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BERKELEY'S NEWS • FEBRUARY 01, 2023

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Non-materialistic gifts for the holidays

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DAVID HALE AND LAURA TORRES | COURTESY

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NOVEMBER 29, 2022

Let’s be honest, finding the perfect gift for someone can be one of the most stressful and time-consuming tasks. You might spend days, maybe even weeks, searching for a gift that will hopefully make that special person grow the biggest smile in the world, only for them to be slightly excited or even disappointed when they receive it. Sometimes you hit the mark right on the dot with gift-giving, and other times you might miss it by a long shot. Either way, I’ve found that it’s very difficult to make a mistake with a non-materialistic gift.

A non-materialistic gift doesn’t necessarily mean there isn’t some tangible or physical element to the gift, but it’s more than just giving someone an object you hope they’ll get joy from. Objects can be put to the side or even thrown out, but non-materialistic gifts give the person an opportunity to capture a beautiful memory or a once-in-a-lifetime experience. They can be experience days, creative activities, nature pursuits or even a course. There’s an endless list of non-materialistic gifts, but lucky for you I’ve compiled a few of my favorites.

National Park Pass

If the receiver of your gift is an avid nature adventurer and spends most of their time exploring the great outdoors, then an annual national park pass might just be the perfect gift! It costs a total of $80 and gives them access nationwide to national parks (and more)! It’s valid for a full 12 months, so they can definitely get the money’s worth out of the pass if they are frequent park visitors. You might even find yourself tagging along with them for a camping trip in Yosemite! Seriously, the beautiful views in the winter when the valley is covered in snow are absolutely unbeatable. They’ll be pleasantly surprised to see all the wonderful locations they have access to within driving distance of California, and the rest of the country, with just one pass.

Gift a course

There’s so much to learn about out there, so why not buy your friend or family member a course in something they’re genuinely interested in. Have they been dying to take a cooking class? MasterClass offers classes by renowned chefs like Gordon Ramsey for $15 a month. There are also an abundance of pottery, painting or other art studio locations littered all over the Bay Area that offer affordable courses for all levels for those looking to get into art. The options are endless! Really get as creative as you want. There’s even opportunities for gardening classes for your plant lovers, photography classes for those who want to get into film photography, and astronomy classes for those who just genuinely want to learn more about stars or finally memorize those beautiful constellations that come out at night.

Surprise them with an experience

What if they’re more of the adventurous type? No worries, there’s an abundance of experiences you can give and even join them on! For the absolute thrill seekers, you could give them the heart-pounding experience of jumping out of a plane and skydiving! For the more mellow outdoorsy types, go on a camping trip together for a day at a nearby beach, lake or national park. There are plenty of amazing hikes and sights to see out there that can be much more valuable than any material gift. Plus the thought that you spent the time to organize such an exciting experience for them might just be more heartwarming than any object you could give. You can even purchase them a comedy or concert ticket so they can experience one of their favorite comedians or artists in person! The opportunities for experiences are vast, so it’s up to you to decide which best matches the personality of the person you’re gifting the experience to.

Offer them your skills

Truth be told, many of us do not have the finances to fund gifts – whether they’re material or non-materialistic. The holidays can be expensive, which is a burden most college students aren’t able to take on. Not to worry! You can still give them one of the kindest non-materialistic gifts out there: your time and skills. If you have an elderly family member who isn’t able to move around as much anymore, offer to clean their house or their gutters for them. They tend to truly appreciate receiving these little things that other people tend to miss or glance over. You can also teach a friend a dish of yours they’ve been begging to learn, or show them how to play an instrument, create a work of art, or whatever it is you’re talented or passionate about. Offering people your time, attention and care is exactly what the holiday season is about. So don’t stress about purchasing gifts if that isn’t within your budget and offer them your skills instead.

Even though the holiday season evokes memories of gift-giving in many of us from our childhood, it’s important to remember that there’s more to the season than just presents. While gifts are wonderful, they’re only temporary, much like the family and the friends we surround ourselves with. So while you’re more than welcome to indulge yourself in a gift or two, make sure you appreciate those important to you and let them know how much you truly care about them. Happy holidays and good luck with the gift hunting this winter season!

Contact Veerle deJong at 

LAST UPDATED

DECEMBER 01, 2022