Thank you for indulging me all year as I’ve talked about consuming experiences instead of stuff. When I think about December with all the holidays and all the celebrations, I realize that most of us already know which experiences we’re going to consume this month. Many of them will be the traditions that make the holidays so special. I also realize that I probably don’t need to give you any more things to add to your to-do list this month.


I didn’t want to go without rounding out my yearlong experience consumption, so I thought I’d revisit some of the ideas from earlier in the year. If you happen to find yourself looking for something to do this month, here are a few suggestions.

Make a big pot of soup from scratch. Try to use up as many ingredients that you already have in your pantry, refrigerator, and freezer before you shop for new ingredients. has a great search feature that allows you to search by ingredients you have on hand. Type in the ingredients you have and put “soup” for a keyword and see what you come up with. When you’re done making your soup, share it with a neighbor or someone else you think may enjoy it.

Have a clean-out-the-fridge picnic. You don’t need to buy special picnic food to go on a picnic. Grab the odds and ends of fruits, raw veggies, meats and cheeses that aren’t enough to make a whole meal and have a picnic smorgasbord. Have the picnic in your backyard or ride your bike to a pretty picnic spot. (Or, since it’s December, picnic on your living room floor while watching holiday specials on TV.)

Enjoy a museum: Target has an arts and culture program that sponsors free or reduced admissions to many museums and other cultural events. Some of the free deals are amazing like free admission to The Franklin Institute in Philadelphia on the third Wednesday night of each month and Imagine That! Children’s Museum in Atlanta on the second Tuesday of each month.

Bake it forward. Celebrate Fair Trade Month by baking something delicious using fair trade products and giving it to someone else, also known as baking it forward (it's OK to a bake second one for yourself). There's a special tin that you can purchase that educates the recipient about the importance of fair trade. Then that person can bake it forward and give away their treats to the next person.

Rake a neighbor’s lawn. If you have an older neighbor or one who has difficulty raking the lawn, head out with your rake. Don’t ask. Just do it. And, while you’re at it, jump in a big pile of leaves a couple of times.

For more on experience consumption, check out my original post Why I'm optimistic about 2010: Experience consumption as well as the ideas for JanuaryFebruaryMarchAprilMay, JuneJulyAugustSeptember, October and November.

Robin Shreeves ( @rshreeves ) focuses on food from a family perspective from her home base in New Jersey.

Experiences to consume in December
Just in case you actually have an empty square on your calendar this month, try one of these experiences.