Giving the Gift of Experiences
The holidays can be a really hectic time of rushing to buy gifts for ever-growing lists as families expand due to weddings and births. It can be next to impossible to get the right size, color, or item for everyone. And, these gifts are outgrown, set aside, used up, etc. That’s why a few years ago my extended family and I started a new tradition: to have an experience together. We take a collective vacation - whether in the mountains, at the beach, or some other location. We rent a house together - everyone from Grandma to my sister, to all the “kids” (the youngest is 16, the oldest just got married in November). Spending time together like this, we have great conversations and make really special memories to cherish for a lifetime.
It is during these long walks, meals, board games, scenic tours, and relaxations that we learn about each other and truly connect. The thing is, when you are working and raising a family and running around to activities, you can get so busy that you don’t slow down long enough to just “hang out” together. It’s great to see the cousins enjoying each other’s company like they did “back in the day”. Spending an afternoon playing Frisbee, splashing in the waves, or strolling with an ice cream cone, you can have some great conversations. We love to hear the stories my Mom tells about when she was a girl or about when we were kids, and I always enjoy the opportunity to impart some advice to my nephews or my kids - not that they’ll necessarily follow it.
The years have flown by and now we come together from multiple states. In a few years, my daughters will be off on their own adventures. But, this will be a time to look forward to and to circle on everyone’s calendar. This is “our” time and it is priceless.
The opinions expressed are those of the author. Seek professional advice before taking any action regarding your finances.
Todd A. Slingerland, CFP®
6 Tower Place Albany, NY 12203