Do you remember what you unwrapped at the holidays last year? Even if you do: Do you still use those things every day? Do you even know where they are? Sure, it’s fun to open your presents and play with stuff for a few hours, but once everything gets tucked away the magic kind of wares off. So what’s the answer? Stop! That’s right, stop giving items. Instead, start giving experiences.
You remember your favorite concerts, that road trip to New York, and the time you zip-lined through the forest. But you probably don’t remember much about the expensive purse you begged your parents for in high school or the new phone case you got last year.
Experiences are memorable, thoughtful, and—let’s face it—offer more fun than a DVD you’ll watch once and toss aside. Here, check out four more surprising reasons ’tis better to give experiences.
1. The anticipation
When you open an experience gift, the fun isn’t over once you’ve ripped off the wrapping. Instead, you get the look forward to the event you’ve been gifted. Tickets to see your favorite comedian in four weeks means you’re in for a month of re-watching stand-up shows, bragging to your friends about it, and daydreaming about how much fun it’ll be.
2. Less clutter
There’s nothing wrong with surrounding yourself with things you love, but when you buy too much stuff you end up with lots of clutter. Giving and getting experience gifts means you don’t spend January looking for places to put all your new stuff. Eventually, you’ll have a cleaner home, more things you love, and more memories from all those great experiences.
3. More stuff isn’t better
We all have a consumerist mindset because that’s how we were raised. We work to make money so we can buy things. But in the last few decades, purchase power has tripled in the US—meaning we’ve been buying a lot more stuff—and depression has increased tenfold. While it’s unlikely that buying lots of toys and treats is making us depressed, one thing is clear: we’re not finding happiness through consumerism.
4. The bond
When you give or get an experience, chances are you’ll experience that experience with another person. When you give a weekend getaway to your significant other, you get to go too! Not only is that a nice little treat for yourself, but you’ll also solidify your relationship with your partner as you bond throughout the trip. Experience gifts result in more time together.
There you have it. If you’re not convinced that experiences make better gifts, why not put it to the test? This season, give our favorite experience—a creative nite out at Paint Nite or Plant Nite—and let us know your verdict in the comments.