Wondering Why Experiences Are Better Than Gifts? - Gift a Panda
Why Experiences Are Better Than Gifts: 5 Research-Proven Reasons
Gift-giving is a proactive way to show love and gratitude in most cultures around the world.
We give gifts to people we care about for many reasons, including:
- To say “thank you”
- Just because
At times it can be extremely challenging to think of a meaningful gift to give. Especially when the recipient has everything they need.
Many people turn to tangible gifts like jewelry, electronics, or toys.
But research shows that when it comes to gift-giving, experiences are better than things.
Are you skeptical?
Read on and allow us to explain:
- Why experiences are better than gifts (and show you the research to prove it).
- What kind of experiences make the best gifts.
How to gift experiences.
Table of Contents
- Why Are Experiences Better Than Things? Science Explains
- 5 Reasons Why Experiences Are Better Than Gifts
- What Are the Best Experience Gifts?
- How Can I Give Experiences Instead of Gifts?
Why Are Experiences Better Than Things? Science Explains
The reason experiences are better than things is simple — studies have shown that the pleasure and satisfaction we receive from material things do not last. But the memories of an enjoyed experience grow stronger and fonder over time.
Think about it. Do you remember the best Christmas present you received two years ago? Do still love it? Do you still use it?
Now think back to your last vacation. How happy do you feel reliving those moments?
We’re not saying every experience needs to be as involved as a vacation. But giving the gift of an experience — even a quick one — will bring more long-term enjoyment to the recipient than a material gift.
Why? Let’s take a closer look at why experiences are so important.
5 Reasons Why Experiences Are Better Than Gifts
In an exploration of experience gift-giving, “research revealed four attributes of experience gift-giving behavior.” These attributes are referred to as the “Four S’s:”
Each of the four S’s contributes to reasons why experiences are better than gifts — both for the giver AND the recipient.
Let’s consider five specific reasons why experiences are better than gifts and how the attributes of experience gift-giving behavior make experience gifts so impactful.
#1: Experiences Tend to Last Longer Than Things
This assertion may seem impossible — tangible things will often be physically present in your life a lot longer than an experience.
But things can also be:
The emotions and memories connected to the feelings of surprise and suspense of an experience gift will stay with you and your gift recipient forever.
In response to a social commentator’s question: “If your house was burning, what would you take with you,” photo submissions showed everything from the practical to the sentimental.
But your experiences can’t be taken away from you — even by a burning house.
So, for your next gift, let Gift a Panda help you find an experience gift that will create memories that will last much longer than a material gift.
#2: Experiences Have More Sentimental Value
There is no denying that some material gifts have a lot of sentimental value — like a watch passed down from a grandfather.
But, when it comes to comparing the sentimental value of physical gifts that don’t already hold sentiment, to gifts of experiences, the experience will nearly always win out.
This is partly due to the sacrifice of the gift giver’s time and money.
Experience gifts often require a bit more monetary investment, especially if the gift is to be shared. Additionally, coordinating and scheduling an experience gift often requires more of the gift giver’s time.
The recognition of time and money spent creates high sentimental value — which helps to explain why experiences are better than gifts.
#3: Experiences Are Great for Relationship-Building
Are you hoping to give a gift that will help you create a deeper bond with your gift recipient?
A study published in the Journal of Consumer Research shows that “experiential gifts produce greater improvements in relationship strength than material gifts.”
The researchers found that regardless of the gift type or value, consuming an experiential gift evoked more emotion than consuming a material gift.
The increased emotional connection to the experiential gift positively affected the relationship between the gift giver and recipient.
Although sharing an experiential gift is a great way to bond, the study also found that even if the recipient consumed the experiential gift on their own, the relationship still improved.
Gift a Panda is here to show you all the ways you can strengthen your relationships through gifts of experience.
#4: Experiences Aren’t Typically Compared to Other Things
How often have you received a material gift and quickly compared it to something similar?
For example, let’s say you received a nice set of Bluetooth headphones for Christmas. Headphones were on your list but you didn’t specify a brand or model.
So, they work great, they get the job done. But a week after Christmas your friend shows you the headphones he got for Christmas — and they have noise cancellation technology.
Now you’re comparing your headphones to a pair that has more features than yours and you’re probably feeling a little envy and disappointment.
Experience gifts, on the other hand, are unique.
They’re often a surprise. If you have to wait to partake in the experience, there’s an exciting element of suspense. And you often get to share the gift with someone you care about.
It’s highly unlikely that the recipient of your experience gift will compare it with something newer or “better.”
#5: Experiences Are Often Unexpected
The last reason why experiences are better than gifts is the element of surprise.
Material gifts can often become routine:
Experience gifts help reignite the joy of gift-giving with the power of being unexpected.
Imagine opening a box expecting another set of drill bits and seeing tickets to watch your favorite NFL team play in-person for the first time.
The thrill of surprise only adds to the creation of life-long memories.
Not only will you remember going to that NFL game, but you’ll also remember the feeling of seeing those tickets when you opened the box.
What Are the Best Experience Gifts?
The best experience gifts will be highly relative. They will depend on the personality of the recipient.
For example, if your girlfriend isn’t very outdoorsy, she probably won’t enjoy an overnight rafting trip. But she might love an all-day, chauffeured tour of local wineries.
If your brother isn’t a huge music fan, he probably wouldn’t enjoy tickets to a concert, but maybe he’d love to spend an evening with friends in an escape room or at an ax-throwing range.
When searching for the best experience gifts, consider a wide variety of options including:
- Hot air balloon rides
- Guided kayaking
- Golf getaway
- Local food tours
- Cooking classes
- Woodworking workshop
- Dance classes
- Spa day
- RV or ATV rental
Consider your unique knowledge of the person for whom you are experience-shopping. You likely know what makes them smile and laugh and which moments they’ll stop to capture for a social media post.
Choose an experience that will play into that knowledge and create another Instagram-worthy occasion.
How Can I Give Experiences Instead of Gifts?
Use a platform specifically designed to locate unique and fun experience gifts in your area. You don’t need to spend time Googling and website-hopping to compare experiences. Find them all in one place with Gift a Panda. Gift a Panda recreates the magic of gift-giving with experience gifts in categories like:
- Workshops & Classes
- Food & Drink
Gift a Panda allows you to find and give experiences for those hard-to-shop-for people in your life who already have everything.
Let us help you give experiences instead of gifts. Create memories. Strengthen your relationships. Bring sentiment and surprise back to gift-giving. Science says it works!