It can be hard to make the switch from giving a nicely wrapped gift from the toy store to giving an experience.

 

“I want the kids to have something to open.”

“I’m afraid they’ll be too young to remember anything.”

“They expect toys–I don’t want to disappoint them.”

 

Last January, my god daughter turned 7.

 

For previous birthdays I had gotten her different things–doll house toys, little plastic animals, a Little Mermaid Barbie.

 

I’m sure she enjoyed those things.  However, she also enjoys a lot of other toys in her home.

 

Since I don’t have kids of my own yet, I do my experimenting on her.  (Thanks for letting me, Lydia!)

 

One of my cool experiments?  Stop buying her crap and see if this changes our relationship.

 

 

I’ve talked a lot about what we do at Christmas–we now buy a toy and donate it to charity.

 

This year, right before her birthday the best thing in the world was happening–Katy Perry tickets were going on sale.

 

Granted, this made it so that the concert was almost a full eight months away.  Did this make her upset?

 

Nope.  It made the anticipation even better.

 

In the months before we talked and planned.  What would we wear?  What songs would she play?  Would it be like the music videos?  What’s my favorite song by her?

 

When it got to the day of the concert, we got to have dinner together, go to the stadium, battle the crowds and see Katy perform every hit she’s ever had.

 

How cool.

 

If any of you have ever seen Katy Perry, you know–it’s not a show that will be forgotten.

 

But you know what?  There are plenty of things that happened in my life that weren’t nearly exciting as a Katy Perry concert that I will never forget–and they didn’t clutter my room like toys did.

 

When I was nine my parents gifted me a week at horse camp.  It was there I met a friend who I’m still in contact with today–I even went to her wedding in August!

 

When I was five my Mom took my brother and I to see the Little Mermaid at a historic theater in my hometown.  I still remember the chaos of a toddler dancing in front of the screen, and the exact snacks that she snuck in her purse.

 

So why give experiences?  

 

For them.  

Kids will remember.  They will appreciate.  They will value your time and undivided attention.

For the home.

When you give experiences instead of posessions, the load at home of junk is way, way lighter.  This makes home easier to clean and less stressful.

For you.  

Because I think I liked seeing Katy Perry more than she did.