For the past few years, I’ve been on this “let’s give experiences rather than objects” for any occasion that traditionally comes with the social requirement of gifting. It hasn’t worked out quite yet, not fully. The idea is that the Christmas tree has beautifully wrapped boxes under it, but inside of them, instead of new house shoes, are tickets to a basketball game… a calendar with a weekend circled for that cozy weekend in the woods you have booked on AirBnB… airline miles to use for the weekend trip to the coast.
Rocky and I have dabbled in this a bit. A couple of years ago I bought us both McMenamins passports (if you know, you know) and we’ve been working our way through those. Last year he bought me a weekend at a McMenamins hotel – both an experience and a stamp in that passport. I got him tickets to a Trailblazers game last Christmas… see… experiences.
Sure, using something special someone has given you is a memory in itself and there is nothing wrong with that. But as we all get older, I find it harder and harder to get something for someone. We make more money, buy the things we need/want before a birthday or Christmas or Valentine’s day creeps up, but memories are endless. From an afternoon in the park with popsicles from the ice cream vendor to something more elaborate, like a trip across the country. They fit all price points and they show a great deal of care… more so than those house shoes.
In comes COVID-19. Many of the friends in my long-time-friend circle are all approaching 40 this year. That’s quite a birthday. One of our closest and dearest friends turned 40 last month. Not only was his 40th birthday tour of the east coast cancelled, but he had to leave his house on his actual birthday due to threat of fire (he returned a few days later, not to worry). That’s not quite the memory we all think of when we think of how we’re going to remember a milestone birthday.
For the past couple of years, we’d celebrate at one of the best restaurants in town, spend way too much money on the most amazing plates of food, drink incredible bottles of wine and laugh for hours about everything funny that we could tell a good story about. This year we couldn’t. For one, they were only seating outdoors for the summer, and secondly, the smoke was so bad that week EVERYTHING was shut down. So in an effort to get him something truly special for his birthday, Rocky and I decided to gift him this same dinner, but at home. We can’t completely replicate it, we don’t have the kitchen or skills the chef there has BUT we can come close.
So tomorrow, our house will transform into the best version of OX we can come up with and we’ll dine on amazing plates of food cooked here, drink incredible bottles of wine from our very own wine country and laugh for hours about everything funny that has happened since the last time we celebrated his birthday.
And while we won’t be doing this around a huge wood fired oven, we’ll throw a duraflame in our tiny fireplace and sit around the fire anyways.
This is what memories are made of.