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Giving experiential gifts are a great way to show someone you care. Find out more about the benefits of experiential gift giving and how to make it special.

Experiential Gifts - Are They the Best Way To Win The Holidays?

Dec 29, 2023

Holidays are fun … right? 

Ok, so maybe they aren’t always entirely fun (As Jamie Lee Curtis’s character in Christmas with the Kranks displays below). But no matter what you think of when you think of the holidays, you probably have a strong response. So, what is it that makes holidays so memorable? 

No, really, think about it. Why is it that holidays are so extremely vivid? 

Sure, maybe it’s because of some really cool presents you got over the years: a toy car or a GI-Joe action figure. Though, in actuality, the big toys and presents we get aren’t what makes us remember the holidays, but the people tied to the experiential gifts and the traditions you have. 

If you ever got up at dawn on Easter excited to see if the Easter bunny left you some treats, you bet your parents were just as excited as you, and just like them, you’ll probably keep the tradition going!

One of my favorite family traditions is going out to find the PERFECT Christmas tree. My mom loved taking us to pick one out, and I remember it as being absolutely magical. So, of course I’m keeping the spirit up by taking my kids to do the same every year. 

While this isn’t necessarily an experiential gift itself, seeing the glow of wonder in my kids reignites my own love for the holiday season. I always try to remember that an hour later when I’m covered in sap like Clark Griswold from Christmas Vacation and everything is getting stuck to me—every year I forget how annoying that part is. 

This podcast is worth listening to- Be Selfish Through Giving Back

So, How Can You Win The Holiday Season? 

Alright, I’ll stop beating around the bush. I know what you’re thinking: “what about the presents?” 

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Like I said, WHAT you get for someone doesn’t actually matter much. Sure, everyone likes new clothes or money every now and again, but those aren’t what makes holidays meaningful. The secret to creating a memorable holiday is giving experiential gifts. 

This means giving your family, friend, or partner an EXPERIENCE rather than something you got from Target. Don’t believe me? 

Well, here’s an article from the University of Toronto explaining this phenomenon. It explains how giving experiential gifts really strikes your relationship and emotional cores. 

These two cores are SO important to your well-being, and don’t worry, if you need to brush up on your core knowledge I get it. By giving experiential gifts, your relationships can strengthen through being focused on time together rather than material items. This will also help you build positive momentum when it comes to your emotional state!

Sure, normal gifts can be nifty and useful sometimes, but they won’t actually nurture your relationships

Why Experiential Gifts are Better Than Physical Gifts.

The connection between you as the gift giver, and the person receiving it, is so much more palpable when it involves doing something fun together. No matter what, the experiential gift you give them will only work to make your bond stronger. 

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Think about it – when was the last time you received a physical gift that you really loved and treasured? Chances are, it’s the experiences – like tickets to a show or a voucher for a afternoon of spa treatments – that have truly made lasting memories.

Here’s why giving experiential gifts is often a better idea than opting for something material:

Experiences Make Us Happier

A study published in the journal Psychological Science found that people derive more pleasure from anticipating and then experiencing an event than they do from simply owning a material good.

In other words, the anticipation of an upcoming trip or concert is often more enjoyable than actually receiving and using a physical item. And once the experience is over, the memories – and the happiness they bring – can last a lifetime.

Experiences Bring Us Closer Together

When you give someone an experience gift, you’re also giving them the perfect gift of your time and company. Whether it’s tickets to a ball game or a couple’s cooking class, experiential gifts provide an opportunity for quality time together – something that’s often more valuable than anything money can buy.

Experiences are More Memorable

Think back to a time when you received a physical gift that you really loved. Chances are, it’s not the item itself that you remember fondly, but the circumstances surrounding it – like who gave it to you, or what was happening at the time.

The same can be said for experiences. While the physical details may fade over time, the memories of the shared experience will last forever.

Experiences are More Meaningful

When you give someone an experiential gift, you’re not just giving them something to do – you’re giving them an opportunity to create lasting memories. And because experiences are more personal than material possessions, they often have more meaning and sentimental value.

So next time you’re stuck on what to give your loved ones, consider giving them the gift of a lifetime with an experiential gift. From concert tickets to wine-tasting tours, there are endless possibilities for creating lasting memories together.

Building Positive Momentum

2023 is YOUR year for building up positive momentum and creating success habits. This translates to the holidays for sure! Keep your family traditions going to connect with your family, and consider giving the personal touch of an experiential gift to your loved ones!

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Maintaining strong relationships is one of the most important things we can do to succeed in our 5 life pillars. By continuing your mom’s love for family puzzle nights or family outings to the park, you’ll be preserving traditions that connect you to others and strengthen your relationships. 

You can even gamify your traditions by using your tech to relate to your family, rather than distract. Make a pact with your family to only check your phones after a certain length of time, you can even make it a fun competition! 

Some of the unique experience gift ideas include creating an escape room, family game night, food tours, hot air balloon ride, an entire family trip to a museum, etc.

You’ve got everything you need to create some awesome memories. I hope you have a wonderful year of happy relationships and memorable holidays!


Will Moore is a gamification, habits and happiness expert.

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