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It’s Christmas and the time for gift-giving! The festive period can be a stressful time for those wanting to buy for and impress their loved ones and with so many options it can be even more difficult to choose!

Material things or life experiences – what do kids want these days? What’s the benefit of either for your loved ones?

The benefits of experiences

A recent study by researchers at San Francisco State University showed people “enjoy greater well-being from life experiences and consider them to be a better use of money.” Experiences last a lot longer and people are far more likely to remember a skydive for the rest of their life, than a pair of earrings – even if the instant gratification is not there.

Experiences are more special as they’re usually a shared experience. You are more likely to be carrying out the gift experience together, so you’re creating shared memories that will last for years. Experiences build and strengthen relationships, especially if you’ve considered a person’s personal hobbies and interests and bought a gift that they can truly invest time in and enjoy.

‘It seems the bottom line is that we should put thought into what we give kids, instead of just loading up on every toy in sight’

There are lots of different experiences to choose from, like driving, extreme sports, horse-riding, dinner in fancy restaurants, concerts and animal interaction.

For the younger children, there are things like, Junior Movie Driving Experiences, which allow teenagers to experience cars before they’ve even taken a driving lesson with an expert instructor. Another popular experience can be with animals, like the gift of meeting meerkats at the farm. Experiences can help kids get into potential careers in the future too – driving can help with lessons later on in life and animal experiences could open up an interest in zookeeping.

The benefits of gifts

Presents can remind people of experiences and moments you share, so they are not all disposable and material. For example, a photo frame of a family holiday together evokes the same personal feel as the holiday itself, but on a smaller scale.

We spend a lot of money on material gifts: about 2 percent of our annual income, so it’s clear that the popularity of gift experiences hasn’t taken over the material goods market yet.

According to Amazon, the most popular gifts are PC and video games, toys and games, electronics, DVDs, CDs and books. For example, one of the most gifted books is The Beast of Buckingham Palace by David Walliams. Pokemon Sword on the Nintendo Switch is one of the most popular video games on the site too. The page is updated daily, so you can keep up with what gift your loved ones may be interested in.

The Offspring effect

Whether, it’s gifts or experiences you’ve sided with, the Offspring app lets users set and change their goals, so family and friends can see exactly what it is their loved ones need. Users can define for themselves what they want, so you’re giving them exactly what they need, whether that be a new video game or a ride in a fast car.