There are intangible things to give!
Photo by: Kim Bost
Christmas shopping is stressful. There’s pressure to get the right thing without feeling cheap about it, and I don’t like the idea of wasting money on something that isn’t useful. Also, I don’t want any other things in my house, and judging by everyone’s KonMari allegiance, I know I’m not the only one who feels that way.
For Christmas gifts, I’ve started to actually do something with a loved one instead of getting them an object. It’s a great way to say, “I feel obligated to give you a gift, but also I like hanging out with you.” There are plenty of ways to spread holiday cheer and get some IRL time with friends and family, plus eliminate the anxiety of picking out the correct scarf or feeling like a dud for giving a gift card. Here are some picks that you’re welcome to rip off entirely or use for inspiration to come up with your own plan.
Someone you know still likes Downton Abbey. And everyone will like or currently likes the Virginia Historical Society, which has recently undergone renovations. Come for the dozens of costumes used in the hit PBS show (which takes place throughout the early 1900s, in case you’ve never heard of it and aren’t sure what the clothing fuss is about) and stay for the Story of Virginia (which is the state where we live, in case you’ve never heard of it and aren’t sure what all the historical fuss is about). Blow your dough and go deluxe by treating the Maggie Smithhead in your life to a nice lunch nearby after you go through the museum.
- Now through January 10th
- Virginia Historical Society, 428 North Boulevard
- Exhibit is $20 for non-members, free for members
Take a mom or mom-like figure in your life to this musical and either stare at her accusingly during the entire show or enjoy the lyrics of Stephen Sondheim and the incredible production (depending on your relationship with your mother). I’ve not been disappointed by anything I’ve seen at the November Theatre, and our theater reviewer loved it, too! There is no shortage of quality live theater in Richmond right now, but this one lasts a little past the New Year, so you can make a date after things slow down.
- Now through January 10th
- Sara Belle and Neil November Theatre, 114 W. Broad Street
For the Kids
In lieu of a physical present (which they probably don’t need anyway), spend time with the children in your life by taking them someplace fun. This could also double as a gift for an overwhelmed parent who has to deal with schools being closed. The only 100-piece box that won’t annoy parents is one that’s filled with memories and goodwill1!
Actually getting there is always the tricky part of activities with kids who aren’t yours, since they have to be in booster seats until they’re 24. When you drive a Honda Civic like I do, that severely limits the number of people you can safely transport. But those are the boring details for the adults to worry about.
I suggest the birthday party/field trip staples Jumpology in Glen Allen and SkyZone in Midlothian. Reservations are recommended for both, and they have special time slots for different age groups. I normally don’t go for this type of loud, overactive environment, but jumping on a floor of trampolines with my daughter during a field trip while music from Frozen played is one of my more joyful memories of this year, and it’s good exercise. Pro tip: schedule your visit as soon as the place opens, if possible.
Don’t want to deal with a bunch of small kids flying around? Take them to a movie, like the latest Pixar film The Good Dinosaur or Star Wars: The Force Awakens. Get them all the snacks their parents won’t let them have! But still sneak in bottled waters, because no child is worth a $4.50 Dasani.
What’s nicer than a fancy holiday tea at the historic Jefferson Hotel? Unless you made reservations, you’re not going to find out this year because it’s sold out already. But Southern Season’s Southerly restaurant is ready to step in as your new annual tradition. Treat someone to a festive late afternoon meal featuring scones, sandwiches, desserts, and tea, and follow it up with gourmet food and gift shopping afterwards. Reservations are recommended–oh, also, this is today!
- Southerly (Southern Season), 2250 Staples Mill Road
- December 8th, 3:00 PM to 5:00 PM
- $13 for children, $19 for adults
Get fit with friends
Resolution time is coming up. That means you’ll declare (probably aloud) that you want to see your friends more and you also want to exercise. Streamline those goals and buy you and your friend a reason to exercise together2. For example, a package of classes at Boho Cycle Studios starts at $42 for three. Or, commit to the Monument Ave 10k on April 9th by covering the registration fee or the 10-week training team fee (which includes race entry). Exercise pals are some of the best pals.
- I have too many opinions on gifts for kids–read about that here. Also, gift memberships are a great family gift. Read more about that here. ↩
- I watched a Christmas episode of Friends where they exchanged gifts and I realized that I don’t even consider buying Christmas presents for friends. The last time I bought gifts for friends was probably when Friends was still airing new episodes. I still send a Christmas card to Matt LeBlanc, though. ↩