Why You Should Buy Experiences as Gifts
It’s definitely Christmas shopping time, and many people take to the internet to ask for a little bit of help and gift inspiration. The old adage is true – it certainly is better to give than receive – but it’s also more than a little stressful to try to find the perfect gifts for all the special people in your life. Well, because Santa Radio offers all-things-Christmassy, we thought we offer some sage advice about why you should consider buying your loved ones experiences alongside material gifts this Christmas.
Material gifts are great and you should definitely buy one or two physical gifts for your loved ones. However, they aren’t necessarily as beneficial as they might first seem. Dr Thomas Gilovich from Cornell University’s psychology department carried out a 20-year study into how we feel about “things” or material possessions. He discovered that we all get used to new possessions quickly, so the happiness we get from them is much more fleeting that we might like to admit. Gilovich also discovered that most people get into buy habits where we have to continue trying to buy better and better things to stay happy, and that this feeling is compounded by comparing what we have against the possessions of other people we know. Ultimately, what Dr Gilovich discovered was something that many of us already knew, to some degree: money and things won’t make us inherently happy. Once you realise this, it changes the way you approach gift buying, as you aren’t necessarily trying to buy someone the best thing. Instead, you can think a little more abstractly about a gift that might truly make someone happy – even if it doesn’t look like a typical gift. This is where gift experiences come in!
When you buy someone an experience, such as a wine tasting, or spa day, for example, they can’t use this gift immediately. And, while this might seem like a negative, it usually isn’t, as you are giving the person anticipation of the experience as well as the experience itself. It’s impossible to get bored of the idea of experiencing something special, and this is why gifting an experience is a gift that keeps giving, in the weeks and months leading up whenever the person chooses to use their gift voucher, or to the date when the concert is scheduled for, etc. Anticipation can make a good gift into something truly special as we can derive so much joy and excitement from looking forward to the gift as well as actually having the experience. Spending Quality Time Together
Another feature of gifting experiences is that they tend to require two vouchers or two tickets, so you usually have to do the experience with the person you’re buying for. Not only is this a good excuse to treat yourself, it’s also a great way to spend meaningful time together, creating special memories that you can look back on for years to come. Go to a comedy gig together and laugh about it for years to come. Go to see a Shakespearian play together, if that’s the passion you share. Go on a beer tour together, learning the history and brewing methods of traditional real ale together. Whatever you choose to do with your loved ones, buying them an experience is a great way of ensuring that you will spend some real quality time with them, and that you’ll have plenty of fond memories to look back on together.
If you’re kind of sold on this idea but you’re not sure what kinds of experiences you could give someone, we’d like to make a few suggestions below:
- Concert tickets
- Spa days
- Vouchers towards a holiday
- Vouchers for paintball, rock climbing, or abseiling
- Flying lessons
- Festival tickets
- Beer-, wine-, gin-, or whiskey-tasting sessions
- A creative writing course, or art classes (as long as they’ve shown an interest in these things)
- Special tours of historical sites
- Cookery lessons
- Special tasting sessions in fancy restaurants
- Sky diving
- Bungee jumping
This is just a small sample of the range and variety of experiences you can buy for your loved ones. The only limit is your imagination.
We hope this blog post has inspired a few people this Christmas. Buying an experience for your loved ones can be a carefully considered gift where you find the perfect thing for someone, or it can be a fun way to encourage someone to try something completely new and outside of their comfort zone! From spa days and foot massages, to music festivals, rock climbing, and abseiling. There’s something for everyone if you take the time to look. If you need to get in the Christmas mood while you look for the perfect experience, make sure you download our iOS Christmas Radio app or our Android Christmas Radio app! And have a very merry Christmas!