I'LL always remember the progressive dinner our son Matt organized for our 25th anniversary.
He was away at university, but as a surprise gift he had arranged and paid to have a limousine pick us up from home, take us to one restaurant for an appetizer, another for the main course and a third place for dessert.
We value experiences more than things. And in most cases, unexpected experiences boost the value even higher.
Whether you are doing some last-minute gift shopping or want to add something even more special (and this applies any time of the year), consider giving an unexpected experience - whether something you pay for or something you do.
"The thrill of buying more stuff wears off in short order," says Gregory Karp, author of The 1-2-3 Money Plan. "By contrast, the longevity of a great memory improves over time."
Research shows people are happier spending money on positive life experiences than on things. In financial terms: "Experiences appreciate, assets depreciate."
That special holiday, memorable dinner, mountain hike, moonlight swim, amazing concert, surprise birthday party - those are the experiences we treasure.
So it follows if you can give the gift of an experience, the recipient will value it more than a thing.
If you have the money, you can pay for the experience; if not, you can provide it yourself.
And if you are doing it yourself, take it to the next level. Do something out of character - in a good way.
For example, perhaps being tidy really isn't your thing. So give the gift of tidiness - for a day, for a week. Or both prepare the meal and also clean up afterward. Or set up a keepfit program - and take part in it, too.
"Summer vacations and weekend getaways, concerts, board games, special meals out (not routine ones)" - it's the experiences that will be remembered, says Karp. And if you do give things, make them the sorts of things that provide an ongoing or repeated experience.
Mike Grenby is a columnist and independent personal financial advisor; he'll answer questions in this column as space allows but cannot reply personally - email email@example.com.