Why did I buy a Magicbox?

by Sarah Lewis


My husband and I have a tradition. We take it in turns to surprise each other. Usually with a new experience. One time, I took him to an improv class. Another time, hetook me to see Avengers, even though he can’t follow the plot (too much travelthrough time and space), because I love superhero movies.

This time was my turn.

I struggled to think of something. We’ve done so much, we’ve been zorbing, we’ve done virtual reality gaming, we’ve been for tasting menus at gorgeous restaurants. How do you surprise a man who seems to have tried everything? Worse, if he really wants to do something, then he organises himself to do it.

Why do we surprise each other with experiences? It’s how we keep our relationship alive. As the parents of two young children who work full time, we don’t get a lot of time together. Shared experiences bring people together, give you stories to tell others, make you feel interesting and connected to each other. That’s a good foundation for a relationship.

One study published in the journal of marriage and family, and we would argue this counts for any relationship of importance, shows that when people do activities together, they release oxytocin, the bonding hormone. Experiences are where it’s at if you want to build a friendship or relationship.

So back to my story, I was struggling to think of a secret surprise to get for my husband. My friend suggested that I check out Magicbox. At first, I thought it was a usual gift experience company – so it didn’t really solve my problem of thinking of something – but my friend insisted I look at it more closely. That’s when I saw that there was something very different about Magicbox, something that actually solved my problem pretty neatly!

Magicbox, doesn’t ask you to choose the experience for someone. You get the box, personalise the note, then give it to your loved one. Your loved one then goes online to explore the different experiences available. Some of them are intense experiences for one, some are shared experiences for two, some are multiple classes to learn a new skill. I was pretty intrigued, so I purchased a Magicbox online. There were two options – Amazing at $80 SGD and Unique at $150 SGD – and there are different activities available depending on your box.

So, the Magicbox arrived 2 days later, it was packed in bubble wrap so it came neat and tidy. It arrived during the day and as I work from home, I was able to sneakily hide it somewhere he would find it. When he came through the front door from work, I had to work really hard to not blurt out “I have a secret surprise for you! It’s hidden in your cupboard!”, but I made it, I kept my face neutral and said “Welcome home, love.” He came out of the bedroom looking a bit confused and said, “Well, well, well, what have we here? This looks pretty smart.” as the realisation dawned that it was a secret surprise. I said “It’s a secret surprise!” gleefully “but it’s better than usual! Guess! Guess!”. He opened up the box and peeked inside. He looked at me lovingly once he’d read my message and came over to kiss me. He said, “It looks like I have to go online and choose something, let’s see, I’ll get my phone.” I was fidgeting as he went to www.magicbox.com.sg, the website with the experiences.

He became absorbed in scrolling through the options, “Let me get this straight,” he said, “I can choose from all this?”. At about that point, my excitement got the better of me and I burst, “Yes! You can choose anything from this list! I was looking through when I bought it, and I thought the Fragment Room looked different, also, we’ve never tried resin making, and messy is always fun. I also have a hankering to try parkour if you feel like working up a sweat. Or we can just chill out in a spa followed by dinner, or scrap the spa and try that tasty looking paella class and stuff ourselves until we can’t move.” I hear a little voice peeping “What’s resin making? What’s that box? I like mess. Can I come?” and my 4 1/2-year old son pops up like a jack-in-the-box from next to the sofa, plastic digger firmly clamped in white fingers. My husband grinned at me, “All of that sounds pretty fun actually, we might need more of these magic boxes. I fancy that Fragment Room thing, there’s something a bit unsettling and liberating about smashing stuff with a baseball bat. Plus, it’s a pretty epic story to talk about next time we see the crew.” He smiled down at our son and tickled his armpits “You can’t come to this one trouble, but there are a couple of things for kids we can check out, maybe for your birthday?” Son squealed.

He picked up his phone and called the number for The Fragment Room, “I’d like to book a session please, it’s with the Magicbox package, I have all my information here, what do you need to know?” We passed over the number from inside the Magicbox, and just like that it was booked!

We haven’t been yet, but just like a present at Christmas, part of the fun is anticipating it. I can’t wait to smash some stuff with him and share all that adrenaline, anarchy, and, yes, oxytocin.