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Experience Beyond-the-Box Gifts for the Holidays

) Katrina Gadong |

With hearts and minds worn and weary on the last month of the year, it can get even more stressful when you add coming up with unique Christmas gifts in the mix, especially when you also have to imagine where and when to buy them while the holiday rush is already at its all-time high.

Before you could even consider handing over that uninspired mug or boring pair of socks purchased at the last minute, up your gift-giving game and think outside the box. If you still can't wrap your head around what presents to offer this Christmas, perhaps it's because the best gifts, those that your loved ones will truly value, aren't meant to be wrapped.

Why not give experiences instead of material items for the most wonderful time of the year? Several research have shown that experiences have the ability to contribute to happiness—the lasting kind—so much more than material possessions. And aren't joy and peace the very characteristics of the spirit of the season? Here are some suggestions on experience-based gifts.

Tickets to a live show
Sure, a premium subscription to Spotify is sweet but the perfect treat for a music fan would probably be tickets to their favorite artist's concert. International superstars aren't always on tour around the world promoting their work so this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see and hear an artist in person in one's homeland or nearby will top the charts of the gift receiver's favorite memories.

Getaway trip
Whether it may or may not involve buying a flight ticket, getting out of one's comfort zone and going on an adventure is a priceless gift one can only dream of. Exploring a new province, a new country, or even just a new spot in one's hometown is an opportunity to learn more about the world as well as bond and create precious memories with one's companion.

Class or workshop
Education is a continuous and lifelong process, so maybe you would want to give the gift of learning on this holly jolly occasion. What are they (secretly) passionate about that they would want to pursue but never had the chance to? There is an unlimited list of courses available, from cooking to painting to driving to even the lecture-based Introduction to Sociology. With that, "acquiring new skills or knowledge" may easily be ticked off their resolutions for the coming year, way ahead of schedule.

Gym membership
Your loved one will love you even more for once again thinking ahead should you decide to surprise them with this chance to keep fit and healthy all year round. But while he/she says that fitness is his/her top priority for the new year just like the rest of us, we simply don't take the time to get our own membership for lack of motivation or other reasons. Now, with this gift, there's no excuse and can right away start burning the calories gained from feast after feast during the holiday season.

A gift that gives back
While doing good should be an everyday way to live by, Christmastime may boost the loving spirit and be the ideal setting to commit to a cause. Usually, organizations put up items for sale that will also benefit others; part or all of proceeds go directly to a group in need, e.g. buying a pair of slippers will also provide a pair of slippers to a kid living in the streets. You may give the gift of volunteer opportunities: together with your family and friends, you can build houses for the poor, feed malnourished children, or tutor underprivileged students who are a grade behind, to name a few. But if time is scarce, you can consider donating an amount to a charity in your loved one's name.

*PropertyAccess Philippines also recommends you a special gift you could give to yourself and loved ones — the gift of security through a property purchase. Yes, give yourself and your loved ones a secure home through PropertyAccess' vast array of property listings.