Want Priceless Memories? Gift Experiences, Not Things…
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I’m diving into why I feel vacation & experience gifts over objects will benefit your entire family!
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.
There is something that has actually been proven to leave a lasting impression on us: Experience gifts!
Science says that experiential and vacation gifts evoke a stronger emotional response than, say, the latest buzzy gadget. 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.”
Photo from Brandi’s Ocoee River Rafting 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, it sure makes me feel blessed and grateful to have gone on so many memorable adventures with my family.
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.
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…”? 😆
Photo from Sara’s Virginia family vacation.
With the holiday season approaching, giving an experience gift on Christmas is so special because then everyone can count down to the day and makes something to look forward to post-holidays! So many of our team members can attest to this.
My Hip Sidekick, Sara, had a super smart idea she’s doing with her kids!
“I always encourage my kiddos to ask for these types of gifts, and as they get older, they’re realizing it’s so much more valuable than a plastic toy.
My kids decided to ask their grandma for a pool membership renewal next summer as opposed to tons of gifts. THEY LOVED going to our new pool this year, but it was super pricey…however, for an entire summer full of fun, it’s totally worth it and is a great gift idea.” – Sara
Photo from Lina’s National Parks 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, such as how to pitch a tent — they’ll likely come back really thankful for that soft warm bed! 😂
Or just head to the beach this summer and build the biggest sandcastle together – bigger than you’d ever imagined. Because happiness is derived from experiences, not inanimate objects.
Hip Tip: If you want to book travel on the cheap, check out how my sister, Bryn, saves BIG by using Costco Travel!
Photo from Lina’s Hawaii family vacation.
Don’t just take it from me. Here’s some feedback from readers who’ve given vacation gifts over objects:
“I started an experience fund for my family from cash back apps like Ibotta, Checkout 51, & Mobi. I refrain from all the great deals (toys) unless there’s a birthday coming up. I want my kids to have 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.” – Kristy
“I live by this philosophy. I was going broke trying to buy things that didn’t matter. I wanted to keep up and have the latest, greatest everything. One day, I realized that the money that I was wasting could go towards living a fulfilling life and making memories.
I just got back from a trip to Glenwood Springs, CO. I conquered my fear of heights and made memories that will last a lifetime while I was there. I don’t regret giving up things for memories. 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 is different. I have given them a dozen cookies, batches of ice cream, pies, etc… They get to pick the kind/flavor, and I will teach them/help them make it. 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 this fall.