Whether you give a thing or an experience, ideally it should (to maximize long term happiness) make a person feel:
– in control
– connected to other people, and/or
– closer to achieving a goal.

Still haven’t found that perfect Christmas gift for someone special?

Why not give them happiness?

Psychological research suggests that (after paying for necessities like housing and food) people who spend money on experiences rather than material objects are happier in the long term.

Various studies show that looking forward to experiences is typically more exciting than waiting to receive a material object, and that afterwards we don’t tend to get bored of happy memories, the way we do with ‘stuff’.

And if those experiences can be shared with family members, all the better.

There are endless possibilities for Christmas gift experiences, but here are a few suggestions to get you thinking:

  • a trip to the zoo
  • museum tickets or memberships
  • theatre tickets
  • tickets to a local rock climbing gym
  • surfing classes
  • art classes
  • a horse ride
  • a massage
  • indoor indoor trampoline center or even skydiving(!)

… And of course some material gifts have a strong experiential flavour, like:

  • sports equipment
  • musical instruments
  • magazine subscriptions , depending on the magazine, of course. Here’s a great one for the kids – Double Helix (from the CSIRO)

… Also for the kids… what about a bank account with a starting balance? As we’ve said before, a gift of good financial habits will put your children or grandchildren in good stead for life.

What are your thoughts?

Do you have any great experience gift ideas? Join the conversation — leave a comment below and let us know what you’re thoughts are.

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