It’s the question heard round the country, “What do the kids want for the holidays?” And many a mom and dad will tell you that only recently did they find storage space for the plethora of generosity bestowed upon their little ones last holiday season. So the thought of another round of beeping, buzzing, battery-laden treasures seems, well, a bit overwhelming.
- There are 300,000 items in the average American home (LA Times).
- British research found that the average 10-year-old owns 238 toys but plays with only 12 daily (The Telegraph).
- The United States has upward of 50,000 storage facilities, more than five times the number of Starbucks (SSA).
Sound shocking? Probably not. But where does that leave you (or Santa) when it comes to gifts under the tree? Four words: The gift of experience.
Experiences provide more lasting happiness than material possessions, according to researchers Thomas Gilovich and Matthew Killingsworth in the Journal of Psychological Science. “Our experiences are a bigger part of ourselves than our material goods,” Gilovich explains. “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.”
With this in mind, the gift of an experience seems like an all-too-logical solution to the holiday gift-giving (and receiving) conundrum. The zoo, aquarium, dance classes, karate and SWIM LESSONS (Hello! You knew we were headed there!) are just a few ways to offer children activities that they can enjoy throughout the year without adding clutter to the chaos.
However, only one of those gifts saves lives. While many experiences offer entertainment, the gift of swimming is a creative way to combine the fun that tots want with the life-saving skills that they need. And bonus gift-giver points from Mom and Dad for providing year-round, indoor activity where they can burn off some cabin fever!