If you are looking to maximize your return on investment when it comes to gift giving, consider giving the gift of experience versus giving the gift of things.
The reasoning is pretty simple—and scientific.
Experiences, such as vacations, make people happier than do things, according to an abundance of recent research performed by psychology professors and other researchers.
As material possessions deteriorate or become obsolete, our memories of them tend to fade over time. On the other hand, with experiences, such as vacations, our memories of them grow sweeter over time—even if that experience was somehow imperfect.
In a recent article, Dr. Thomas Gilovich, a psychology professor at Cornell University who has been studying the question of money and happiness for over two decades, had this to say.
“Our experiences are a bigger part of ourselves than our material goods. You can really like your material stuff. You can even think that part of your identity is connected to those things, but nonetheless, they remain separate from you. In contrast, your experiences really are part of you. We are the sum total of our experiences.”
Experiences Are Better Shared
Gilovich also found that when experiences are shared, such as vacations with family and friends, we become connected more to other people than when we share consumption. “You’re more likely to feel connected to someone you took a vacation with…than someone who also happens to have bought a 4K TV.”
It’s Also Fun To Anticipate An Experience
Researchers also concluded that anticipation of an experience elicits greater happiness and excitement than waiting for a material item to arrive.
Think about how much fun it is to anticipate and plan a trip to the beach versus waiting on Amazon to deliver your new high-tech activity tracker!
Give your friends or family a gift of a trip to the beautiful white sand beaches of the Alabama/Florida Gulf Coast.