THIS time of year can mean frantic present buying, agonizing over whether to buy the red or orange socks for your brother-in-law, and debating whether to cancel Christmas altogether because it’s all too stressful.
But fret not because it can also be truly magical. All you have to do is prepare in advance and conquer the dreaded gifting by giving something incredible to those closest to your heart – such as a vacation.
Giving someone the chance to get out of their monotonous routine is a gift like no other. “People are happiest when they feel socially connected with others – and often that requires a disconnection from the routine and the mundane of the day-to-day,” Cassie Mogilner Holmes, an associate professor at UCLA’s Anderson School of Management, told Condé Nast Traveler.
However, it is not as simple as buying someone a flight and saying “Hasta la vista, baby”. While you think you are giving someone the best gift possible, you could be imposing stress on them – which is entirely counterproductive.
First, ensure the person has adequate holiday time to take and doesn’t already have pre-booked vacations. Although you want it to be a surprise, unless you can access their working and personal diaries, it is probably best to consult with the recipient and work with a travel agent to curate a wonderful vacation, for a price that suits you.
“My best friend at the time booked for us to go away to Italy. I was super excited but literally had no money, so worked and saved and asked my parents for money,” Hati Gould, a London-based fashion student, told Travel Wire Asia. “We had such a great time but she ended up paying for so much and I knew I couldn’t repay her for a long time, so that put a downer on the holiday.”
Be sure not to plan the entire itinerary for them either. Even though you enjoy bungee jumping before breakfast, it may not be for them.
Book the flights, the accommodation, the airport transfer and we suggest planning an additional surprise toward the end of their trip, perhaps an ocean view dinner or helicopter ride.
Little add-ons to the trip can make the vacation special, too. Perhaps get a new luggage bag for them to tease them with what’s ahead, or arrange a classic-car hire for when they arrive at the destination.
Give the present of memories this Christmas and forever be known as the person who gave the best gift of 2017.