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Want Priceless Memories? Gift Experiences, Not Things…

I’m diving into why I feel vacation and experience gifts will benefit your entire family!

Gift something everlasting. ❤️
Ever consider experience gift ideas for the holidays? Change your traditions with a vacation or experience gifts that the entire family will love!

Life can feel pretty materialistic sometimes. I know there are countless times when I’m thinking of what to buy my kids for the holidays and ask myself, “Will this REALLY add value to their life?” 🤔

In most cases, the answer is no. With the holiday season approaching, and with them getting older and much harder to please, this is something I think about often.

However, studies show there are gifts that have proven to leave a lasting impression on us and that is…experience gifts! 🙌🏻

Studies show that experience gifts can foster stronger relationships than material items and that they evoke a stronger emotional response than any material item. According to researcher Cindy Chan, “The fear and awe of a safari adventure, the excitement of a rock concert, or the calmness of a spa… is more intensely emotional than a material possession.”. Another study even shared how 78% of millennials would rather spend money on experiences. 👏🏻

Photo from Lina’s Disney vacation.

In 2016, Psychology Professor Thomas Gilovich from Cornell University made four studies on the subject over decades and came to the conclusion that happiness is derived from experiences, not things. Thinking about this made me realize the most awesome moments in my life come from experiences and memories, not material objects!

Making memories together as a family really is priceless. We still talk about our past trips and laugh about all the funny things that happened that I know we’ll never forget.

Realizing how quickly life is flying by sure makes me feel blessed and grateful to have gone on so many memorable adventures with my family.

Here are some other benefits to giving experience gifts over things:

You’ll experience more happiness. The happiness from a material item will fade over time, but the happiness you receive from experiences will last a lifetime.
Relationships will be strengthened. You’ll not only find a deeper connection with yourself, but you’ll strengthen bonds with others.
They’re more unique and special. All experience gift ideas are unique to everyone and will feel customized to the individual and their interests making these types of gifts more meaningful than ever
Experience gifts are everlasting. Material items typically don’t last forever, especially things like toys, and at some point, they’ll become donated. Memories are something everyone will cherish forever.

I hope my kids will carry the tradition of making memories with their own kids someday. ❤️
We were placed on this earth to have relationships with (and love) PEOPLE… not THINGS.

With the holiday season approaching, giving experience gift ideas on Christmas is such a meaningful idea. Plus, it gives everyone something to look forward to post-holidays! So many of our team members can attest to this.

Photo from Liza’s Disney World family vacation.

While a new television or cell phone might seem like a more lasting value at the time, an experience gift like a Disney vacation or even a weekend road trip will provide more long-lasting memories, and in the end more happiness. 🥰

Plus, your kids will remember that vacation for years and may even share it with their kids and grandchildren. I mean who doesn’t remember grandma’s stories of that “one time when we went…”? 😆
Here’s what my Hip sidekick, Sara, shared about her experience gifts from Christmas and birthdays:

Photo from Sara’s Virginia family vacation.

“I always encourage my kiddos to ask for these types of gifts and as they get older, they’re realizing they enjoy these ‘gifts’ so much more than a plastic toy.

Last Christmas, they asked for a membership renewal to our pool for one of their 4 Gift Rule gifts and we went multiple times a week throughout the whole summer. We made so many memories together as a family that you truly can’t put a price on it.

We don’t stop at the holidays either.
For birthdays, I always give my kiddos a choice on a bigger ask (a toy, etc.), a small party with friends, or a getaway trip (within reason). I was thrilled the year my middle son asked for a trip to Virginia. Just staying in a hotel for two nights made them feel so special and they loved the simplest things like getting to swim in the hotel pool, visiting places they have never been to, and eating at new restaurants.

For my partner’s 40th birthday, I surprised him with a trip to one of his favorite cities. We spent nearly a week hiking and building a stronger bond through the quality time we got to enjoy together.

These are all memories we still talk about and I wouldn’t trade them for any material item in the world.” – Sara

Photo from Lina’s RV Share family vacation.
There are definitely smart ways to do vacation gifts on a budget!
Put aside money towards an “experience trip” where you can help others and give your family a perspective on the world.

Take them camping and teach them useful life skills or head to the beach this summer and build the biggest sandcastle together. It really can be all about the simple things and not going on extravagant expeditions.

Hip Tip: If you want to book travel on the cheap, check out how my sister, Bryn, saves BIG by using Costco Travel, or read more about Lina’s RV Share trip where they traveled to many National Parks!

Photo from Lina’s family staycation.

Don’t just take it from us. Here’s some feedback from Hip readers who’ve given vacation gifts over objects:

“I started an experience gift ideas fund for my family by using cash back apps like Ibotta, Checkout 51, & Mobi. I refrain from all the great deals (toys) unless there’s a birthday coming up. My kids deserve experiences, not just a bunch of stuff. In the end, all they care about is how much time you spent with them when growing up anyways.” – Kristy

“I live by this philosophy. Before I started doing this, I was going broke trying to buy things that didn’t matter and I wanted to keep up and have the latest, greatest everything. One day, I realized the money I was wasting could go towards living a fulfilling life and making memories.

I just got back from a trip to Glenwood Springs, CO where I conquered my fear of heights and made memories that will last a lifetime. Giving up things for memories is something I definitely do not regret. I can look back at the pictures of my memories, while the things will be long gone and donated.” – Cara

“For my nieces and nephews, at Christmas, I make them a ‘gift certificate’. Each year it’s different. I have given them a dozen cookies, batches of ice cream, pies, etc. They get to pick the kind/flavor, I will teach them/help them make it, and they get to redeem it when they want it with a 24hr notice – I supply the ingredients.

I love it because I get to spend one on one time with them teaching them a fun skill and they love it because they get to come up with and create something that is just for them. It’s a fun and money-saving idea that gives them something they will always remember.” – Teah

The family bonding we’ve experienced while on vacation truly is priceless.

Need some vacation ideas? Here’s how you can plan a memorable family RV trip.