GIVE EXPERIENCES NOT THINGS THIS CHRISTMAS
Each year the shops are filled with the latest ‘must have’ toy that kids everywhere demand to have and we as parents relent into the pressure for fear of them missing out or not being seen as good, caring parents. The joy on their faces the morning they open their ‘must have thing’ is special yet the happiness is short-lived. A week later the excitement has faded and it’s quickly on to the next must have ‘thing’ and so the endless cycle of trying to fulfil a material need for happiness begins. We are all guilty of falling into this short-lived pleasure trap, of course our hearts are always in the right place.
“One of the enemies of happiness is adaptation. We buy things to make us happy, and we succeed. But only for a while. New things are exciting to us at first, but then we adapt to them,” says Cornell Professor Dr. Gilovich
It’s not surprising to see a growing trend away from giving a barrage of things with a movement towards giving experience, the benefits of which are compelling to say the least. Science backs this as well showing that we all, including kids, prefer experiences over material possessions.
A recent international consumer survey conducted by Momentum Worldwide showed 76% of consumers prefer experiences over products. Studies have shown the top reasons behind this consumer behaviour preference are;
- We get more excited about future experiences than material things.
- We get more value from experiences overall
- Experiences give more social connection
- Experience don’t invite competition or envy
- We tire of gifts but value the memories that experiences provide us.
A 20-year study by a Cornell University professor Dr Thomas Gilovich found, experiences not things are the key to happiness also providing a wide range of benefits including;
- Less clutter in your home - all those ‘things’ add up and take up space in your home, collecting dust as the novelty wears off and ending up under beds, in cupboards or spilling on to floors. Save yourself the stress of clutter, with less things in your home, the quicker and easier it is to keep your home neat and tidy.
- Less landfill from unwanted gifts - Australians receive 20 million unwanted Christmas gifts each year, most of which end up in landfill.
- Learning and expanding your mind - there is so much to see and learn from going on adventures and having new experiences.
- Happiness - experiences provide a more satisfying and substantial happy feeling, something a material thing cannot provide. Experiences cannot be thrown away and forgotten providing a feeling that lasts as you have memories you can look back on.
- Contentment - Experiences make us realise we have everything we need – our loved ones together, happy and forming stronger relationships and lasting memories. These are lasting imprints your children take with them forever.
- Memories - when you think back on your childhood, do you remember every gift you were given for birthdays and Christmas? Chances are you don’t, it is the special experiences we remember most, road trips, family traditions, shared adventures in new places, these are the things that stay with us as they teach us about ourselves, each other and make us feel.
- Stronger relationships - The more time you spend with your children, the better your relationships become. Studies have shown the more parents are involved in their children’s lives and share experiences, the stronger the bond becomes and the better they perform throughout life. Afterall experiences help in teaching them how to interact with the world around them, enhancing communication skills and their interaction with peers.
There are many ways to gift experiences without spending hundreds or thousands of dollars on expensive holidays and trips to far off exotic places. Of course, we are a little biased and think a TreeTops gift voucher is the perfect gift for Christmas’s and birthdays however we encourage you to look around your local area to see what experiences are available. Venture out on hikes through State Forests and National parks, look into memberships at museums, go on a family bike ride or plan to experience a new family activity once a month? Whatever the experience you choose to gift, know that you are providing an opportunity for growth, learning and a lifetime of precious memories.