The gift that keeps on giving – experiences as gifts - Merlin Venues

The gift that keeps on giving – experiences as gifts

16 November 2016

What do you give the person who has everything? Not the classic pair of socks or tie combo – AGAIN!! Gone are the days when we dreamed of a new bicycle for Christmas and let’s face it, most of us are up to the eyeballs in the latest perfume, gadget, and hairstyling product already. What sort of presents do you go for? Choosing certainly isn’t easy and, according to Rewire Me, the sort of present you buy depends on your gender. Consumer psychologist Margaret Rucker noted that men tend to give practical gifts and are concerned about the cost, while women would rather give and receive gifts which have emotional significance – sound about right?

Choosing presents can be a real challenge, and according to Social Psych Online we adopt different strategies to try and make it easier; “The first strategy is to be ‘recipient-focused’, which means you look for a gift that reflects the qualities of the person who will receive it. The second strategy is to be ‘giver-focused’, which means you look for a gift that reflects who you are.” However, it would seem that we’re not too sure about the sort of present we actually like. A series of studies published in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology showed that whereas people think they prefer recipient-focused gifts, they actually found that it is giver-focused gifts that brought people closer. Confusing or what?!


Rather than get stressed about the sort of physical gift to buy, there is another strategy you could follow. Try going down the experiences as gifts route where the idea is to give memories instead of physical gifts. Research into happiness and gift-giving shows that experiences make us happier than things do – whether it is tickets to a show or gig, a balloon ride or a special trip on the London Eye. If its high-octane adrenalin stuff your friend likes then how about 3 hours with British Racing Driver Tiff Needell or booking an indoor sky dive? A yacht ride, meal at a posh restaurant or llama experience might suit your more romantic friends. Your artistic relatives could appreciate a drawing workshop at the V & A and for your quirkier friends? How about a day at spy school or a tour around London’s public toilets! For more ideas, check out our unique and unusual events in London.

Of course this means you don’t have to traipse down Oxford Street and can do your shopping from the comfort of your own sofa – what’s not to like? Hopefully your friend or relative will be left with a bunch of happy memories that’ll last for years, or at least until after the Christmas tree (and unwanted presents) has been taken to the tip! It’s a win-win situation!


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