Over the years, for any gift-giving occasion, my family has unintentionally developed a tradition. I love to spoil my friends and family with gifts, but the gifts we all cherish more than anything are the Gifts of Quality Time.
I know Valentine’s Day is this weekend, and to be honest, my husband and I don’t do anything differently than any other weekend. It’s just another day. We are ridiculously in love and, after almost seven years of marriage, we still act like newlyweds, so we don’t really care about that one Hallmark holiday to show it. That’s not what this post is about.
My mom and my daughter have February birthdays, only a few days apart, and for a while now, most of the gifts I’ve given to my mom in recent years were gifts of quality time. And now that my daughter will be a teenager (EEK!), we are steering away from a lot of little gifts and opting more for experiences with her as well.
What the heck do you mean, “Gifts of Quality Time”?
Some of my favorite memories with my family are the times we’ve shared together, trips we’ve taken, laughs we’ve shared. They mean more to me than any material gift I could ever receive.
Today I want to share with you a few of the gifts I’ve given and received over the years that cost not much more than the time spent, and hopefully this will give you a few ideas for your own future gift-giving occasions.
A GIRL’S DAY OUT
My mom and I are super close, and I know that the relationship I have with her has helped foster the close relationship I have with my own daughter, so it’s no surprise that we love to just hang out!
One of my favorite birthdays in recent years was when my mom and I just spent the day together visiting antique stores, trying on silly hats, enjoying lunch & a cupcake at a local eatery, and enjoying the time we had together.
We’re both so busy these days, that it’s refreshing to hit the pause button and just enjoy being together.
A MOMMY & ME TRIP
Marley and I make an effort to take at least one trip together, just the two of us, every year. It doesn’t have to be anywhere spectacular, as long as we’re together.
Over the years, we’ve visited the North Georgia towns of Helen, Dahlonega & Cleveland a few times. I took Marley to the birthplace of the Cabbage Patch Kids to pick out her very own baby.
We spent a weekend in Kentucky visiting the Kentucky Horse Park, and even dropped by the campus of the University of Kentucky, at which point my then 11-year old daughter pledged her allegiance to the Wildcats and vowed to come back as a student in 7 years.
Another very memorable “Mommy & Me” trip was with just my mom & I. We spent a week traveling through the Pacific Northwest together, and it was perfection in so many ways. It’s such sweet memories that I’ll never forget.
A SURPRISE CELEBRATION
This one is a bit more elaborate, but I love the outcome! My mom is an amazing person and she is truly loved by so many, so every few years, I like to surprise her with a party surrounded by all of her friends.
I don’t wait until “special” years, like the start of a new decade, rather I pick random birthdays, because I like to catch her off guard. I’m sneaky like that! One year I had her friends meet us at a wine & paint party place, another year we had game night at my house, and last year, my best friend Debbie helped me put together a surprise party for my mom at our church.
I got to love on my mom and let her be loved on by her friends, and that was as much a gift for me as it was for her. I’ve done this for her a few times, and this year, she specifically told me “Do NOT do a party for me this year, ok? Let’s just relax.”
Don’t worry mom. Two years in a row wouldn’t be any fun! 😉
STAY-AT-HOME DATE NIGHT
You may have seen my January date recap when I shared how I put together 12 dates for my husband as his Christmas gift. Some of the dates are more elaborate than others, but for February, we’re staying home.
Since neither of us are huge fans of all the drama of Valentine’s Day, and anywhere we try to go this weekend will be crazy crowded, our February date is a couch movie marathon together. We’ll be unplugging from our phones & laptops, picking some of our favorite movies, and staying in our PJs together all day long Saturday.
Honestly, I cannot wait! Mark is my favorite person in the entire world (that’s why I married him) and there’s no place I’d rather be than right beside him. (See? I told you we were like newlyweds.) 🙂
FRIENDLY FUN NIGHTS
I mentioned earlier that Marley has a birthday coming up – a big one, actually. She’ll be 13! While I try to wrap my head around the fact that I’m a mom to a teenager, I have been thinking of something special to do for her birthday.
This year, all she wants to do is hang out with her closest friends, so I’ll be picking up 2 of her best friends and taking them to Dave & Buster’s to play games and eat pizza and laugh and giggle and be goofballs together for hours on end.
And I get to sit back and enjoy my daughter being a kid for the brief moments that it lasts.
In our family, we don’t just wait for regular gift-giving occasions to give the gift of quality time. We try hard to make it a regular occurence. Some things we like to do from time to time might be:
– A drive to nowhere: We just like to get in the car sometimes and go where the road takes us!
– Mid-week pedicures with my daughter
– Family game night
– Family movie night
– Be a tourist in your town! “The Walking Dead” is filmed about an hour from where we live, so we took a random day trip to that part of town and soaked in all the zombie goodness. 🙂
I’d love to hear your ideas for giving the gift of quality time. How do you share it with the people you love?
Also be sure to check out my friend Lauren’s amazing e-book, “Thinking Outside the Gift Box“. She’s got some awesome ideas that are really unique & personal for every person in your life.