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  • Writer's pictureLisa Harris

Create A Memory, the Perfect Holiday Gift

Updated: Jul 6, 2020

This holiday, when it comes to finding the perfect gift, I’m trying something different.

Instead of just buying “stuff”, this year I’m looking for gifts that create shared memories.

As an added benefit, I’ll avoid adding to my friends’ and family’s clutter … especially my boys! Too often, especially when they were small, their presents quickly went unused, taking up space throughout our house. I still remember the Speed Racer track set that my son “HAD TO HAVE” … it was his super-most-favorite toy for about 20 minutes.

And if you have a friend who’s impossible to shop for, or you’re married to the “guy who has everything” (and buys what he really wants anyway), perhaps it’s the year to stop looking in the same places. I am!

Now don’t get me wrong … you’ll still may want to buy wrapping paper or a gift bag for a small physical gift to accompany your experience, like a new bathing suit for an outing like a water park, or binoculars for a hiking adventure. Here are some more fun gift experiences:

  • PERFORMING MEMORIES: From Broadway to Bergen Pac to the Bergen County Players, just to name a few, the NY/NJ area has theater for any budget. A quick scan uncovered that “Super Diamond” (featuring the Surreal Neil), a Neil Diamond tribute band that I used to see in San Francisco, is playing in Englewood in February! Or, the classic two-person play, “Love Letters” is coming to Oradell in April. The same goes for sporting events, movies, and concerts. And, if you pre-purchase a t-shirt or another small item, your gift will have added meaning.

  • MAKING IT SPECIAL: Last year, our family from Florida visited us for the holidays. One of my favorite memories from that experience was the day we all we went to Uptown Art in Westwood. Not only did we enjoy white wine (just the adults), but our colorful pictures still hang throughout our houses. Other industrious outings are Board & Brush wood sign making in Ramsey (Did that one too, lots of fun!), Color Me Mine, Ceramic painting in Ridgewood.

  • SOMETHING WILD: One of the most surprising venues to open in our area is Bury the Hatchet. The Canadian sport of axe throwing has made its way to Paramus. Combine it with beer, wine and snacks you bring (they’re a BYO facility), and you have a party. Or maybe you’re more of a fly by the seat of your pants person … literally. Then iFly (also in Paramus) could be what you’re looking for. My good friend bought a session for her husband. While the whole thing lasted about two minutes, the memory (and the hilarious video she shared on Facebook) last a whole lot longer.

What I truly love about this process is thinking about all of the shared experiences and connections we’re going to make the next few weeks and months. Not only when I give the gift, or even when we get to use it together. Similar to the excitement before a vacation, planning the experience … and now shopping for it … is half the fun!

Let me know what experiences you’re sharing with your family in the comments below.

The NJ and FLA Harris family visit Uptown Art in Westwood

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