In last year’s Experience Giving Guide, we listed four ideas for giving experiences rather than things: Pampering, Events, Food and Adventures.
This year we’re adding the gift of your time to the Experience Giving Guide list — and what a beautiful gift it is.
The gift of your time can be to spend an hour, a day, or an evening with the friend or loved one of your choice. You can set up the time for doing activities they enjoy, such as playing video games or taking a walk. Lock away your Blackberry so that you have quality time together without distractions.
Giving time is a good holiday stress reducer, too, because you’ll spend less money. The American Psychological Association names money as the #1 cause of stress over the holidays. With today’s economy, the pressure may be especially apparent this year. You can take yourself off the gift-buying hook by coming up with creative ways to give of your time (which is really giving of yourself).
One great time give-away is to offer a needed service to your gift recipient. Sometimes the things that are second-nature to you are downright hard or impossible for others to do. If it weren’t for my husband, I know that the gas fireplace would still be unusable, but for him it took all of 15 minutes to fix.
You can use your gift of time to help someone address something that would otherwise not get done unless they hired a professional.
What are your skills? Think about what you can do to assist people with time gift packages.
Here are some ideas to get you thinking about how you can offer your time this holiday season:
- Paint a room
- Update a resume
- Plant a garden
- Design a web page
- Prepare a specialty meal
- Take care of children
- Organize a garage
- Fix something that is broken
It can be fun to provide a service and spend time with someone.
In October of last year, I was spending time with my dear friend’s Grandma during her final months of life. I enjoyed talking with her and at the same time I wanted to do something useful. She asked me to help her organize her small closet. As we talked, I held up one sweater after another. Each sweater had a story behind it and she would light up, saying, “Oh, I like that one. Isn’t that a nice burgundy?” While she lay in bed, I folded her to-keep sweaters and placed them in a hanging sweater-holder. The others went into a give-away pile. We both really enjoyed the experience and, with her passing, I hold that simple afternoon of chatting and organizing as a treasure.
If you want to make a gift of time, create your own gift certificate. For my two college-going relatives, I printed out: COUPON — Good for One Afternoon of Washing Machine Usage, Tea, and Conversation. I know they’ll redeem that one. And, we’ll have a chance to catch up with each other.
Who could benefit from your gift of time? What ideas do you have for services you can offer as your gift of time?