Gifting Experiences Instead of Stuff | Gift Ideas

During the holiday season, it’s easy to fall into the trap of too much stuff. From overflowing toy rooms to jam-packed closets, many go-to gifts can end up in a pile. The thrill of getting a coveted gift can even wear off before the holiday comes to a close. Instead of wrapping up items this year, wrap up the promise of a memorable experience.

A recent study from San Francisco State University found that people who spent money on experiences rather than material items were happier and felt the money was better spent. Studies have also shown that the excitement and anticipation that comes with an experience can add to our happiness. When you give somebody the gift of an experience, you can share memories together that won’t soon be forgotten. For kids, that quality time has been proven to enhance overall well-being.

As you shop, consider these experience gifts that can keep on giving:

Experience Gift Ideas

A Family Vacation

What better way to spend time together as a family than on a relaxing vacation? Have a family meeting and get everyone talking about where they’d like to go. Whether it’s a trip to the theme parks with the kids or a big beach vacation with the extended family, vacation memories can be some of our most cherished moments. Vacation rental homes can help keep your trip affordable so you can save on lodging and focus your budget on experiences like museums, zoos, parks, shows and more.

Experience Gifts

An Adventure

From dogsledding in Park City and hot air balloon rides in Steamboat Springs to parasailing in Northwest Florida, you can find a world of adventure across the country. When you learning something new with someone or tackle a fear, you can bond in new, more meaningful ways.

Unique Gift Ideas

A Special Event

Gift someone on your list tickets to a show or event they’ve been wanting to experience. Festivals like Coachella and Hangout Music Festival are sure to please the music lovers on your list, while sporting events like ESPN’s Winter X Games are great for those who don’t want to miss any of the action. Create a little getaway surrounding the event to make the most of the experience.

Unique Holiday Gift Ideas

A Volunteer Day

Giving back can be an incredibly fulfilling experience. Round up the crew and donate your time in your local community or visit a destination that can use your help. By working alongside each other to make a difference, you can appreciate each other and the world around you in new ways.

Holiday Gift Ideas

Board Games & Puzzles

A great cross-over between an experience and a tangible gift, a game can serve up a night of quality time, friendly competition and entertainment. Whether it’s a classic board game, a lofty puzzle or the latest game craze, it’s an experience you can continue to enjoy together.

Family Gift Ideas

Movie Night Kit

Grab a box and fill it to the brim with packs of popcorn, movie snacks and cozy pajamas. Top it off with a favorite movie or one of the newest flicks to come out, and set a date to cuddle up together. Bring the box on vacation with you for a taste of home while you’re away, or meet everyone in the living room on Saturday night.

Unique Experience Gifts

A Day Off

For your hardworking parents, spouse or siblings, give the gift of relaxation. Plan a spa getaway with your mom and sister, or treat your dad to a weekend of golf. You’ll help everyone slow down and take some time off, which is a gift people often forget to give themselves.