Christmas is traditionally a time for giving gifts to others, and there’s a huge amount of information available online about gift giving—how to do it, who to give to, different ways of giving. However, people often overlook the fact that a Christmas present doesn’t strictly need to be in the form of a gift—in fact, this year you could look at providing your loved ones with an experience instead.
Below, we’ve outlined some of the pros and cons of both options.
Gift-giving can be an immensely rewarding though also immensely difficult experience. A poorly thought-out gift will (at best) be given away or go completely unused after being greeted with a polite but awkward “Thank you”. However, a well-chosen gift is a something that can be valued for many years afterwards. Gift-giving is a skill that not everyone possesses, so consider yourself blessed if you have it!
The expense involves in a gift can run all the way from miniscule to ridiculous. It’s important to remember that the cost involved does not necessarily accurately indicate the amount of thought that went in to the purchase, either—given to the right person, a cheap paperback novel can be substantially more impactful than the most expensive bottle of perfume in the world. Again, make sure that you do some research to make sure that you buy something relevant to the person (or people).
Gifts can potentially be a cheaper option if you’re buying for a group of people, as well. A Christmas hamper is going to be substantially cheaper taking a big group on holiday!
The point of giving someone an experience is to give them access to something that they wouldn’t normally be able to participate in. The exact nature of the experience can vary substantially—for some people, it would be a great thrill to simply go horse riding, or to stay for a few nights in some Surfers Paradise accommodation over the New Year. For others, they might like to experience the sights and sounds of Monte Carlo—it is all very dependent on the individual’s own desires, and you’ll probably need to adjust your budget accordingly.
One of the main pros about experiences is that they tend to create memories. Memories, of course, can last longer than even the most expensive gift. This might sound a little bit cheesy, but it’s true. The memories of a week away in Gold Coast holiday accommodation is much more likely to be remembered in the long term than the finest chocolates that you can buy.
On the cons side, providing someone with an experience can often be substantially more expensive than a simple gift. This won’t matter to some—but if you are considering matters solely in financial terms, it is probably best to steer clear.
Of course, the ultimate decision about whether an experience or gift is better will be determined by the person that you’re giving it to. Treating a three year old boy to high tea in Sydney CBD is probably going to be fairly futile gesture; an action figure is probably a better bet.
Likewise, an action figure is probably going to be wasted on your grandmother—this is an occasion where the high tea will almost definitely be more appropriate. Make sure you take a careful note of the person’s personality before going with either option, and make sure that they have fun!