6 Reasons to Give Experiences Instead of Gifts

posted in: Shop, Travel | 3

It’s that time of year where we all drive ourselves crazy over where to find the best deals and what presents to get. Discounts and last-minute promotions make it hard to pass on sale upon sale. We have learned a lot after traveling more and living with less over the last few years. I realize there is always a time and a place for a tangible present, but making memories and having experiences is way better than accumulating things! Here are 6 reasons we think it’s better to give experiences instead of gifts.

All the best reasons to give experiences instead of gifts for any holiday. Plus, some great ideas on what those experiences could be!

1. Unforgettable Memories Will Last Forever, Your Things Not So Much

Let’s go back to Christmas a few years ago. Imagine where you were and who you were with. Now, try to remember what your favorite gift was that year. Do you still use it or even have it for that matter?

Here’s the thing about things; they not only don’t last forever, sometimes they don’t even last a year.

Kids outgrow their toys. That remote control airplane your husband wanted so badly is in the closet collecting dust. And you probably haven’t seen your mom wear that beautiful bracelet you spent so much time picking out much these days.

But you know what does stick around? Memories, that’s what. Give the gift of unforgettable memories that last a lifetime.


2. Experiences are Just Plain Old Fun

A few years ago, my aunt bought the whole family gift certificates for a sailing excursion on Lake Michigan. Aunts, uncles, and cousins all hopped on two charters for an awesome ride along Chicago’s lakefront.

And what did we learn? Giving the gift of an experience beats hats and gloves any day of the week!

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All the best reasons to give experiences instead of gifts for any holiday. Plus, some great ideas on what those experiences could be.
Spending an afternoon in Chicago with the family.



3. You’ve Never Heard of an Experience Going Out of Style

So you spent the afternoon exploring downtown and took a boat ride? That’s so 1985. Um, said no one ever!

Now if we were talking about those Z. Cavaricci pants or that IOU sweatshirt you begged your mom for in grade school, maybe.

Another great aspect of giving experiences is that they never go out of style; they are trendy all the time.

4. You Can’t Typically Share Presents

Presents aren’t usually meant to be shared. Experiences, on the other hand, can be shared with other people.

Last year for Christmas, we gave the gift of a spring break trip to Branson to our two nephews. They were so excited that for three months from January till March, it was all they could talk about. Then, we were able to share those moments with them.

It’s a win-win scenario for everyone.


All the best reasons to give experiences instead of gifts for any holiday. Plus, some great ideas on what those experiences could be.
Us with our nephews in Branson on spring break.

5. It Cuts Down on Waste.

Between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Day, household waste increases by more than 25%. If you are trying to be more environmentally sound or eco-friendly, giving experiences instead of gifts is the way to go.

Less shopping bags. Fewer boxes. Less wrapping paper. Less stuff equals less material being used.

Festive Things to Do in Orlando besides Disney

6. Because It Will Make Everyone Happier or at Least That’s What the Scientists Say

It’s not just us that think experiences make you happier, there’s a whole science behind it. There’s instant gratification when we receive a present but eventually, we adapt to the new purchase.

Our satisfaction tapers off over time, leaving us searching for the next best thing. But studies show experiences tend to stick with us and keep us content longer.

Tips on How to Ask for Experience Gifts

If you think this is a great idea but are not sure about asking for experiences instead of gifts, here are a few tips:

  • Talk Openly and Be Honest. If someone asks, tell them what you’re thinking.
  • Make a List (and check it twice). I think everyone appreciates a few ideas when it comes to birthdays or the holidays so put a few ideas on a wish list.
  • Share This Post on Social Media. Total plug for myself but seriously, Facebook is where we keep up with family and friends. So why not share your thoughts. If you can’t convince them, let me!

Do you have any additional thoughts on why you should give experiences instead of gifts? What type of experiences have you given or received? We are always looking for more ideas

Follow Angela:

Angela E. is a travel writer from the Chicagoland area who has visited all 50 states in the US and has traveled extensively around the world. She is passionate about exploring the great outdoors and hiking in particular. Her love for nature has taken her to some of the most beautiful locations on the planet. She has written extensively about her travels on her own website, Dang Travelers, and has been published in collaboration with other travel websites and multiple visitor bureaus around the country.

3 Responses

  1. Cheryl

    We had a private chef come to our AirBnB and make a 5 course meal for 15 member extended family. We could watch or go about our own fun and games. He served us and told a few stories too. I’ll never forget that meal!

  2. Cheryl Archambault

    We gave our fans son, then 5 a Christmas Eve scavenger hunt where at the end he had to dig his new suitcase filled with summer clothes and tickets to Disney World inside. He loved the scavenger hunt and although he didn’t have any idea what Disney World was he loved that, SeaWorld and a trip to the beach and a strawberry festival in February.

    We have given Dinner and live music tickets are gifts to family members. One year I gave my parents an overnight and tickets to see Jersey Boys. They loved it!

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