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Near and Far

Jamie Jones of Whirlaway Travel explores some travel options abroad and highlights their local counterparts

There’s been a trend toward living a more minimalist lifestyle in recent years. From capsule wardrobes to tiny houses, people want to rid their lives of material possessions in a quest for an uncluttered existence. I’ve jumped on the bandwagon and become very mindful not to add more stuff and things to my life. Having kids makes this challenging—the more junk we get rid of, the more they accumulate—but we recently performed a mass dump of toys, trinkets, papers and clothes that the kids have not used in the past six months. The bags of donations and trash were a bit startling. Surprisingly, they’ve been pretty good at staying on top of their newly cleaned rooms, which got us to thinking about the holidays. Do we really want to undo all of the hard work by gifting them more stuff? My happiest memories have been experiences: watching my kids ride off without training wheels for the first time, exploring Hawaii with my husband on our first solo trip together, getting lost in Antwerp with my mom, early morning walks in West Chester with my dad during my first pregnancy. The gifts I’ve received, while they may have a special place in my heart, are nothing compared to those precious memories of time spent with loved ones. This year we decided to gift experiences to our family in lieu of more things. West Chester-area businesses offer many experiences to choose from: The Painted Plate, Treehouse World, gelato-making at Gemelli’s, plant-based chef classes at Love Again Local, kid’s cooking at HomeCooked, Escape Rooms, The American Helicopter Museum, Uptown! Knauer Performing Arts Center, Tee It Up… the list goes on and on. If we were really ambitious we could probably plan out every weekend for the next year with something different to create memories with our family. There is also travel. My most memorable Christmas’ growing up were spent in Grand Cayman dancing to steel drum bands. There were no gifts under the tree those years, but our holiday spirit was running rampant because we were spending time together away from the hustle and bustle of life at home. As a professional, some of my favorite trips to plan are those that include three and four generations. The logistics of planning and working with a variety of personalities can be challenging, but listening to the stories and sharing in the happiness when the family gets home warms my heart. Every family talks about doing a trip like it again because of the memories created. I want to witness the first time my daughter sees an elephant on safari in Africa and watch my son’s delight as he explores Treehouse World. I know that those experiences will have more meaning to them then the newest Lego set, or neon Sharpies and sketch paper. I also want my kids to share stories of exploring Longwood Gardens or the back streets of London with their families one day. Whether it is near or far, the greatest gift I can give my family is experiences, because memories don’t collect dust and can’t be discarded with yesterday’s trash.—jjones@thewcpress.com

DECEMBER 2018 THEWCPRESS.COM

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The WC Press Local Gift Guide - December 2018  

Voice of the Borough

The WC Press Local Gift Guide - December 2018  

Voice of the Borough