It’s that time of the year again! The holidays are around the corner, bringing with them all the usual excitement. We’re all looking forward to getting together with friends and family, making memories, and sharing stories. But there’s one thing we need to deal with first: buying gifts.
Black Friday has just passed, the best time of the year to find shopping deals. You’ll want to know what you’re gifting your family well before Christmas. After all, nobody wants to be known as the “lazy gifter”.
If you’re having a tough time thinking of gifts to give, you’re not alone. In 2019, a report found that 47% of US shoppers still needed gift ideas for the holiday season even as late as October!
The time has come to take an axe to the cycle of boring gifts. In the rush to buy the latest products, too many people forget that experiences often make better gifts. Make 2023 the year you skip generic gift ideas and give your loved ones unforgettable experiences instead!
Five Reasons Why You Should Gift Experiences
Don’t just take our word for it, research proves that experiences make better gifts than products. In 2016, a research paper shared that experiences brought the gift-giver and the recipient closer together than material gifts.
It makes total sense when you think about it. You can come up with great ideas for fun experiences for all age groups. Group kayaking for a bunch of adventurous friends, an hour in a bouncy castle for the kids, or tickets to a play for the patrons of the arts in your circle… the possibilities are endless!
There’s also the fact that material gifts come with their own shelf-life. You can’t be sure that the person you’re giving a gift to will keep using it. It always hurts to know the clothes you gifted a friend are now in a forgotten corner of their closet. While material gifts often devolve into clutter, experiences are meant to be enjoyed in the moment and don’t lose any value. When you gift an experience, you’re gifting a good time, and everybody loves a good time!
Here are five reasons why we think experiences make the best gifts.
1. Experiences Are More Social
Material gifts are usually meant to be enjoyed by just one person. But when did we forget that sharing is caring? Gifting a shared experience allows a group to get in on the fun and fosters stronger social bonds. In fact, a 2017 study published in the Society for Personality and Social Psychology’s journal reported a phenomenon known as “companionizing” where sharing a gift caused recipients to like their gifts more, and feel closer to the gift givers. This year, give gifts that bring people closer together.
2. Experiences Are Unique
Everybody enjoys a break from their routines. Gifting experiences allow you to send friends and family off on adventures they wouldn’t have otherwise. Even a highly practical gift that someone would use every day, like a new pair of shoes, doesn’t allow the recipient to live out an experience they’ve only dreamed of before.
But gifting an experience—like tickets to their favorite artist’s concert—does! It’s a unique gift idea that stands out from mass-produced goods on the market.
3. Experiences Make Memories
One of the best parts about gifting experiences is they have no expiration date. An experience is something that exists forever in your memory. When you go on a hike together, you and your companions will never forget the view you shared at the top of the trail. Every gifted experience, whether it was shared or enjoyed alone, creates a memory that can be cherished. As long as your friends and family remember the joy they felt while enjoying your gift, they will continue to love it.
4. Experiences Let You Learn
A gift that lets you grow is truly special. Material gifts lack the significance of special gifted experiences. Is there a seminar conducted by an expert that could help your friend in their career? Signing them up for it as a gift is a great idea!
Learning something new can also be fun, like signing up a group of friends for a basket-weaving workshop or axe-throwing lessons. Whether you’re young or old, it’s never too late to pick up new skills, and gifting experiences can be educational and entertaining.
5. Experiences Feel More Personal
A surefire way to make someone feel special is by giving them a gift that is tailor-made for them. Experiences allow you to do that to a greater degree than material gifts. We all have that one friend in our group who is impossible to shop for. Perhaps they already have everything on their wish list, or maybe they’re just not interested in keeping too many possessions.
Rather than an impersonal object, gifting an experience lets the recipient know you were thinking about them personally.
The Best Way to Gift an Experience
It’s not difficult to gift an experience to remember. Choose the kind of activity someone would enjoy based on what you know about their interests and passions. Some people enjoy laser tag, others enjoy museum tours, and it’s up to you to know which they prefer. Putting the right experience and the right person together creates magic and leads to a memory they will never forget.
Also, remember to be considerate of the gift recipient’s time when gifting experiences. If the experience you’re planning involves a significant investment of time, like a weekend getaway, it’s always better to ask the recipient directly about their preferences.
Gifted experiences should be convenient for the recipient, and it should never be sacrificed for the sake of a surprise. Be honest with your recipient and they will appreciate their experience to the fullest.
You can make 2023’s gifting season your most memorable one yet by gifting experiences. They may not fill any stockings, but they will always fill your friends and family’s hearts!