Alternative Christmas ideas--Per Se?

<p>So I used to love Christmas. Always my favorite. As a kid, obviously. As a young person or as a young mother I was so into decorating and buying presents. </p>

<p>Now that I am older and my kids have grown, I think Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. It is totally family oriented w/o the pressure of gifts. This last Thanksgiving we hosted and we decorated and had great food. And there was no pressure about presents.</p>

<p>It is not that I do not want to buy, or can not afford, presents. The problem is, I do not know what to give. I think a gift should be a surprise, or something wanted that you will not buy or can't afford, ie something special. I can't come up with these things for my grown children and they cant't for us (H and I).</p>

<p>So I'm thinking experiences, not items, are the gifts for the future. We are very dispersed, but maybe a family weekend away? There are no grand children at this time.</p>

<p>Any ideas or experiences? Any other ideas (besides giving to charities because that is done on a regular basis)?</p>

<p>Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday because it is just about family getting together without the pressure of gift giving.</p>

<p>Time together is always cherished. And that time can be spent anywhere and with any budget. From a family trip to the ice skating rink, or (the California girl in me) lunch at the beach shack near the Santa Monica Pier (with a walk on the beach after), to a weekend in New York...or beyond. All depends on your price point. But be sure and take pictures. Frame the best ones and make sure everyone has copies.</p>

<p>Another gift to give yourselves: Spend several hours talking (on film) about family life: funny stuff/sad stuff and edit it and give it to each other. Lots of these memories will be lost in time. And yes, someday grandchildren will love to hear about your favorite pie, senior prom, their mom or dad's first day of school.</p>

<p>And my favorite holidays are Thanksgiving and the Fourth of July.</p>

<p>Events and memories are the best gifts any of us can give or get. That's what H & I have mostly given each other & our kids for many, many years. We all spent Thanksgiving with his family in SF, with each of us flying in for it. </p>

<p>Yes, filming memories and making a DVD/CD are good ways to help store cherished memories--something all of us can do with little cost while memories are still live and there. More & more, we just buy a nice token gift for each other & mostly spend our money on events--time with our kids (who live thousands of miles & plane rides from our home), and nice meals together.</p>

<p>The thread title made me think one of your ideas was going to a fancy restaurant. PER</a> SE</p>

<p>I shopped for gifts this year... Material gifts as well as experiences. Little kid really loved her massage gift which she already used. I think experiences are the way to go from now on. I told DH, "Next year, Kalikimaka or bust!" He gave it two thumbs up. :)</p>

<p>My kids ( adults) both really wanted to go to a Giants game, which are perenially sold out to season ticket holders. So I bought them (and D's SO) tickets to last week's games on the resale site. They had a blast and sent me lots of pics and texts during the game (in which our team played the worst all year, but they all had a great time anyway.) On Christmas, it will be a few books and socks and that's it. Neither wants "stuff"--no one in the family has any room for it. H and I aren't getting each other anything, but may replace our camera, our printer, or our CD player--all are dying ugly deaths (and yes, some of us do play CDs still.)</p>

<p>But overall, we would rather just spend less and work less. A walk on the beach in winter is always our best gift.</p>

<p>And I also thought that you were referring to the restaurant Per Se as well.</p>

<p>If the gift recipients enjoy these family times as much as you do....then a family vacation/experience would be a great idea.</p>

<p>A slight twist on a charity "gift"....sites like donorschoose.org allow you to give an amount of money....but the honoree gets to choose the actual projects that will be funded with the donation.</p>

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My kids ( adults) both really wanted to go to a Giants game, which are perenially sold out to season ticket holders.

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<p>We have a HUGE surprise for our two adult daughters tomorrow. We are going to tell them that, today, we purchased tickets to take them to the Packers/Bears game on Sunday at Lambeau Field (we are huge Packers fans). We have never all four been to a game together. They are going to be sooooo psyched! Since D2 has to work Monday, but is off Tuesday, we are going to do our traditional Christmas dinner, with a movie in the evening then as D1 has to leave Wednesday.</p>

<p>We had a nice gathering in SF for Thanksgiving & are planning our next one in LA for D's graduation. Not sure what other experiences we will be springing for in the near future. One day, we'd like to all go on a family cruise--maybe in 2013.</p>

<p>Per Se does sound like a fine restaurant--we have some similar ones in our state.</p>

<p>My parents' Christmas gift for my two teenaged sons and me is to fly us out to San Diego and take us to see UT play Cal in the Holiday Bowl. The Longhorns don't have a very good team this year, but we'll enjoy spending time with my folks. My only hesitation is that my sons may discover they like California and move there one day!</p>

<p>A great gift for the kids is copies of all the family pictures in an album for each. Include wedding pictures etc of mom and dad old family pictures etc</p>

<p>My girls each have an album we made when they we babies our dogs vacations </p>

<p>Whilebthey have lots of current pictures they didn't have pictures of us as kids their deceased grandparents </p>

<p>It's a priceless present</p>

<p>For us because we live so far apart (3 countries, 5 time zones) being together is the present. But, for my older kids I did ask what they wanted but couldn't afford (one in law school one is in grad school) and got them this (within the budget I set for myself). I don't want to waste time and money shopping to surprise them.. I want to be with them and I want to give them a 'treat.' I am not sure this is an original idea. I also bought 5 copies of the same item. One for each of us to have in our primary residence so that we have something which, when we are apart, reminds us of each other!</p>

<p>As a rule throughout their lives, we bought experiences, not things. Travel and school and work schedules are making that a bit challenging for right now. But, we will do it again at some point.</p>

<p>First Christmas ever that we are doing dinner at our own home rather than across town with Grandma (like we did when we lived in the same city), or a two day road-trip away (like we've been doing since we moved to Maryland). Pretty alternate for us! </p>

<p>Happydad is still uncomfortable with the small number of presents under the tree, but I'm planning to put bows on Happykid's power drill set and the Home Depot receipt for the hardwood flooring and consider us done.</p>

<p>I'm guessing a lot of us are at one of those "transition points" in the family cycle. Kids are grown up, but they haven't spun off their own families yet. </p>

<p>Good time to be thinking about what future holidays will look like, when the kids have their own spouses, and then grandkids.</p>

<p>One thing I am definitely NOT going to do: insist that the kids are with us on December 25th. I can reschedule "my" Christmas to whatever date my kids and their families can work it out to be with me. My parents made this choice, and it immediately relieved a lot of stress on me. I could accommodate my husband's family wishes around the holiday, knowing my side would be there waiting for us whenever we could get there. That was usually two or three days after the "real" holiday.</p>

<p>I had the same reaction as mathmom above - I thought you had snagged very hard to get reservations at Per Se!</p>

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We have a HUGE surprise for our two adult daughters tomorrow. We are going to tell them that, today, we purchased tickets to take them to the Packers/Bears game on Sunday at Lambeau Field (we are huge Packers fans)

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<p>teri- H, D and S would would love that! Have fun!</p>

<p>Not quite as exciting but tomorrow we have reservations for lunch buffet at a local Chinese restaurant and then were going to see "Warhorse". I am looking forward to that and it's what the kids wanted to do (since we aren't going to the Packers game :) ).</p>

<p>Actually I was referring to Per Se--the restaurant. I was playing off the idea of an experience. Probably most of you who picked up on this are New Yorkers.</p>

<p>In my case no...west coast. But we've been to New York several times recently. I love New York. It is the only other place that I would want to live, other than here.</p>