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Giving the Gift of Experience; How to Move Past the Material

Gift giving always poses a dilemma; scouring the shelves for the perfect present, perusing aisles to pick the right card, and digging around desperately for hints. Then, when you think it’s all over – it starts again – the world is a barrage of birthdays, holidays, events and endless celebrations.

Why Experiences Make for Better Presents

But there is a way of taking the misery out of gift buying and making it a wholly positive experience for both the giver and the receiver. The truth seems to be that we are moving away from material consumerism and into a world where experience matters. Even science backs the theory up; the gift of experiential giving makes people happier. For example, rather than giving someone an expensive shawl or pair of cuff links, you can give them hotel vouchers or a spa day.

Cutting Back the Clutter

We are coming out of a material world; market trends are changing and now, rather than excessive consumerism – it seems the world is trying to cut back. We are all about clearing the clutter out of our homes, sourcing ethical products, and not just splurging without a thought. When you buy a physical gift for someone it can bring stress to a situation. What if they don’t like it? Where will they put it? Are you adding to the clutter in someone’s life?

The Different Levels of Joy

Experiences, on the other hand, deliver multifaceted levels of joy. First, there is the pleasure at receiving the gift, then there is the tingling anticipation at waiting for the experience, there is the experience itself, and then there is the memory of the experience. The value that can be derived from an experiential gift far outweighs the worth of a material object.

The two styles of gifts actually both deliver very different experiences. A physical present is pure momentary joy – a great high followed by a soft fall. An experiential gift brings intense spurts of joy in staggered stages.

Celebrating Social Connections

Another benefit of choosing to give the gift of experience rather than a material object is that experiential gifts are often a shared experience. While a book can be enjoyed alone in the bath, a hotel voucher can be used with someone you love, a cooking class can be a giggle a minute with a whole group of people, and concert tickets can lift your spirits alongside thousands of others. In a world where loneliness statistics are on the rise partially due to the boom of technology and ironically enough – social media; forging connections is more important than ever.

A More Personal Choice

Experiential gift giving also invites us to be more personal. For many people, they have everything they need and want, and often material presents can end up being picked out of panic and being forgotten easily. Buying experiences for people can be a much more specific and person-centered choice. From the band they love to the activity they always wanted to try, this is your chance to show someone how much you know them and even to offer something that could change their life.

Be part of a growing trend to change the way we think, give and consume. Next time, rather than fritter funds away on a half-baked gift that brings uncertainty, instead invest in an experience – hotel vouchers, classes, concerts, and shared adventures all bring something much more worthwhile to the table.

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