I recently read a blog post about how to give experiences instead of stuff this holiday season. Often, well intentioned gifts can lead to stress for the giver and the receiver, so why not consider giving experiences instead of material gifts this year. You may be surprised by the amazing results.
Why Give Experiences, Not Stuff?
Families are drowning in too much stuff nowadays – clothing, toys and gadgets abound – and the thought of adding more during the holidays can make you feel overwhelmed and stressed. They say that people tend to be less happy with material purchases over time, and are happier with real experiences. This is due to the fact that humans adapt to physical things, so even the nicest car or newest phone becomes ordinary after enough time, while memories tend to become more treasured.
As important as shared experiences are for adults, they are even more crucial for children, and for their healthy psychological development. It has been proven that shared family time (even the most basic things like family dinner together) is extremely important for a child’s wellbeing (much more important than the dozens of extracurricular activities we often neglect family time for). Shared family time and experiences have been linked to better family bonding, fewer behavioural issues in children, a stronger sense of security and more. Read Research Findings Indicate Why Family Mealtime Is So Important!.
Gift Giving How-Tos
Several of my friends are following the increasingly popular, Four Gift Rule (a recent More Time Moms blog post) and are putting a strong focus on giving shared experiences. Some ways to give experiences as family gifts include vacations, memberships, orchestra season tickets, equipment for a new family hobby, giving to charity and more.
Children’s gifts can include lunch dates, movie tickets, art lessons and educational magazine subscriptions. See Give Children the Gift of Simplicity This Christmas for more ideas.
Experiential gifts for Mom and Dad include practical and pampering gifts such as hobby kits, spa visits, outdoor activities, concert tickets, date nights and sleep-in days.
Giving Experiences: The Bottom Line
It’s never too late to start. Even if you’ve already bought gifts for this year, think about adding some experiences as well, or slowly transitioning to more experience-based gifts over time. Quality time spent together and lasting memories are much more valuable to your family than material things, and you will feel better about keeping things simple and less stressful during this hectic time of year.
This post was inspired by “46 Ways to Give Experiences Instead of Stuff This Year”, by Katie of wellnessmama.com.