Why You Should Prioritize Giving Experiences Instead Of Gifts This Season
Every year come November, we stress about finding the perfect gifts to splurge on for our friends and family. New clothes, gadgets, and cookware can be exciting, but over time, we tend to have a lot of stuff that piles up. In 2018, holiday shoppers spent almost $400 million on unwanted presents that ended up in landfills. This is an incredible waste – one that impacts our wallets as well as our environment. Gifting experiences to your loved ones, rather than material goods, is a fantastic way to create fun memories, build skills and cut down on unnecessary expenses.
Doing so can also create a greater bond between you and your children. You may be inclined to donate to a charity or nonprofit instead of presents. The options are limitless.
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Is this actually a thing?
You bet. The excitement we feel when we buy something new is called “hedonic adaptation.” That joy fades over time as we become adapted to an iPhone or pair of shoes. Experiences, on the other hand, become a part of our identity. Humans are, after all, a sum of the moments in their lives. These instances define our likes, dislikes, and overarching passions.
For someone who loves painting, a set of brushes and an easel is an awesome gift – but is it better than a trip to a famous art museum or a class lead by a well-known instructor? Material goods can’t replace the memories that shape us as people. Experiences also allow for increased social interaction, which helps us lead longer, happier lives. Outings and vacations push us to interact with the world, while items only do so much. Take the money you want to spend on a fancy watch and put it towards a fun, stress-free weekend trip with friends.
You’ll reminisce on that time for decades, while the glow of any watch will fade within the year. With all of this in mind, here are a few ways you can give experiences over gifts this holiday season.
Donate to charity
By giving back, you can directly impact people in need. Instead of buying gifts for your entire friend group, consider donating to an organization in their names. You can also let your children pick charities that they want to contribute to, which teaches a fantastic life lesson. Your donation will help these groups grow their resources so they can continue to provide for the individuals they serve. What better way to celebrate the season than by supporting those who need it?
Purchase tickets to an event
Concerts, sports games and art and food festivals are all super fun times. Is your friend’s favorite band in town? Grab them a pair of tickets so they can have a night of fun they’ll never forget. Maybe they’ll even take you with them! If your uncle loves football, treat him to his team’s next game. Festivals are a fantastic way to spend the day. If your mother-in-law considers herself to be a wine connoisseur, see when there’s a wine festival is in your area. They’ll appreciate the effort you put into finding a gift that directly fits their personalities.
Pay for an instructional class
Does your spouse aspire to be a photographer? Does your child want to learn digital art? Buy a few educational courses that will help them improve their desired skills. Research what’s available in your location and create a homemade coupon they can turn in to you when they want to schedule their session.
There’s also a ton of online classes to choose from if you can’t find anything in-person that suites your needs.
Give them a night off
This is an excellent idea for the workaholics and parents in your life. Gift a massage, manicure, or hair appointment so they can relax and feel pampered. You could also buy them a few essentials so they can have a spa day at home.
Have they been interested in laser hair removal or eyelash extensions? Give them a gift card or certificate. You could also offer to watch their kids and treat them to a romantic dinner. No matter what, they’ll love the break and look back on this present fondly.
Time to make some memories
Gifting experiences is a thoughtful and heartfelt way to show your friends and family how much you care. This holiday season, pass on the material goods – they’ll cherish the memories even more.
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