Priceless Christmas Gifts…Cheap!
I don’t want to say I’m a scrooge, but I do like to find a good deal, especially at Christmas time. In fact, I’d love to get each family member a great gift, one they consider priceless…and I’d like to get it inexpensively. Let me rephrase that: I’d like to get it down right cheap! If you are like me, I have good news. I have found a way to get priceless Christmas gifts on the cheap! How? I discovered it in a study that I reviewed recently (psychology does have life application—who would have thought?). This study suggests that “experiential purchases” produce greater happiness than “material purchases.” Experiential gifts include things like taking someone out to dinner or enjoying a concert together as opposed to material gifts such as a new shirt, a game, or toys. Experiential gifts bring about greater happiness than material gifts because:
· They improve over time. We tend to forget the boring moments of an enjoyable experience and simply recall the fun and memorable highlights. That new sweater, on the other hand, slowly wears out until we throw it away.
· They take on symbolic meaning. The shirt we buy remains a shirt; but the dinner and movie we enjoy together become symbolic of our relationship and common interests.
· They outlive any comparison. Those lovely ear rings I bought my wife suddenly seem to appear in everyone’s ears…and some women even have more beautiful ear rings. But, our walk under the starry sky while holding hands remains our personal memory and, as such, is very difficult to compare…or beat.
I know that some of the experiential gifts I mentioned above cost money. But, the study was in the Journal of Consumer Science so they didn’t mention that many experiential gifts can be absolutely free! With this study in mind, maybe we can choose a few of our Christmas gifts from the experiential kind. These gifts can create lifelong memories that grow in value over time. The price for these gifts can range from dinner and a movie to a walk in the park. Whatever the actual price tag, the value remains priceless…and that’s getting a deal for my money! Here are a few ideas for experiential gifts:
· Purchase a gift card for a local theatre. Make the movie contingent on sharing dinner or dessert together either before or after the movie. I know, this one costs some money, but the value far outweighs the price tag!
· Give the gift of affirmation. Write your family member a blessing. Simply write them a short letter (about 1 page) that identifies three traits you admire in them. For each trait, give an example from the last year that exemplifies that trait. Finish with a statement of your love.
You can also create a homemade coupon book filled with experiential gifts such as:
· The gift of touch by offering twelve coupons for a backrub or massage. That’s one for each month. Then, light some candles, warm up the massage oil, and enjoy time together.
· The gift of extra hugs. Vary the coupons for a quick hug, an oxytocin hug, or a bear hug.
· The gift of service. Include coupons that family members can cash in for you to complete their chore, no questions asked.
· The gift of quality time. Coupons for quality time can include a walk in the park, a rambling ride to the country, or any other activity you might enjoy together.
· The gift of a day off—a day off from cooking, cleaning, lawn cutting, driving, whatever. Offer a day off so you can enjoy time together as a family. Let the work go and spend just one day practicing the philosophy of “play first, work later.” Don’t worry, the world will survive and your work will still be there.
Add your own coupons and ideas. Be creative. Have fun. Make it a memorable experience. The memories will bring great joy and grow in value as time passes on…and the relationship you nurture is priceless!