This holiday give an “experience” instead of “stuff” – here’s why it’s such a great idea!

Nov 27, 2018in news

A growing trend in holiday gift giving is to create an “experience” as a gift instead of giving “stuff.” And why not! As we all strive to reduce our physical footprint, the well-intentioned “stuff” we give others over the holidays quickly adds to the post-holiday clutter. You can only re-gift that ceramic frog so many times before it finds its way to someone’s basement collecting dust next to the electric dog polisher. According to studies collected by Joshua Becker, THE expert on minimalism and author of several books on the topic:

  • The average child in the developed world owns over 200 toys but only plays with 12 of them on average per day!
  • Only 3% of the world’s children live in the US, but they own 40+% of the world’s toys!
  • The AVERAGE family gives or throws away over 200 pounds of clothes per year.
  • 54% of adults in the US report being overwhelmed with clutter and 78% have no idea how to overcome it!
  • Storage facilities are now the fastest growing real estate segment in the US -- there is enough physical space at these facilities for every man, woman, and child in America to stand – all at the same time!

But “stuff” makes our gift recipients happy, right? Wrong.

With all this excess stuff in our lives, it’s natural to stress out. Whether you’re trying to find space for more stuff or can’t find the proverbial needle in your haystack of stuff, clutter can be stressful. Becker explains, “Over the course of our lifetime, we will spend a total of 3,680 hours or 153 days searching for misplaced items. The research found we lose up to nine items every day—or 198,743 in a lifetime. Phones, keys, sunglasses, and paperwork top the list.” Less clutter means it’s easier to locate the important things in life.

Beyond reducing clutter, giving experiences is also good for the recipient. According to research reported in the Journal of Psychological Science by Thomas Gilovich of Cornell University, experiences provide more lasting happiness than material possessions. He speculates that, “This is because we adapt to physical things, so even the nicest car or newest phone becomes commonplace after enough time, while memories tend to get fonder over time.”

Ten great holiday experience gift ideas

Want to try out experience giving this year? We put together this quick list of our top ten gift experiences you can give: 

10. Movie tickets. Your gift recipients will get to pick the movie they love and you can make it a date night.

9. Teach them a skill. If you play piano, commit the time (and patience) to teach them. It works with languages, sports (tennis, golf for example) and more.

8. Tickets to a sporting event: Surprise them – a road trip to see their favorite team will become a cherished memory.

7. Sign them up for a class: Maybe your gifting target has been thinking about learning photography or art.

6. Prepare a special meal: Another great gift idea for the holidays and a date night. Try to recall one of their favorite restaurants and learn how to prepare the special from that special place.

5. Take them on a tour of your home city or town: Many towns have neat ghost or history tours or the closest major city to you may have an architectural tour. In our busy lives we rarely get to appreciate our home town – here’s a gift that will help them do it.

4. Help them “take one off the bucket list.” Go skydiving or commit to prepare together for that first-ever triathlon. You know what they want, this holiday you can help them achieve it.

3. Make a donation on their behalf. It truly is better to give than to receive and giving the gift of giving will create more than just the instant gratification of more stuff.

2. Go camping: A great experience for the whole family.

1. And the number one experience you can give someone this holiday (at least in our humble opinion) is a spa package or gift card from Hand & Stone. Let them enjoy a day of pampering. Go as a couple. It’s healthy and feels great. And at Hand & Stone spas throughout the country we are offering gift card specials so you can save while giving an experience anyone on your list is sure to love.