Two Alternative Ideas for Gift Giving
Make holiday gift giving more enjoyable for yourself and for those on your list this holiday season. It can be challenging to come up with something that will make the recipient happy. We also must feel that we are doing something nice for the recipient. With these thoughts in mind, why not take a little different approach to gift giving this year? Below are two options – one where you purchase an experience and the other where you offer the recipient a choice of charities.
Experiences, Not Things, for the Holidays.
Spending money on experiences rather than things may seem like the latest thing to do, but millennials have been doing it for years. There have been countless articles, surveys, and research that show that our brains enjoy experiences more than buying things.
“…enjoyable evenings out in the company of loved ones will provide a much longer lasting and more fulfilling happiness than the temporary thrill of a large purchase.” – Forbes.com
How can this fit into your gift giving?
It started with Groupon in 2008, where you could get daily deals on restaurants, retail purchases, and travel. Though it is not as popular as it once was, it still provides many great deals, including experiences.
Websites that only offer experiences
There are companies that have seen this trend and offer specific experiences that can be purchased or you can buy a gift card and let your recipient decide how to spend it. This seems to be a growing industry focusing on experiences.
- Cloud9Living.com – Almost the same experiences offered in different cities. Select by city throughout the U.S.
- Excitations.com – A few more choices of experiences with a limited number of cities throughout the U.S. Easy to use searches that will make choosing a breeze.
- Xperiencedays.com – Easy search by state, category, and or price. There is an option to offer an experience for a charity of your choice. This could be something to consider for a family gathering or a corporate event.
From my research they seem to have similar experiences available. I suggest comparing before you buy.
Doing something good for someone makes us feel better
Research has shown that we personally benefit when we do something good for someone else. Even taking a friend out to lunch can make us feel better about ourselves. This feeling can be extended to giving money to a worthy cause. While some may not appreciate receiving a card in the mail that someone donated money in their name, consider sending a prepaid gift card that could be used towards any number of charities. This way the recipient has some control over where the donation will go.
Websites that offer charitable gift cards
- DonorsChoose.org – This site is unique because it started with a history teacher in the Bronx who wanted his class to read Little House on the Prairie. There are teachers throughout the U.S. requesting donations for various school activities. You can find the classroom you want to support. According to the site, 94.9% goes towards the classroom projects materials and processing.
- TisBest.org – Purchase gift cards that do not expire for charities that are listed on the website. If you don’t see your favorite charity, new charities are added annually based upon feedback from website visitors. For cards over $10, there is a $1.95 transaction fee plus 3% processing. This means if you purchase a $100 card, the charity will receive $95.05.
TisBest offers special gift cards with a face value of $5 each with a minimum order of 100 cards. It could be a unique gift, if you run a small business and want to thank your customers.
- CharityGiftCertificates.org – Purchase gift cards and your recipient can choose any charity that is listed. About 92% of the face value of the gift card is sent to the charity of your choice.
I have not used any of these sites myself, which means you should do your own research before purchasing any gift cards.
Experiences change our lives and our perspective. Be a pioneer and help this movement grow. Personally, I enjoy learning something new, visiting a place I haven’t seen before, or helping people instead of filling my home with more stuff.
Given a choice, would you rather do something out of your comfort zone or would you rather have the latest gadget?