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Creating memories with MyBestGift, the online marketplace dedicated to gifting kids activites and experiences

Ahhh Christmas. Or as I call it, stuffmas. Because that is what the day has become…a day of handing over stuff. Over packaged plastic stuff.
Each Christmas, my parents would load us into the family car and we would travel west, past Goulburn to my grandparent’s farm. No matter the year, Christmas day would run in the usual order; open presents while the parents and grandparents sipped on sherry, and then proceed to have lunch. Once our bellies were full, we would be let loose to play on the farm.

One year, my brother was asked to write about his Christmas Day for a school assignment. He would have been young, still in primary school. My mother had read his report before it went off to his teachers. Recently, she shared the words my brother had written. He did not mention the presents being his favorite aspect of the day. It was playing cricket with his family. His favorite memories he had accumulated were all about doing things, not the presents.

When my mother brought up this story, I tried to recall the presents I had opened throughout my Christmases. Truthfully, I could not remember many of them. I remember the car rides, playing with the dogs on the farm, exploring the old shearing shed, generally running amuck. I remember toys played with, but they are not the things that made up the happy memories of my childhood. It was the activities I shared with my family and friends that make me smile.

I love receiving experiences as gifts and I love gifting experiences. When it comes to gifts, I’d rather choose moments over things. Not add to the unfounded belief that giving a physical object is the only way to celebrate an occasion. Happiness is not tied up with stuff.

Recently, I discovered MyBestGift. An online website that is all about gifting experiences to kids. Launched this year, the website allows us adults to find experiences for kids by age, theme and location. Looking for something not made of plastic for a 10 year old boy? Try a lesson on abseiling, kayak, skateboarding or cooking. There is also a section dedicated to parents and bubs. I’d much rather a enjoy attending a music class with my baby to come, than collecting toys, that will become forgotten too quickly.

MyBestGift
caters for children of all ages, from newborns to 18 year olds. I spoke with founder Sara Eastwood about her venture and what it’s been like creating a site that promotes choosing moments over things and tips to have waste free Christmas. 

Creating memories with MyBestGift

Creating memories with MyBestGift

What is My Best Gift and what inspired you to start this service?
MyBestGift is an experience gifting site, dedicated entirely to kids' experiences. I have two little girls, Mila 5yo and Sophie who's about to turn 2! I realised last year that my girls already had more than they needed and I couldn't imagine them receiving more toys for every celebration, it just seemed excessive and wasteful, given they had their favourite few toys they'd always play with. As a big fan of experience gifts myself, I asked our family to give experiences to our girls instead and initially looked on the existing sites, only to find they didn't cater to kids. I then suggested ballet lessons for Mila, but the local ballet school didn't offer gift vouchers and so my parents paid for the lessons and didn't have anything to show for it so they bought her a toy as well, and the whole thing was a bit of a disaster! I felt like there had to be a better way and after doing some research, decided to start the site myself!

What has been the challenges developing My Best Gift?
I'm not a developer, so that was always going to be my biggest challenge in starting an marketplace online. I brought on a business partner early on, who has the tech experience and knowledge, so we compliment each others skill set.

What surprising lessons have you learned along the way?
I've been really pleasantly surprised by how many people want to help you succeed. I've learnt that if you share your dream with people, they'll do whatever they can to help. I've had complete strangers offering their skills, networks, feedback and encouragement, it's been really incredible.

I realised last year that my girls already had more than they needed and I couldn't imagine them receiving more toys for every celebration, it just seemed excessive and wasteful, given they had their favourite few toys they'd always play with.

So many people assume that giving a present involves buying and wrapping a physical gift. Do you have tips for people on how they can approach/talk to family and friends, asking for no physical gifts?
Yes! Talk to your friends and family about your childhood memories, we remember the things we did and the people we were with, not each and every barbie doll we had. The opportunity to give those experiences is so much more meaningful and creates lasting childhood memories, which is something they'll cherish if they understand the impact they'll have. Whether it's their first surfing lesson, ballet lessons, or a jet boat ride or a trip to the local wildlife park, it's going to be memorable!

They can also get creative in giving their experience gifts! You can set up a treasure hunt in the backyard, with little clues leading them to their ultimate treasure, their experience gift voucher! We have lots of ideas on how to 'wrap' your experiences, you can find them here.

Creating memories with MyBestGift

Creating memories with MyBestGift

Christmas is fast approaching (eek!). What are two easy actions you will be making during the holiday season to reduce rubbish?
1. Experience gifts!! (no surprises there!)
2. And Secret Santa. Instead of everyone trying to buy something for each and every person, just one gift, that you can take the time to think about what that person would really appreciate.

What plans does My Best Gift have for the future?
So. Many. We're launching in the five capital cities prior to Christmas and will be working really hard to continue to grow our coverage in those cities and expand into other areas. We'll also be expanding our offering next year, so stay tuned for our updates ;-)

If you could ban one item of single use plastic from anyone using it, what would it be?
Plastic bags!

2 comments

  1. Love this idea, I totally agree that little ones receive too much "stuff and nonsense" and that even by the age of 5, they have already received enough nonsense to last them a lifetime. This idea of giving an experience that they will remember, makes complete sense. Just love it!
    Fi

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Fiona :) It's great to see the belief that stuff does not equal happiness is gaining traction too.

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