I noticed a shift over the past couple of year. A lot more people are choosing gifts that are either donations to their favorite charity or something that creates an experience.
Here are five gift ideas that create new experiences in which we have the opportunity to feel grateful, joyous and awakened.
1. A SONG
Music creates experiences immediately by triggering emotions and memories. Sound waves literally bring ‘good vibrations’ into our hearts and minds. It’s a great gift!
When we were teenagers, we sent messages through songs – some of us wrote our own, some made tapes of songs that expressed what we were afraid to say with words.
When you give a song, you are also giving the person a gift of time and presence – because to enjoy your gift, they’ll have to listen in ‘real time’ which will bring them to the present moment, and make your gift that much more powerful and memorable.
Make a digital card with the link to the song – any song that conveys the experience you are gifting…
Here is a step-by-step guide for easy song giving:
- Create a free account on Canva.com or a similar website
- Pick a picture that fits the setting you’d like the person to experience, or upload your own.
- Write the description – don’t be afraid to use ‘feeling’ words.
- Use someone else’s quotes only if you absolutely have to – be original… be YOU. YOU are the big part of the gift here!
- Place the link to the song onto the card (make sure you actually link the card.)
- Save it on your desktop as a JPG image and deliver it.
- Or print it out, and include a QR code on it that links to the song.
- Once printed, place the card in a nice envelope (or make a homemade one), wrap it in paper and put a bow on it.
- BONUS: attach an iTunes gift card to it, so they can purchase the song for their playlist and play it often (please don’t download songs illegally…)
If you want a little bit more of a customized song for next year, commission a singer/ songwriter and get your very own original song (you’ll be surprised how affordable the whole process is).
2. A MOVIE MOMENT
A DVD of your favorite movie is always a good gift, but the movie moment is even better. Perhaps it’s a scene of the movie that reminds you of a shared memory with the person you are giving it to, or perhaps it’s a new experience you want them to have…
Use Canva.com again to make a collage of these movie moments, or write out why they are special to you and what the ‘message’ is that you wish to convey.
3. A DANCE
I’ve never heard of anyone giving this gift, and yet I know I would enjoy it immensely if it was given to me…
Make a card and wrap it in a beautiful ribbon bow.
- Bring your favorite song and a pair of good speakers along when you plan to give the gift. When they open the envelope and pull out the card, put the music on, look them in the eyes and reach out your hand. Then dance… twirl and sway, jump and hold them close. Don’t get distracted by nervous laughs, rolling of the eyes or ‘no, no, no’ pleadings of the person you are giving this gift to… After the initial awkward moment is over, there won’t be a dry eye around… And no one will ever forget this one!
- Make it extra special and set your phone camera to record it… Then make it into a video memory that can be shared and shared and shared…
- Extra bonus: give the CD (or iTunes download) of the song – with the promise that you will be available to do this again sometime.
4. A FRAGRANCE
This gift is easily given in Europe where most people wear fragrances, but you can make it work with air scents as well…
For example, being European, I wore different fragrances in different times of my life with the intention to later trigger my memories of those times – for my wedding and honeymoon I wore a simple Hermès and I now pull it out every anniversary. If it was given with the intention to bring back memories of the romantic early days with my husband, I would absolutely melt at this gift. You don’t have to purchase the whole bottle – you can go to Sephora and ask for a sample, then spray a little on a homemade card with a love note.
The gift of fragrance can also be given through a scented candle or essential oils – but you need to attach a moment you want the person to remember, recall or create. For example, you can make an invitation for a picnic in the spring grass and give a “spring grass” candle, or a hike in the mountains and connect it with “pine woods” scent, a day by the ocean with “ocean breeze” or a trip to Croatia with a lavender and rosemary pouch.
5. A STORY
This is a beautiful gift and so easy to make and give.
Download a free Voice Memo app and record a story of your favorite memory with the person you are giving it to.
Or if you want a gift for your grown child, record their favorite bedtime story. There is nothing more personal than hearing a dear voice retelling a story that brings comfort, a sense of safety and love.
Here are a few tips to make your recording more professional:
- Make sure you are in a quiet room without too much echo – a closet is the best.
- Speak low and keep the microphone close to your lips. Check the recording level before you record the whole story. Make sure your voice is at a comfortable level, but the volume is also at a comfortable level where the volume dial doesn’t have to be all the way up. Keep the overall level even, backing off a little bit from the microphone for exciting parts when your voice raises up. You may have to do it a few times until you judge it’s comfortable for repeated listening.
- If you feel adventurous, add instrumental music in the beginning and end – you can do this in GarageBand after you record your voice by lightly playing the music at the beginning and then manually fading it out when you start speaking.
- Introduce your story in the beginning, keep it around 3 minutes and in the end, finish it with a personal message, like “I love you Aunt Mary!”
- Make a cover on Canva.com and present it as a MP3, CD or a digital download. You can even upload it to YouTube and share it privately or unlisted – or publicly if it’s ok with the person you are giving it to.
Spend an evening creating these gifts — make yourself a cup of tea, light a candle, put the music on (unless you are recording) – it will feel like you are gifting yourself, it will connect you deeply with the person to whom you are giving your gift, AND it will allow them to experience something extraordinary through the time and energy you have woven into it…
(Don’t worry if they don’t display their feelings right away, some people need time to process their feelings. It doesn’t take away from the preciousness of your gift.)
DISCLOSURE: I have no professional or financial gain from the companies mentioned here, nor have I received any product, services or compensation from anyone in the process of writing this blog.
Tajci Cameron Award-winning music artist, published author, host of TV show “Waking Up In America,” certified holistic life coach.
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