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This Christmas, rethink what’s on your gift list

by Editor

For most of us, the rapidly approaching festive season heralds a time of shopaholism and excessive spending. It’s a frenzied race to fight crowds in malls to find gifts for everyone, often spending way more than we planned (or budgeted for).

We live in a fast-paced consumer-orientated world, where we’re conditioned into believing that if we buy a bigger house, drive an expensive car and wear designer clothes, then we will be truly happy. But this type of euphoric happiness is usually short-lived, with the thrill fading fast, replaced by a perpetual desire for the next thing.

This year, Samantha Pillay (director of sales operations for First Loyalty Plus) urges us to make a conscious decision to buy fewer gifts, and instead opt to invest in shared experiences with our family and friends through memory-making adventures that will last a lifetime. “Every day we make choices about what to spend our money on, and research has shown, time and time again, that investing in experiences is almost always a better idea than investing in things.”

There’s an upswell in the number of people who are now choosing to rather invest in experiences, and here are five compelling reasons:

1. More enduring happiness: A psychology professor at Cornell University has been studying the relationship between money and happiness for more than 20 years. His research has proven conclusively that experiences make people feel happier for much longer than material possessions, as the happiness derived from these is short-lived. Over time, people become less satisfied with the things they’ve bought and instead feel more fulfilled through experiences.

2. Longer lasting memories: People tend to remember past childhood experiences such as family holidays, with far more clarity as adults than they remember the gifts they received. Memories created by experiences truly are gifts that keep on giving.

3. Less clutter: Unlike physical possessions that take up space in our lives, experiences take up very little space – other than some photos and a souvenir or two. With a global drive toward embracing minimalism, more and more people are striving to live simply and only have what they absolutely need in their homes for daily living.

4. Enhanced connections: It is easier to connect with others when we experience things together, spend time in one another’s company, or share a common activity. In our busy lives, we need to grab as much downtime as possible to de-stress and relax, and sharing fun experiences is a pleasurable way of doing this.

5. Less pressure: Booking a holiday or some form of fun experience is far less stressful than trying to decide what to buy someone for Christmas and fighting the crowds to get your shopping done. 

Pillay concludes, “Remember that whether the experiences you are investing in are big or small, they all add up, and each one counts as a deposit into your memory bank. Consider, too, that real fun and joy are derived from sharing an experience with those you love rather than doing it alone, so it makes sense that long-lasting happiness comes from enjoying memorable experiences together as a family or with good friends.

“So, this Christmas, why not make it a priority to focus on being present, rather than on presents?”

Experiences don’t need to break the bank! By signing up for a First Loyalty Plus membership, you’ll score incredible discounts on crazy-cool experiences such as hot-air ballooning, up to 50% off on holidays, as well as 20% off spa treatments, and loads of other amazing deals.

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