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Christmas is just around the corner (again) and while the festive season may seem like a time to eat, drink and be merry – there is also the pressure to get the ‘right’ gifts for everyone.

To be honest I am not the biggest fan of Christmas – other than candy canes and champagne I’m not too fussed on the whole ordeal. This doesn’t mean I don’t love gift giving – I make the biggest deal out of my friends’ birthdays.

I find the best gifts hold a great deal of personal or sentimental value to the other person and sometimes do not even cost a lot. When looking back on the gifts I’ve received – some of the best gifts were actually experiences, like going to the zoo.

So I propose that we stop focusing on buying our friends and families expensive gifts and let’s make Christmas full of sentimental items and invaluable experiences. If you’re stumped for ideas – here are some experiences that would make excellent Christmas gifts.

A holiday instead of a present
For the cost of all the gifts you’ll buy your kids (maybe even less) you could go on a holiday together. Not only will you get some downtime from work and life you’ll be able to spend some valuable time with your kids. Time is the greatest gift you can give someone.

A day trip
If a big holiday will blow the budget (or you’ve used up too much annual leave) you could consider a day trip. One place you could go is Tangalooma where you can feed the wild bottlenose. Each of the dolphins has their own distinctive and unique personalities. And let’s be honest – dolphins are cute! One of the best experiential gifts I’ve received was going to Australia Zoo for my birthday one year.

Annual passes
For most of my teenage years, I had an annual pass to Dreamworld. My friends and I would go to Dreamworld regularly. An annual pass to a theme park really is the gift that keeps on giving.

Volunteering
While it’s known as the Silly Season, Christmas is also about giving and what better way to give than to take the kids to volunteer with more vulnerable people. I have my own personal charities that I support and I suggest linking up with an organisation that serves a cause you believe in to help others.

Words // Nicholas Grech

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haven is all about family, life and style in Brisbane's inner city suburbs, the Gold Coast, south to Byron Bay. We have been keeping parents in the know for over eight years, with fun, fresh and helpful stories that they can take tips from or treasure in their own library.