Experiences vs. Things: The secret to holiday gifts that can actually buy happiness.

Looking for that perfect holiday gift?  Well, I’ve got it for you.  The gift that makes you happy thinking about it, enjoying it, and reliving the memories of it.  The perfectly customizable, gift that anyone can love.


We’ve been told all our lives, that “money can’t buy happiness”.  Well, recent research is proving that that might actually be wrong.

That is, if you use your money to provide experiences.

big fam collage

As you might have guessed, we’re big on providing experiences around here.  We’d much rather spend our time (and money) out camping with the kids than at the mall.  Our closets, instead of being full of toys are full of gear, so we can “play” as much as we possibly can (or at least they were a year ago before we moved overseas).  No, we’re not crazy die hards by any means, but for us, we are happiest when we’re outside adventuring together as a family (even though it’s not always easy).

So logically, all of this research just makes sense to me.  I love planning trips.  I love being on trips.  And although I hate cleaning up the post-trip mess, I LOVE the memories we have and telling people about them.

What do you think your kids will remember more?  The Elsa doll that you stood in line for hours to get or the week you spent at the beach where they learned to surf.

I was recently talking to a friend of mine about Christmas, and she told me that her families very best Christmas was the year that they didn’t get any gifts.  She was originally from Peru and hadn’t been back to see her family in years and so that year for Christmas, they gave the kids a trip to South America.  It wasn’t extravagant or expensive.  They spent their days sleeping at relatives houses, eating good food, playing, and laughing.  Her kids were in heaven.  They, like most kids, didn’t need any toys.  What they needed was an amazing experience.  Something they could not only love like crazy while they’re doing it, but cherish the memories for the rest of their lives.

A trip to another continent isn’t a cheap undertaking by any means, but giving the gift of an experience can easily be as simple (cheap) or complex (expensive) as you allow it to be.

For the cost of one action figure, you can pay for a night under the stars at a campground.
For the cost of a few DVD’s you can take your family on a remote sleigh ride through the mountains.
For the cost of an ipod, you can teach your kids to ski.
For the cost of a video game system, you can build a fantastically amazing treehouse.

The sky is the limit!!!

Here are some great suggestions to provide your family with the gift of adventure.

  • Ski TripIMG_1065
  • Backpacking Trip
  • Rafting
  • Snorkeling
  • Hiking
  • Skydiving
  • Surfing Lessons
  • Backcountry Yurt Trip
  • Visit a National Park
  • Camping
  • Cooking Classes
  • Go to the Mountains
  • Build A Treehouse
  • Road Trip
  • Zoo Pass
  • Climbing Gym Membership
  • Sleigh Ride
  • Geocaching
  • Ziplining
  • Visit a New State
  • Visit a New Country
  • Museum Pass
  • Go to the Beach
  • History Tour
  • Sailing

The possibilities are endless.  So, instead of fighting the crowds this Black Friday, spend your day hanging out with your family while you mentally plan the amazing adventure you’ll surprise them with for Christmas.  I’m pretty sure that you’ll have as much fun planning it as they’ll have enjoying it!
Looking for the perfect present (like a real physical gift you can wrap) to accompany your adventure experience?  Check out what the top outdoor bloggers are recommending to help get you and your family out the door and out making some memories!


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