by Colleen Cook
As a mom of two kids under 3, sometimes I just "can't even" with the clutter around my house. It seems like every room has an abundance of stuff that's threatening to overtake. No matter how frequently I tidy up, each week the surfaces pile up and the clutter starts to take over like kudzu.
As I prepare for the holiday season, I'm trying to be thoughtful about each person on my list - thinking about what they already have, what they don't, what they might want, what they might need, what they wouldn't get themselves, and for my immediate family: what won't add to the abundance of stuff in our house.
When I was 14 years old, I received my most favorite Christmas gift from my parents. It was a gift certificate to our local professional theater, packaged alongside a season brochure. I don't remember one other thing I got that year, but I vividly remember my glee at the promise of a shared experience with my Dad, and the hours I spent pouring over the season lineup trying to choose. We redeemed the gift certificate for tickets to see the tour of the musical Annie, a performance that I also vividly remember - it was one of the first live musicals I had seen.
That gift gave me the power of choice as a young teenager, and it was one of the sparks that kindled a life-long love for the performing arts. I formed a memory with my dad that day that will be with me forever, just the two of us (which was unusual, since I have two younger siblings). I think my parents spent $50 on the gift, which is funny since they've certainly given me more expensive gifts before and after, but the memory was worth so much more.
When I think about the "stuff" I've received as gifts over the years, only a handful remains in my possession longterm, but the experiences I've had have created memories that are mine forever. I don't have to think about where to put them in my house, I don't have to go through the trouble of packing it up when we move, I don't have to worry about the sentimental moment of parting with an item I've been gifted that I no longer need and am ready to donate. It's just mine, for good.
If you'd like to give the experience of a memory at the Renaissance this year, our Box Office offers gift certificates at every dollar amount - we recommend buying in denominations of $30 since that's our average ticket price. With each gift certificate, we provide a beautiful gift card holder and a season brochure. Gift certificates never expire and can be used on any production.