One Christmas my sister-in-law handed me an envelope containing my first “experience as a gift“.
At that time I had no real grasp of the wonderfulness of the idea of “experience gift gift giving.” To me, gifts or presents that “come in envelopes” ordinarily meant cash or the modern cash equivalent – gift cards or gift certificates – with which I might buy something. However, for my adventure minded sister-in-law an envelope with cash or a gift card just wouldn’t do. Not her style, thank-you very much.
What that envelope contained was my first an experience gift certificate for my first hot air balloon ride, a life experience that I had imagined enjoying for years but never quite . . got around to . . or got the courage to do or . . Well, for whatever reason I never got past the imagination stage of riding in a hot air balloon.
To be precise what she handed me was a colorful voucher for a pre-paid ride on a hot air balloon, redeemable within one year, at various locations around the country. So, there it was. My first hotair balloon ride: all pre-paid and ready to go. All I had to do was to contact a local service provider and make the arrangements for my adventure.
In my case the nearest location was Lancaster, Pennsylvania, a beautiful rural farming area famous for its association with the “Pennsylvania Dutch” or Amish and Mennonite communities.
Many researchers are now studying the psychological benefits of experience gifts over material gifts. In these studies researchers are discovering consumers receive greater satisfaction from experience gifts than material gift giving.
In my case I can confirm the studies.