Experiential Gift Giving


What if we told you we had a foolproof plan for skipping the dreaded mall or waiting (and waiting, and waiting) for online orders to arrive this holiday season? Instead of giving grandpa another pair of socks, your niece another LOL Doll (really, doesn’t she have enough toys?), or spending hours upon hours trying to figure out something, anything, to buy your mom, consider the gift of experience.

As we all learned during 2020, time with people we love doing the things we love is way more valuable than another trinket that we don’t have room for anyway. (In fact, some of us learned that we have way too much material stuff, and used the pandemic to purge the heck out of our houses.) Consumers are actively switching their spending, giving irreplaceable memories through experiences instead of material goods.

A study published in The Journal of Experimental Psychology found that, while experiential and material gifts evoke the same amount of overall happiness, satisfaction with material items decreases over time, while satisfaction with experiences actually increases as time passes. 

“An experiential gift elicits a strong emotional response when a recipient consumes it — like the fear and awe of a safari adventure, the excitement of a rock concert or the calmness of a spa — and is more intensely emotional than a material possession,” said University of Toronto researcher Cindy Chan.

In other words, happy memories endure while the value of material possessions fade (which isn’t to say that a little retail therapy pick-me-up isn’t a good thing!).

Memory-Making Gift Ideas

The Gift That Keeps on Giving If one experience is good, an entire year of experiences is better! Season passes are available for Stone Mountain Park, Margaritaville, Georgia Aquarium, Zoo Atlanta and more.

Continuing Education If you’ve ever heard your gift recipient wonder aloud, “I wonder if I could do that?” then we have the gift for you! The Hudgens Center offers beginner to advanced classes in everything from acrylics to watercolors to pottery. Learn to sew one stitch at a time at Threaded from Heaven in Suwanee. Channel your inner Brad Pitt at Atlanta Fly Fishing School. The opportunities are endless!

K.I.S.S. As in, Keep It Simple, Stupid. Experiences don’t have to cost an arm and a leg. While your sister would love it if you took her kids to Disney World, don’t discount taking them for an afternoon at PlayTown Suwanee, gelato at Black Walnut Café, or a rainy day at the Gwinnett Public Library.