Why you should give experiences instead of gifts this holiday season

Bronwyn Griffiths

By Bronwyn Griffiths

Posted on 27th November 2019

give experiences instead of gifts The Yacht Week CREDIT Oliver_Sjostrom_-236_picmonkeyed Ok, it's that time of year again: the one where you show the people you care about just how much you love them through the giving of gifts (aka Christmas). But if you're scratching your head as you scroll through endless online shops, maybe it's time to change the way you perceive the value of what you're buying. If you'd rather give a memory that lasts a lifetime over something that will probably gather dust, then we have good news for you. Research has revealed that if you give experiences instead of gifts you're basically giving happiness. Don't believe us? Read on.

Looking for the ultimate experience gift? Take someone with you on The Yacht Week or The Ski Week in 2020!

The stats are in

Yes, let's talk about the numbers first. The events and ticketing site, Eventbrite, commissioned a study in 2016 that revealed that 78% of Millennials value experiences (such as travel and festivals) over material goods. But don't think for a moment that just that generation owns the idea of experience gifts. If anything, the digitally native, financially savvy and community focussed Gen Zers are the real driving force behind what is now known as the 'experience economy'. With so much of our lives now spent online, they can see clearer than anyone the enriching value of a real-life encounter.

Science backs this up

For over 30 years, Psychology Professor Thomas Gilovich from Cornell University has studied the way we derive happiness and has concluded that we get it from experiences and not material things. One of the key points of his research has compared the happiness that people feel after spending money on acquiring a physical possession versus spending money on an experience. His research showed that experiences made people much happier.

Society has changed

We now live in a world where our approach to ownership has changed. After all, some of the biggest companies to emerge over the past decade - such as Airbnb and Uber - don't physically own their product (hotels or taxis). This is reflected in the way we now live our lives. It makes more sense to share than own now, to not be weighed down my physical possessions. The flexibility of freelancing, co-working, ride-sharing and reselling taps into this, as does the pursuit of shared experiences over physical goods.

Cut the clutter

As we're all trying to Marie Kondo our lives now, you really have to judge how much a physical gift will 'spark joy' beyond that first moment of unwrapping. If you're always trying to buy something nice that the gift receiver wouldn't normally buy for themselves, it's definitely worth thinking about why they haven't. The difference between your memory and your house is that the second one has far more limited storage space. We can carry the moments from a shared experience forever but we can't possibly keep everything we are given or buy for ourselves. So don't contribute towards the physical clutter but help your loved ones spark a real sense of joy through an experience.

Build a community

Here's the part we're really big on at The Yacht Week and The Ski Week: community. It's probably the biggest and the best outcome of shared experiences. What better way to connect with like-minded people and realise how much you have in common with others from across the globe than getting out there and seeing it for yourself? It's also the perfect way to invest in your own friendships and relationships - taking the time to go on adventures and build memories together. After all, the recollection of these connections, funny moments, thrills, joys and, of course, photos will last longer than any physical gift will.

give experiences instead of gifts The Yacht Week CREDIT Mike_Verstraten_068_picmonkeyed Looking for the ultimate experience gift? Take someone with you on The Yacht Week or The Ski Week in 2020!  

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