In today’s day and age, there are just so many material products surrounding us, we live in a consumer led world where the temptation to shop surrounds us every day! However, learning about what makes the best type of gifts is important when it comes to cutting down on the amount of ‘stuff’ we seem to surround our lives with.
Gift experiences are a new and innovative way to give someone something memorable for their Christmas or Birthday and it cuts out thinking about that difficult present to get your dad or shopping for hours to find ANOTHER perfect purse for your mom. It seems people have everything nowadays, making it even harder to think of a suitable gift they don’t already have.
Yes, it’s lovely to wrap up a present and unwrap a gift but why not give something they’ll remember for life; an experience.
Too Much Stuff!
The Life- Changing Magic of Tidying Up is a book that will open your eyes and show you how having too much stuff may be affecting your life in more ways than one. Clutter can cause stress, so get to it and stop buying excess presents or things which may make your life worse rather than enhance it!
If you talk to your parents or even grandparents about growing up they can definitely vouch that they didn’t have nearly as much stuff as you and your children may have! According to this source, only 45 years ago the average American was consuming 78 pounds of meat, 269 pounds of paper and 2.3 metric tons of oil LESS than the modern day American! That’s a huge increase in general product consumption.
It is also estimated that ‘The United States has upward of 50,000 storage facilities, more than five times the number of Starbucks. Currently, there is 7.3 square feet of self-storage space for every man, woman, and child in the nation. Thus, it is physically possible that every American could stand—all at the same time—under the total canopy of self-storage roofing’ (1).
So maybe it’s time to cut back on buying presents and their packaging which you inevitably have to throw away, and decide on a more memorable and clutter-friendly present you can get for your whole family!
Even More Staggering Statistics…
- The average Canadian planned to spend a whopping $766 on holiday gifts in 2015 about 27 percent planned to spend over $800, while 23 percent to spend $200 or less (2). Those are huge amounts of money that could definitely be used more wisely for memories that will last a lifetime!
- Last year, in America an average of $284 billion worth of merchandise was returned, according to the Retail Equation. That’s up 6.2% from $267 billion in 2013 (3). If people are returning our gifts then we have to cut down somewhere, why bother buying someone something they don’t NEED or even want!
- Americans throw away 25% more trash during the Thanksgiving to New Year’s holiday period than any other time of year. The extra waste amounts to 25 million tons of garbage, or about 1 million extra tons per week! (4) That’s a scary amount of garbage that can easily be avoided, but how?
Give Experiences NOT Stuff!
Giving gifts is ingrained in many societies, even in religions(5) and so we won’t be getting rid of the concept too fast, just twisting it into a different form that minimizes the amount of waste! By giving an experience rather than a present your receivers will remember it for the rest of their lives and it may also seem more thoughtful as you’ve chosen something they will really enjoy.
These studies show how consumers actually gain more happiness from receiving experiences rather than gifts as the feeling of anticipation and looking forward to an event overtakes the feelings of opening a material gift! Although studies have shown we should be giving experiences, people tend to still give material gifts as presents to prevent any embarrassment on who has spent more or who has spent less on gifts (6). Yet that doesn’t seem like a good enough excuse does it?
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Even if the experience given doesn’t quite suit the person and they do not enjoy it as much as they should, it still makes up for an interesting memory and something they can cross off their list! Instead of cluttering yours and other people’s homes, its worth the risk to buy an amazing experience for a loved one or friend, that they will always treasure!
Here are some great ideas for the different people in your life!
For the Little Ones
Shared time between children and their parents or friends is equally as important as receiving gifts, if not…more! Children will build their memories through experiences, it is even argued that experiential learning (7) is the best way to teach children different things about the world!
It is said that shared family experiences are linked to:
- Bonding within the family
- Fewer behavioral problems in children
- A stronger sense of identity
- A sense of security for children
- Higher rates of academic success
- Lower rates of violence
Here are some great experience gift ideas for children:
- Local pottery painting
- Rock climbing
- Local trampoline gym
- Bowling or ice skating
- Movie tickets
- Learning a new skill
With so many experience based gifts you can give to a child, why would they need another toy ever again, they’ll be too busy out experiencing stuff!
Gifts for the Parents
We all know how difficult it can be to think of gifts for our parents, they seem to have everything they could possibly need! Well, some of the following experiences may be the best way forward!
- Home brewing kit/ trip to local brewery
- Sporting outing
- Other outdoor activities
- Skydiving opportunity
- Scuba diving certification
- Pampering at the local spa- or even at home!
- Date night
- Theatre tickets
- ‘That restaurant she has always wanted to go to’ night out
- Night out with the girls
- Museum/ art gallery tickets
Of course, presents for the parents can also be made into presents for the whole family, such as:
- Museum memberships
- Orchestra season tickets
- Sports season tickets
- New family hobby or outing
- Local attraction season passes
Gifts for Grandparents or Extended Family
If anyone is harder to buy for that mom and dad then it’s definitely the grandparents! Well, here are some ideas that may just tickle their fancy!
- Day out with the whole family or just the kids
- Amazon prime account
- New membership or an add-on
- New hobby or outing!
- Visit to a local attraction
Giving Gift Experiences- The Bottom Line
Slowly transitioning family members who may be skeptical of giving experiences instead of physical gifts is a good idea, explaining to them on average how much you will be spending and all of the excellent positive effects such a splendid type of present will have on the family!
And if you have already bought gifts for everyone this Christmas then don’t worry there’s always birthdays or next year! Why not give it a go, you’ll probably be the most popular person at the dinner table all year round, as memories last forever!
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