Why we always recommend giving gift cards, theater tickets, and experiential presents over material items

How many times in your life have you received gifts that you didn’t care for, only to hang onto it for years so you didn’t hurt the giver’s feelings?

Conversely, how many times have you agonized over choosing a gift only to realize that the recipient didn’t really like or appreciate that object?

More than things, experiences create precious memories that last a lifetime, and even bond participants together in shared recollections. Here are 4 reasons why to gift the gift of experience to family and friends.

1. Stuff is overwhelming us

Picking out gifts is a tricky, frustrating, and oftentimes expensive business, leaving many people disillusioned with the holiday season as a whole. Even birthdays can leave people stressed by the pressure to find loved ones the “right” gift. 

And who can blame them? We’re drowning in stuff we don’t want!

The average American home contains over 300,000 individual items and there is as much as 7.3 feet of rentable storage space for every person in America. Rental storage is the fastest growing area of commercial real estate, as developers struggle to keep up with the demand for more space to hold our stuff.

2. Stuff is wasteful

Giving someone a physical object for a gift is a somewhat risky and highly wasteful way to show someone you care. They may not like the object you choose to shower on them– and purchasing holiday gifts feeds a commercial industry based around these fast gifts. Holiday lotions, festive socks, holiday pajamas are flash in the pan gifts that don’t bring lasting joy.

3. Stuff won’t make you happy

A study by Cornell found that people who spent money on experiential purchases such as travel, demonstrations, and events had more positive outcomes than those who focused on material purchases. Money spent on doing rather than having drove more value in the lives of participants over time.

This study confirms something you’ve probably experienced in your own life. Which has meant more to you:  that new gadget or that trip you took with your family? Even if you loved and used your new cell phone, the experiences we have with others last longer and have more meaning than physical objects.

The value of experiences

At The Loftus Guides, we facilitate amazing, life-changing travel that engages the traveler on a personal level. These trips don’t return the tourist home loaded with trinkets, but they have grown and changed as a result of their travel. We’re firm believers that experiences, not objects, are the best gifts you can give someone.

So the next time you’re hunting for a gift, skip the mall and ask yourself what the person you’re buying for likes to do.

Consider buying movie tickets, art show passes, gift cards, wine tasting events, massages, or manicures. Experiential presents are just as tailored to the recipient as an object gift, but they don’t require you to go to a mall and buy an object they may not even like.

And, best of all, you know that they’re going to make memories that will stay with them for a long time, no storage unit required!

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