So, Christmas time is coming up.  It is just about my favorite time of year.  I don’t know about you, but I do like to spread my spending out over a few months to make it a bit more budget friendly. And I LOVE gift-giving, so it spreads out the joy and anticipation for me as well.

Plot twist: I am also that friend/family member who loves to give practical gifts.

This probably took the wind out of the sails for some of you. “Practical gifts” don’t quite have the pizazz that some crave during the holiday. But I truly struggle to get others things that I think might become clutter or go unused.

I don’t always give socks and toothbrushes at Christmastime.

Usually, I like to dress up my practical gifts with some whimsy and gift experiences. These things don’t clutter anything but your calendar and memory bank, usually, and I am more than willing to invade that space. Concerts, art classes, trips, sporting events, movies, restaurant experiences, park passes, museum memberships, and more have been wrapped up under the Christmas tree in past years.

But then 2020 happened.

Spoiler alert: Just about all of my 2019 experiential gifts were either cancelled or compromised in one way, shape, or form. But I still love to gift practically.  So, what is a girl to do!?

I have to believe that “the new normal” is temporary and that one of these days a revised version of the old normal will creep back into view. So with my most optimistic rose-colored glasses on, I am choosing to gift “hope” this Christmas.

Still with me?

Read on to see how I plan to pull that off.

Infuse Wanderlust:

It may not be today, and it may not be tomorrow, but travel is rarely off the table completely.  Give your recipient something to look forward to and plan for.

  • Gift cards to a local airline
  • Gift card for VRBO
  • Travel accessories like noise cancelling headphones, or a travel pillow
  • Subscription to Audible or Kindle
  • Subscription to Rosetta Stone to learn a new language

Sunshine Suffusion:

The outdoors and distance are not off limits.  After being cooped up for a year, the fresh air is sure to be an exciting endeavor.

  • State or national parks pass
  • Camping or hiking equipment
  • Train tickets
  • Horseback ride
  • Bike Rental
  • Paddleboard lessons
  • River rafting excursion

Explore Local:

The stay-cation is back en vogue.  Embrace it!

  • Gift certificates to local restaurants, breweries, wineries, museums or local artisan shops. Package all of this in scavenger hunt form for added impact.
  • Search for local “passport” programs that would allow the recipient to try a variety of new places
  • Gift certificates to take a food tour
  • Gift certificates to local theaters
  • Purchase a few pounds of coffee from local roasters and package them together with a grinder and a mug.
  • A map of local hikes
  • An art walk

Skill Mastery:

As long as we have extra time on our hands, let’s use it to our benefit and master that skill that has been on the vision board for the last few years – you know, the one you never have the time to get around to.

  • An online cooking class (Check out Chef Brother Luck)
  • And online art class (Check out Painting with a Twist)
  • Learn to speak a new language (Check out Rosetta Stone or Drops)
  • Learn photography (MasterClass)
  • Toastmasters are now meeting online
  • Virtual Yoga classes (Your local Gyms probably have online classes available)
  • Virtual instrument lessons (MasterClass, or a local teacher might be willing to meet on Zoom)
  • Gardening kit

All of these things aid in building anticipation. Anticipation is the proverbial “light at the end of the tunnel.” Something to plan for and to look forward to generates positive emotions and hope for the future.

We might have spent much of 2020 grieving these small losses of cancelled plans, but changing the outlook in 2021 is going to be my goal. I plan to be grateful for the things we have discovered were possible during this time, all while knowing this isn’t the end of the story.

Join me?


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Rochelle is a desert-rat from Arizona who kept moving north until she hit Colorado Springs; good luck getting her to leave now. She wasted no time snagging her husband under the pretense of athleticism and outdoorsy-ness. Among other things, eleven years of marriage has yielded two beautiful daughters, Harper and Quinn. Momming these super-sassy littles is her biggest adventure yet, and provides for some serious writing material. Rochelle works out of the home also, and has a diverse background in public relations, social work, student advising, youth ministry and pyrotechnics. She is presently finishing up her MBA and is juggling all of it fairly well for a person with little to no hand-eye-coordination. She is a firm believer that it takes a village to raise a child and she is beyond grateful for hers.