether in memories, stories, pictures or videos. Experiences cannot be purged along with the clutter.


The gift of an experience also offers the opportunity for another gift and that is the gift of bonding. When people take trips together, whether short or long, their relationship deepens, a bond is further secured and people are brought more closely together. Even a trip that does not go flawlessly allows the people enduring the experience to further forge their relationship through the trials–not that anyone hopes that is necessary. Since gifts are about people, it is incredibly generous to give of one’s time and self. Walking the many trails of Orange County or exploring the coastline with a loved one is invaluable. The receiver of the gift will, undoubtedly, feel a deeper and closer connection to the giver. Children are able to appreciate this as well because even if they do not realize the bonding that is happening they can feel it and will come to appreciate it more as they mature.


Giving the gift of experience has the power to have a lifelong impact on those who receive such gifts. In addition to the lifelong impact of deeper bonds with loved ones, there will be lessons learned from experiences. The resilience gained from hiking in Aliso and Wood Canyons Wilderness Park, the determination discovered during a rock-climbing class, the fear that is overcome learning to swim, the stranger who graciously shared their life story on the plane that will never be forgotten: these are all parts–some of the most important parts–of an experience that makes them priceless. The value that experiences contribute to a person’s humanity cannot be overstated and should, therefore, be given generously.


It may seem like giving experiences, in order for them to have value, must be grand or expensive, but this is not the case. The repeated gift of doing something over and over is still the gift of a new experience. Experiences really cannot be duplicated which is part of what makes them so wonderful and significant. Surfing off Laguna Beach or hiking Quail Hill Trail repeatedly is never really the same because the person surfing and hiking it is doing it on a new day with new experiences behind them. So, it is fine if the experience given is the gift of creating a tradition. That is a priceless gift in and of itself.


The gift of an experience is also the gift of courage to embark on new experiences. Having adventures with others often means going out of one’s comfort zone. Growth and courage happen outside of one’s comfort zone and that may be where a loved one finds that they are, in fact, able to do things that scare them which will encourage them to have that same courage in the face of other new experiences. Giving a reluctant surfer surfing lessons may be the gift that continues to give even after the gift is gone by showing them they can face a challenge and overcome fears.

Final Thoughts 

Giving someone an item can be rich and impactful and should not be diminished. There is magnanimity in all gift giving, no matter the gift. The idea of giving an experience is an idea but an idea worth considering, for experiences are often rich and impactful as well.

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