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The Rise of Experiences over Gifts


Holiday Gatherings: The Ideal Time for Family Financial Planning

November 26, 2023

In the post-covid era, most people are trying to figure out what to give their loved ones who already have everything. In fact, seeing the rise of consumer spending and record high credit card debt, it is evident that if someone needs something, they just buy it. Everyone seems to be adding more clutter to their already cluttered lives. So, during this gift giving season, what does one do? The latest trend is in giving experiences over gifts. The appropriateness of this idea depends on the nature of the relationship and the amount spent on the gift given. There are a handful of things to consider before anyone embarks on the journey of shifting from physical gifts to experiences:

1. Make sure the intent is well communicated
    • Some may see this as a cop out for buying an actual physical gift
2. Know the audience
    • Make sure it is an experience that they want to do or will enjoy
3. Ideally, cover all of the experience or at least a huge majority of it.
    • Don't put the recipient in a situation where they need to pour out more money than they would normally do themselves
4. Join them in the experience, if appropriate
    • Make it something that builds relationship and time spent together

Once it has been determined that this is the right idea for a gift, then next step is figuring out some creative ideas that fit every budget. On the super budget friendly side, there could be a picnic basket and blanket with a date to hike somewhere for a lunch. But for those who want to put a little more thought and money behind the gift, here are a few ideas to choose from with varying levels of cost:

  1. Cooking or Dance classes
  2. Spa day
  3. Escape rooms
  4. Mixology class
  5. Hot Air Balloon ride
  6. Tickets to concert or sporting event
  7. Wine or Brewery Tours
  8. Annual Pass to Museum or Zoo
  9. Subscriptions to Off Broadway or Movie theaters
  10. Weekend Getaway

The final step in all gift giving is the final presentation. Rather than printing the tickets on a piece of paper and handing it to the recipient in an envelope, think of a creative way to present it. If giving a cooking class, find something small to wrap the tickets in like a monogrammed apron. If it is an escape room, maybe find a small coded lockbox to put the tickets in and a riddle to figure out the combination. Get a nice beer stein for the brewery tour, an ornament for the location of the weekend getaway, or a hat for the sporting event. Again, know the audience and think creatively on what to give and how to best present it.

Not only will this avoid adding clutter to everyone's lives, these experiences should build relationship and time spent together. It communicates a deeper knowledge of the recipient and fosters a longer lasting relationship because the giver and receiver get to know each other better. So, for this holiday season, seek creative ways to give a thoughtful gift and use experiences as a way to show love and increase that value of the relationship.

Additional Reading: How Much Should I Give For A Bar Mitzvah Gift? Do Parents Gifts Come with Strings Attached?

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About the author

Brian Watson

Brian Watson

Vice President, Private CFO®

Brian is a true Atlanta native and graduated from Walton High School. He got his Bachelor's degree in Business from Samford University in Birmingham, AL and then his Master's degree from Beeson Divinity. He is blessed to be married to his best friend, Jen, and they have 4 amazing kids (age range 7-13). He is active in his community by serving as a deacon at Johnson Ferry Baptist Church and helps lead their Children's Worship Service called Kid's Church. He is a baseball and soccer coach each season through the Upward sports program and even serves on the board for his kid's school, East Cobb Christian School. And if there is ever any free time from all this, he likes to run with his dog or sit on the back deck with friends/family or just read a good book.

Securities offered through Kestra Investment Services, LLC (Kestra IS), member FINRA/SIPC. Investment advisory services offered through Kestra Advisory Services, LLC (Kestra AS), an affiliate of Kestra IS. oXYGen Financial is not affiliated with Kestra IS or Kestra AS. Kestra IS and Kestra AS do not provide tax or legal advice. Investor Disclosures: https://bit.ly/KF-Disclosures

The opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and may not necessarily reflect those held by Kestra Investment Services, LLC or Kestra Advisory Services, LLC. This is for general information only and is not intended to provide specific investment advice or recommendations for any individual. It is suggested that you consult your financial professional, attorney, or tax advisor with regard to your individual situation.

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Securities offered through Kestra Investment Services, LLC (Kestra IS), member FINRA/SIPC. Investment advisory services offered through Kestra Advisory Services, LLC (Kestra AS), an affiliate of Kestra IS. oXYGen Financial is not affiliated with Kestra IS or Kestra AS. Kestra IS and Kestra AS do not provide tax or legal advice. https://Bit.ly/KF-Disclosures

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