Make Lifelong Memories With Unique Gifts in 2011

Shopping and gift giving can become rote and boring after years and years. Many of us grow tired of giving the same kinds of gifts every year – things like clothing, electronics, gift cards, etc. After a desire to change our gift giving habits each year and have this year the year where you give "awesome" gifts – finding those gifts is always difficult, which often results in the same old song and dance every year.

Giving a unique and "awesome" gift unduly requires some thought and planning. How do you find something that the person will love but that they do not already have? It's difficult because in a society that is consumed with "stuff" people often buy the things that they want when they want them. This leaves us few options when it comes time to shop for gifts.

Before you begin shopping for gifts this year, consider this: What makes life unique and enjoyable? Is it the things that we collect? The material objects that we possess? In some cases it is, but more often than not it is the experiences that we have that we look back on so happily. Think about your summers as a child – what do you look back at more favorably: the time spent playing with your family and friends or a toy that you had?

So what does this have to do with giving gifts? Gifts are "things" right? Gifts are material possessions, not memories. Right? Not anymore.

The growing industry of experience gifts is taking traditional gift giving "practice" and turning it on its head. Instead of giving someone a new "thing," experience gifts allow you to give them a unique and memorable experience. Things like taking private ninja lessons, learning to blow glass, driving a stock car, jumping out of an airplane, or whitewater rafting are only a few of the thousands of options.

And the proof is in the pudding, so to speak. People that receive experience gifts constantly rave about them. The most common thing you'll hear about experience gifts is that they are "the best gift I've ever received." Sounds great, right?

Instead of giving someone a "thing" for their birthday, Valentines Day, Father's Day, Mother's Day, or Christmas this year, give them an opportunity to create a lifelong memory of doing something that they've always dreamed of doing. In the same way that you remember the fun of summer as a kid much more than you remember the toys you had when you were growing up, experience gifts give people the ability to create a memory that they'll look back on with a smile on their face long after the clothes you could have bought them go out of style or the electronic gadget you would have purchased for them is outdated.

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