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Giving the gift of endorphins

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While 2-year-olds the world over may insist otherwise, there is a joy in giving.

Exhibit A: my parents. When I was growing up, they'd start scrimping and saving as soon as the weather grew cold — which was pointless, because by Christmas Eve they were deep in the hole anyway. They made dozens of "secret" trips to the mall to purchase toys, pajamas, musical instruments and fashionable sneakers, which they'd stash in every nook of the house before wrapping and shoving them under our beleaguered Christmas tree.

And what did they get in exchange for all this expense and subterfuge? Oh, I still have photos: My brother and I looking surprised and overjoyed, covered in shreds of colorful paper. They took joy in seeing us excited.

Problem is, those endorphins ran out pretty quickly, leaving my parents with only credit card debt and a big mess.

Sound familiar? If so, here's a way to cheat the system: Give a gift that keeps on giving big, goofy smiles.

Turns out there are lots and lots of "experiential" gifts to give in Colorado Springs, no matter what your family and friends are into: stained-glass classes, food and drink tours, even magic lessons. You can see about a dozen of them in our annual Holiday Gift Guide, starting here, but I'd like to steer you toward my personal favorite. Here's a hint: If you think those old Christmas morning pictures capture some excitement, just imagine the look on your loved one's face as she jumps off a cliff.

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