An experience is for life, not just for Christmas

Think “outside the box” when planning your presents this year…

Take a moment to think back to last Christmas – the family gathering, the wine and good food….and the presents you received. Of these, no doubt some have remained close to your heart, treasured possessions that you will use and cherish for years to come, gifts given with love and thought and received with gratitude. But, almost certainly, among the piles of packages that peeked promisingly from beneath the Christmas tree were a reasonable number that you would have preferred never to receive, or whose appeal faded quickly after the first flush of excitement.

The same is probably true of the gifts you gave. Did the £90 Roboraptor hold the attention of the children as long as you’d hoped? Did you imagine that the Playstation 2 you bought would now be lying forgotten and unloved at the back of the cupboard while its new £350 cousin takes centre stage? Did your brother ever use that 50-piece screwdriver set you had hoped would revolutionise his DIY? Or perhaps behind the polite smiles of your partner as you handed over a well-intended piece of jewellery they were secretly praying you had kept the receipt?

Estimates for Christmas spending in the UK vary, but all the statistics paint a similar story. In 1996, a survey by debit card company Switch found that, on average, every person in Britain spent a staggering £710 at Christmas. By 1998 this had risen to £862. In 2002 the Family Welfare Association found that a family on an average income spent £564 on food, drink and decorations for Christmas Day alone.

Around 15 hours is spent on Christmas shopping and an extra two hours standing in queues at the till. A quarter of Britons take out loans to be able to afford the excesses of Christmas, while 40% admit that Christmas shopping causes them to feel stressed. Each year, Christmas in the UK generates over three million tonnes of waste.

What’s the alternative?

Buy memories – not stuff! An outdoor holiday in Sweden is not only a great experience in itself, but will leave you with fond memories for years to come, long after the joys of more material gifts have faded.

All our experiences in Sweden are carefully managed to minimise their environmental impact. Waste is kept to a minimum and recycled wherever possible. Where transport is required, fuel-efficient alternatives are favoured. If you choose to fly to Sweden, a small additional premium of £3.50 will offset the carbon emissions produced by your flight. Isn’t that a better alternative to acres of discarded packaging and a mound of unwanted presents?

What about the costs?

Let’s make a few comparisons:

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A new 60GB Playstation 3 plus Guitar Hero III game currently costs around £420. So what could you do for a similar sum in Sweden?

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Photo: Anders Dahlin Naturfoto

£342: A family of four (2 adults and 2 children under 16) could spend a week at an award-winning mountain station near the Norwegian border, with a wealth of activities available in the surrounding area from cross-country skiing to spa treatments.

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Photo: Staffan Widstrand

£348: A family of four (2 adults and 2 children under 16) could take a 7-day wilderness canoeing trip along the beautiful slow-flowing Svartälven river camping wild along the way.

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£401: A family of 6 could spend a week in the remote forests of Värmland in a traditional Swedish log cabin. The area is ideal for hiking, canoeing and fishing, and cabin rental includes use of a boat with environmentally-friendly 4-stroke engine to explore the surrounding lakes.

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£414: A family of four (2 adults and 2 children aged 3-14) could spend three nights deep in the Swedish forest on our Winter Wonderland on a Forest Farm experience.

Or why not take your partner away for a romantic break…?

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£229: Go wild in the wilderness with the one you love on a romantic log cabin break for two in the forests of Bergslagen. And you’ll still have £191 left over (why not add an elk safari or some extra nights?).

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£376: Treat yourself and your partner on a weekend at our Country Manor multi-activity Getaway, with accommodation in two-room mini-suites, first-class cuisine and free use of kayaks, boats and cycles when you want to go exploring!

And that’s just for the price of one present!

How do I give a Nature Travels experience as a gift?

There are a number of options:

  • If you are planning a trip with your partner or family, why not contact us and arrange the trip in secret as a surprise?
  • Nature Travels experiences make ideal gifts for weddings or landmark birthdays. We are happy to produce a gift certificate for any of our experiences and let the recipients choose when they would like to travel.
  • We also offer vouchers which can be redeemed against any of our experiences – perfect if you are making a contribution towards a trip or if you unsure exactly what kind of experience would be most suitable.

Think “outside the box” this Christmas – the experience will last a lifetime.

Best regards and Merry Christmas (or “God Jul”, as they say in Sweden!)

The Nature Travels Team

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