I can actually count the amount of things I’ve bought for Julia. That number is 3: a 14ct white gold necklace, a camera to better captivate memories and printed collages of our pictures together. I’m not counting meals, drinks, or other consumerable items, just materialistic things. And no, I’m not a cheapskate; I just prefer to give a different type of gift, which are experiences that lead to unforgettable memories.
Here are the top 5 reasons why experiences triumph over things:
Memories are Everlasting
Sure the newest iPhone, iPad, iMac, iWatch may be an awesome gift, but can’t anyone buy that for them? Give it a year or two and it would probably be out of style and considered ancient tech. Instead spend that $300-$2000 on a weekend getaway or an extended vacation. Chances are, you’ll both have a great time and it’ll end up lasting a lot longer, as in forever.
You just bought your girlfriend a $3,000 Celine bag. She loves it, but you notice she also has hundreds of other bags and yours is just another one. You also notice that giant hole in your wallet and you’re starting to think, “Was that bag really worth it?” Unless that bag carried some sentimental value, I doubt it was. I’ve never had buyer’s remorse when it came to giving an experience and I’ve never heard of anyone that has either.
Even bad experiences can be a good story
You just booked the fanciest restaurant in town, but it turns out they lost your reservation and you had to wait an extra hour. Once seated, the waiter spills wine all over you, the food arrives late and makes you sick and the bill was as large as Kim Kardashian’s behind. Could this be the worst night ever? It may be, but what if that extra hour was perfect to engage with your partner? You might have hated that wine covered shirt anyways. While running to the bathroom together may not have been funny at the time, I’m sure it’ll be something to always laugh about in the future. Not to mention, the bill is significant enough that you’ll never forget it, at least for a while.
Experiences make who you are
At the end of the day, you’re the sum of all your experience, not the sum of your possessions. I would much rather brag about my time eating fresh baguettes in Paris, roaming the ancient temples of Angkor Wat or sipping on cocktails on a beach in Cancun. I can guarantee that your friends would much rather hear about your experiences than listen to you brag about the materialistic items you own.
It takes effort to plan a trip regardless of the duration and distance. Building an itinerary involves thinking of a destination, followed by transportation, storage, accommodations, activities, and dining. That all takes research and it personally takes me anywhere from a few hours to a few hundred hours to plan out my trips. My advice, don’t take the shortcut and buy something, your partner will appreciate the time and effort you make in planning something special.