With the popularity of websites like Groupon, giving the gift of experience has become easier than ever before. Activities ranging from bowling and laser tag to sky diving and zip-lining are all available for purchase in one place and at a discount.

Although a piece of paper or a gift card in an envelope may not seem impressive when sitting next to that ornately wrapped box nestled under the tree, I believe many times they can be much more memorable. I remember my experiences with family and friends more than I remember the physical gifts I’ve been given over the years, and I’ve received some great ones.

This is especially hard when buying for kids. Opening a toy that can be immediately played with is much more appealing to them until they get older. But after the initial disappointment, the excitement over enjoying a new experience is sure to take over.

Another benefit of buying experiences as gifts over material things is the added time for your busy holiday schedule. Time usually spent shopping, wrapping and shipping can be spent enjoying time with family and friends. Experiences can even be emailed, eliminating the need for wrapping and shipping.

Some may feel this is a lazy way out, but as the recipient of some incredible experiences as gifts, I can tell you they didn’t feel lazy. Getting to try something new and not having to pay for it or plan it yourself feels decadent and special.

Happy birthday Sunday to Roger Ferman, Domonik Blanton and Terry Terrell Hester, all of Sherman.

Happy birthday Monday to Margaret Hull and Fran Gardner, both of Denison; Christopher Moses, Vanessa Trotter and Jaedon Gons, all of Sherman; Greg Barber of Georgetown; and merry Christmas to all.