Research Says Experience Christmas Gifts Are The Way To Go
It’s Christmas shopping time and whether you shop online or in stores the challenge is to buy gifts that they will like and appreciate. The growing trend over the past few years has been to buy experiences as gifts…gifts that involve doing something where the recipient can share the experience with others and can have a memory of doing something that was on their bucket list.
At Breakaway Experiences we are all about people giving experiences for gifts. Seriously…that is really what we are all about…start to finish…check out the website…you’ll see…and I bet you find a few experiences you’ve always wanted to try. (More on you later!)
We’re a bit biased but we wanted to give you a few reasons why we feel it is better to give an experience for Christmas rather than ‘stuff’.
1. Check something off their bucket list.
We all have activities we would love to do but never pull the trigger and actually do them. We let day to day life get in the way and don’t treat ourselves enough to doing those activities. However, when we see or hear about them words like ‘can you imagine…’ or ‘I would love to do that’ come to mind. Giving an experience that is on your husband/wife/boyfriend/girlfriend’s bucket list brings that wish to reality. You can give them something they really want to do but may never buy for themselves.
2.”Life isn’t about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself.” – George Bernard Shaw
As mentioned above, we rarely treat ourselves to the fun experiences that in the end enrich our lives with excitement, adventure, a sense of achievement and growth from having tried something new or challenging. Can a sweater, book or new game compare to this? Studies show that people who buy experiences rather than things are happier. While some people need to buy ‘stuff’ to boost their mood, those who buy experiences always have the memories of their experiences to fall back on for a pick-me-up. It’s like comparing a sugar rush to a good nap – one is more instantaneous, but the other has more lasting benefits.
3. We are much happier waiting to do an experience than we are waiting to receive ‘stuff’.
A study by Thomas Gilovich showed that people derive greater happiness from the anticipation of purchases than waiting for material purchases.
4. Experiences make us happier than ‘things’ because we can share our memories with others
A study by Peter Capriello and Harry Reis in 2013 found that people are more likely to share details of an experience that you gave them with others, allowing them to live vicariously through the person who did it, whereas when you purchase an item there is a greater chance the person will enjoy it alone and not share it. In the study, people are happier with their purchase when it can be used socially rather than when it was bought to use .
In buying an experience as a gift for someone close to you, you create an opportunity for memories to be shared for a long time. If you buy someone a sweater how many times can you work that into to future conversations? If you buy someone a tandem skydive for Christmas you can talk about it again and again reliving the moment and the excitement. Imagine you are at a party starting a conversation with ”You should see the book Craig bought me” compared to “ You won’t believe what Craig bought me for Christmas…a tandem skydive”. It reminds me of the famous Coke commercial from the 70’s with a diverse group of people sitting on a hill singing “I’d like to buy the world a Coke and live in perfect harmony”.
Get them an experiential gift that will make them sing. (In harmony depends on their singing ability!)
5. “A house is just a pile of stuff with a cover on it” – George Carlin
The legendary comedian, George Carlin’ sums it up with: ‘That’s what your house is, a place to keep your stuff while you go out and get…more stuff! Sometimes you gotta move, gotta get a bigger house. Why? Too much stuff!”
We’ve spent our lives collecting STUFF! Now that we know it why give more stuff if you’re not sure it is something they really, really need or want. Step outside the gift box this Christmas and give an experience! And if while you are shopping, you notice experiences you would want to try, why not create you own Christmas List?
Avoid that awkward moment when you’re unwrapping their Christmas gift, they’re sitting across from you in avid anticipation of your joy and appreciation, you peel the wrapping back and your first thought is ‘ OMG…did they really think I would like this’.
Challenge 1: To smile, looks surprised and appreciative.
Challenge 2: How can I exchange this without hurting their feelings?
This year start planting seeds about experience Christmas gifts as quick as you can…very tactfully…or maybe the direct approach is needed.