Americans spend more than $16 billion annually on gifts that ultimately get discarded or thrown away entirely. And 7 percent of Americans admit to giving a gift they know the recipient won’t want in the first place.
Of course, most of us have received our fair share of coffee mugs, soft throw blankets or scented candles as holiday gifts. And while these gifts do serve a useful purpose, they don’t scream originality and aren’t necessarily desired. Indeed, these types of gifts certainly won’t help the recipient create new memories, expand their horizons, or experience something breathtaking.
So before you think about gifting a friend or family member something uninspired and lackluster, think twice. Instead, break the cycle and pick out gifts your friends and loved ones actually want — and that have the potential to change their lives for the better. Here are three unique gift ideas to help get you inspired this holiday season.
1. The Gift of Culture
If your family and friends are stuck in a rut, always partaking in the same activities and taking the same types of vacations year after year, you might consider giving them a gift that helps them expand their horizons. Experiencing new cultures helps boost our creativity, as we open our eyes to the world around us.
There are so many ways to help family and friends experience new, far-off places. From vacationing in the Caribbean to experiencing the sights and sounds of Paris and the exquisite cuisine in Italy, look for ways to help them see the world through new lenses by experiencing something new and unique.
2. An Adventure Vacation
Americans take an average of 17 days of vacation every year. That’s just over 4 percent of the year. Making the most of that vacation time means balancing adventure and exploration with rest and relaxation, enjoying time with family or spending some thoughtful time on your own, and seeing new and exciting things. Why not give a gift that helps your loved ones better enjoy their vacation time, and make the most of it?
A cruise is perhaps the easiest way to maximize any amount of vacation days. You won’t have to worry about lengthy travel days to get from one place to the next, or the headache of changing hotels every night. You have the chance to see new and exciting locations each day of your trip.
And, in between, you can eat, relax and spend time with family and friends, with everything you could possibly need within easy reach. On cruises to Alaska, for instance, your family can enjoy exciting adventures in ports they may have otherwise never had the chance to see, while still spending their evenings or sea days getting the rest and relaxation they so crave. Not to mention spending plenty of quality time together.
3. Lasting Memories
When it comes to giving gifts to families with children, think twice before you head to the toy store. Whether your friends and family members’ kids are still tiny or are already young adults, giving them opportunities to make memories together is something they’re bound to treasure.
The easiest way to ensure lasting memories are made is to give the gift of new experiences. City tours, adventures like horseback riding or off-road tours, show tickets and tickets or reservations for other experiences guarantee that the family will be setting aside time together doing something new and exciting.
Improving Your Gift-Giving Game
Before you buy another generic gift that will likely end up tucked away or re-gifted next year, it’s time to rethink your gift-giving strategy. Giving new experiences is a chance to help your friends and loved ones expand their horizons, create lasting memories, or enjoy an exciting adventure. With so many options to choose from, there’s an adventure or experience for every person on your list.