(NEWS10) — Supply chain issues are making this holiday shopping season even more stressful, but what if we could remember a lesson from Dr. Seuss: maybe Christmas doesn’t come from a store. A local woman shared with NEWS10’s Lydia Kulbida how you can make the holidays mean a little bit more.

Even in a non-pandemic year, holiday shopping can turn the nicest person into the Grinch. But in a year when you’re fighting crowded parking lots only to find bare store shelves, perhaps it’s time to rewrite this Christmas story.

Anita Decianni-Brown is making a list and checking it twice. But unlike presents from Santa, her gifts come wrapped in clues instead of ribbons.

About six years ago a friend told her about a gift idea she had created for her husband, giving him clues and he had to figure out what his birthday gift was going to be. “I was like oh my God I love that idea!” Anita said, “I think I’m going to do something different this year so I decided to have a year of experiences.”

Anita’s year of experiences is much better than Clark Griswold’s one-year subscription to the jelly of the month club. It’s a gift of time and togetherness that everyone has to guess before they get to do.

“The first year it took them an hour and a half to figure things out,” Anita recalled. “In some cases, I have coordinates, in some, I was trying to be creative with a riddle, but now they’re getting better, it takes them about 45 minutes to figure out where we’re going.”

Some experiences begin in their own home, cooking together as they explore new cultures and cuisines. “We’ve done Ukrainian food, we’ve cooked Greek food, we’ve learned how to make sushi.”

From visiting ice castles in New Hampshire to sunflower festivals in the Hudson Valley, each year Anita tries to find something new. “I thought if we did something different each month it would be the gift that keeps on giving and it would be a gift to myself because I would have that one day or that one weekend where we dedicated our time to each other,” Anita recalled.

Making memories not just on Christmas morning, but all year long as they hike to local waterfalls … work on craft projects together… and remind each other that a present can be your presence. “It’s just having quality time with my kids and I would much rather have that than things. I cherish the memories a lot more than a pair of jeans or a shirt, yeah those are nice but I’d rather have the memories.”

And for parents of young kids who might really want this year’s trendy toys, Anita reminds us, “Kids want to spend time with their parents too. If you don’t look at it from a perspective of them being disappointed because they didn’t get this present under the tree, maybe create a day around them, a special day, have them participate and decide what are things I want to do on this day and make this day all about them.”

It may seem like a delayed gift but’s it’s also a gift to look forward to later. “If you can give the gift of your time, the gift of your time is, to me, much more precious than things.”

Anita found free resources online to help create scavenger hunts for her family so experiences don’t have to be expensive. And in pre-pandemic years they all volunteered to cook for the families staying in the Ronald McDonald House, using their time together to give back to others.