Family DON’T WATCH!! Wrapping Christmas Gifts!

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Give experiences instead of stuff, and why! In the midst of holiday gift giving, I can’t help but think about the fact that often these well-intentioned gifts eventually lead to more stress, for the giver and the receiver. So much so that over time my husband and I decided to give experiences instead of material gifts as much as we can. Even last minute, an experience gift can be easy to arrange, thoughtful, and rewarding to both giver and receiver.

I love giving gifts and always enjoy finding, wrapping, and giving the perfect gift to a family member or friend. As every parent has inevitably experienced at some point, the joy of material gifts fades quickly and even the most anticipated Christmas toys soon become a chore to clean up. Are We Drowning in Too Much Stuff? Think for a second about your grandparents’ home when you were growing up. If it was anything like mine, it was probably a small house with even smaller closets. And the closets were not that full. And they raised six kids in that house!

They also didn’t need drastic storage and organizing solutions or extra storage rental units. At least 1 in 10 of us have a storage unit to store our excess stuff. There are five times more storage facilities in the U. There is enough physical space for every man, woman, and child in America to stand in U. Do we really have so much more stuff than people did just two generations ago? 1,700 on clothes annually while giving or throwing away over 200 pounds of clothes per year. The average child in the developed world owns over 200 toys but only plays with 12 of them on average per day!

We have and consume twice as many material goods than we collectively did 50 years ago, but statistically we are much less happy. This also leads to additional stress. Over the course of our lifetime, we will spend a total of 3,680 hours or 153 days searching for misplaced items. The research found we lose up to nine items every day—or 198,743 in a lifetime. Phones, keys, sunglasses, and paperwork top the list.

Certainly, there is much more to why we are less happy than we used to be than just the excess clutter, but statistically, it is a contributor, and an easy one to address. Many studies have shown that material possessions do not equal happiness and that experiences are much more intrinsically fulfilling that things. Additional bonus: you don’t have to find a place to store experiences except in your heart, memory, and maybe in a photo book! A researcher named Thomas Gilovich at Cornell University has spent more than a decade trying to understand why experiences have the ability to contribute to happiness so much more than material purchases. They basically concluded that people tend to get less happier with material purchases over time, and more happy with experiences.

They speculate that this is because we adapt to physical things, so even the nicest car or newest phone becomes commonplace after enough time, while memories tend to get fonder over time. You can really like your material stuff. You can even think that part of your identity is connected to those things, but nonetheless they remain separate from you. In contrast, your experiences really are part of you.

We are the sum total of our experiences. Gilovich and Killingsworth found that we remember even negative experiences fondly as a funny story or bonding experience. Experiences are also a uniting factor. You are more likely to bond with someone who enjoys the same hobby or activity or has traveled to the same places that you have than with someone who has a similar possession. The anticipation leading up to a family trip, event, or experience even has the potential to provide happiness itself, making it the gift that truly keeps on giving! Happiness in the anticipation, happiness during the experience and happiness in the memories. Beats the heck out of a pile of toys that you trip over while tucking the kids in at night!