My poor wife. Twice a year I am the source of great frustration, what to get me for my birthday and Christmas. I don’t “need” anything and I’m not the most communicative guy when it comes to “wants.” She doesn’t need to spend money on me. But she wants to do something special, and with limited input (from me), she is often stumped. But in spite of my lack of cooperation she hits it out of the park. One year it was a day at Fenway Park watching the Red Sox. Another year, Symphony Hall to see John Williams conduct the Boston Pops playing his own movie themes. Both are examples of a theme worth developing this holiday season. How can I give a gift that will be remembered and treasured that won’t eventually end up in a yard sale or landfill, or worse yet, re-gifted to someone else? While I still give material gifts, I’ve tried to prioritize the giving of experiences, preferably with the one receiving the gift.

We give gifts because the recipient is someone we value and we want to demonstrate that value in a tangible way. We spend time pondering this person’s life. What interests do they have? Do they have an obvious need? What delights them? We try to tailor the gift to the unique person we care about. We might define success in gifting as giving what will have lasting value to the recipient. I can certainly do this with an object, but if I can give an experience, and better yet, participate in the experience, I can give a gift that will foster warm reflections for years to come. Let me see if I can spark your imagination to come up with the perfect gift this year.


  • Tickets to a ballgame, concert, play, or movie
  • A visit to a museum, zoo, or theme park
  • A day at the beach
  • Dinner at an exceptional restaurant
  • A round of golf at a top rated course
  • A camping trip
  • Classes or lessons in cooking, music, pottery, or painting
  • A manicure/pedicure/spa outing
  • A trip to a place the recipient dreams of visiting
  • An evening or weekend of babysitting for weary parents
  • A financial review with an Advisor (Yes, we do this for client’s families)
  • A donation in your friend’s name to a charity they are passionate about


This year, my wife and I celebrated Christmas early with our adult children and their families. Because of geography (Maine, New York, Florida), late December would not work but Thanksgiving would. Our daughter loves all things Disney and our daughter-in-law is a dance teacher and choreographer. We took everyone to the Cirque du Soleil show at Disney Springs and it was a great hit all around. There is nothing quite like seeing amazing performers through the eyes of a ten month old grandson sitting on your lap. We all shared an experience that will stick in our collective consciousness for years to come. And that’s the point, isn’t it, giving a gift that resonates with both the recipient and the giver. May your gift giving this holiday season bring you great joy as you find that unique gift for those who matter most.