Why People are Choosing Experiences Over Material Gifts This Christmas

December 04, 2017
Why People are Choosing Experiences Over Material Gifts This Christmas

Christmas is upon us once again, and it’s time to start searching for the perfect gifts for our loved ones. We choose gifts with the intention to bring happiness yet sometimes, despite our best intentions, we can miss the mark as the daunting task leads us back to material possessions, which don't always make us happy.

The average Australian will spend almost $1000 on Christmas presents this year — $620 of which will be unwanted by the recipient.

Experience gifts are fast becoming a preferred choice for both the giver and the receiver. In recent years, the psychology of gift-giving and its ties to consumerism, has increasingly become a popular topic of study by psychologists, sociologists and anthropologists.

Here are 4 reasons why we’re moving toward experience gifts over material items;

Long-Lasting Joy

Experiences give the gift of anticipation, moments & memories.

The greatest thing about experience gifts, is their longevity. Giving the gift of an experience, means giving long-lasting joy that is made up of the sense of anticipation of the experience, the experience itself and the moments it brings, as well as the memories that remain. In comparison to material gifts, which give fleeting excitement and generally tend to make us unhappier over time as we adapt to them and begin to desire a newer, better version to replace it. An experience lasts a lifetime in our memories, and often those memories become fonder over time.

Part of the anticipation, is a sense of imagination and wonder, which in today’s world, is refreshing albeit infrequent. A material possession has a definitive amount of joy it can bring. With an experience, the joy is undefined and limitless, with so much potential.

Experiences become a part of oneself – before, during and after the experience itself.

We all have too much ‘stuff’

These days, most of us feel that we simply have too much ‘stuff’ and in most cases, we’re probably right. Consider this - a study undertaken by the Australian Institute in 2016 titled ‘Stuff Happens’ determined that Australia-wide, we spend $10.5 billion every year on items that were purchased but never used. This is often the case with gifts being purchased for family members, friends or colleagues – we don’t always know exactly what they would like to receive as a gift, so we choose to give an on-trend material item that has little thought behind it. We’ve all gone down this path, and we know that on those occasions, the gift buying process really isn’t that enjoyable, and perhaps we’re even acutely aware at the time, that the gift won’t be genuinely valued or utilized (not to mention that we’re contributing to the ‘stuff’ situation).

Collectively, we have twice as many material items than we did 50 years ago yet statistics indicate that we are significantly less happy. With the accumulation of material items, often comes increased stress and frustration which undoubtedly contributes to our overall sense of wellbeing.


From the moment we obtain a physical possession, we immediately begin to adapt to its existence and our ownership of it – we stop appreciating things to which we are regularly exposed. The fondness and value of a physical possession can quickly become obsolete, before it then becomes a negative presence with the accumulation of more ‘stuff’.

We don’t adapt to experiences we haven’t yet had – and once we’ve had them, they remain with us in a non-physical way and our fondness of them continue to grow and develop – as with all things, the memory is sometimes even more joyful than the moment itself.

Emotional Connection & Relationships

The emotions that an experience can elicit far outweighs the emotions that can be derived from a physical gift. This makes them more ‘connecting’ in the gift giving process. Giving the gift of a future positive moment, is an emotionally connecting opportunity that gives the purchaser a genuine sense of satisfaction with their gift decision – they get a glimpse of the anticipation in the eyes of their recipient and await them undertaking the experience almost as much as they do themselves. Giving a gift should be based on relationships and emotional connection and experience gifts allow for this much more than a physical gift does. The memories one gains in the moment of their experience, will be forever attributed to the person that gave them the gift.

This Christmas, take a moment to consider your approach to choosing gifts for your loved ones. To give an experience, is to give a gift of long-lasting joy, of anticipation, moments and memories – and, of emotional connection.

You can browse a curated selection of Christmas gifts For Him, For Her, For Clients, or you can get in touch about Curating an Experience for your loved one, with the help of the TIXSTAR team. To get started on curating the perfect Christmas experience gift, enquire now via the button below, email us at info@tixstar.com.au or call customer support (03) 9257 3255.