Give Experiences This Holiday Season

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There are countless studies indicating that people are more satisfied with a purchase of an experience rather than a thing. This same line of thought can be applied to giving and receiving gifts. Basically, the hypothesis is that people adapt to material goods, making them part of daily life and thereby less exciting. Experiences are different. There’s anticipation leading up to the event, each person has different interactions during the outing, and it eventually becomes part of someone’s personal narrative when stories are recounted long afterward. 

Now, I’m not saying to completely forego a traditional present. (Personally, I would prefer to receive at least one thing I could enjoy immediately!) Instead, combine your experience-based gift with a complementary item for a memorable Christmas experience your loved one will treasure forever.
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The Experience: Holiday Package

The most obvious experiential gift is a holiday for your loved one. While this takes a fair amount of planning to juggle schedules and ask his/her boss for holiday-time approval, the surprise on the recipient's face will be worth it! If a week-long trip is too hard to plan (or too financially straining), opt for a long weekend to a nearby city that you can drive to. Book a hotel and make reservations at a nice restaurant, but don’t plan every last detail. Part of the fun with this gift is to dive into the planning process together. 

Pair it with  leather luggage to use on the trip and every holiday afterward. 
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The Experience: Cooking Lessons

If you have a budding chef on your hands, opt for a couple’s cooking lesson. Not only will you enjoy a gourmet meal that you’ve prepared yourselves that evening, you’ll gain the skills necessary to recreate the dish at home. 

Pair it with  Le Creuset cookware. Not sure what to get? The classic Dutch oven is an indulgent piece of kitchenware that any at-home chef will love. 
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The Experience: A Concert

Rock on with tickets to a sought-after concert or a favourite band. If you’re not terribly fond of the artist, encourage your loved one to bring a friend along instead. Or, at the very least, listen to the artist’s hits so you recognise some of the songs! The effort won’t go unnoticed.    

Pair it with high-quality  headphones or the band’s records. 
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The Experience: Sailing Lessons

If you’re lucky enough to live in a warm-weather destination with a nearby body of water, sailing lessons are something that can be given year round. Learning something new will bring you closer together and sailing lessons will come in handy a few months later when summer finally rolls around. 

Pair it with  boat shoes and Breton stripes.
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The Experience: Art Exhibit

For those close to a major museum, a gallery night could be the perfect thing for a fan of the visual arts. Snag tickets for an exhibit opening or just make it a special trip to spend the weekend downtown and head to the exhibit in the afternoon. Think beyond traditional works of art, too. Many museums have jewellery and clothing exhibits that might be of interest.  

Pair it with a coffee table book of the artist’s work. 
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