16 December 2010

Exchanging experiential gifts for the holidays

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A Curious Affair
Shareable reports on a new trend of people exchanging experiential gifts – classes, tickets or certificates for new, hands-on experiences.

“The notion that experiences, rather than material possessions, increase happiness has grown over the past decade. After basic needs are met, material possessions no longer improve a person’s happiness, according to researchers.

Psychology professors Leaf van Boven, University of Colorado, and Thomas Gilovich, Cornell University, reported, “Individuals will live happier lives if they invest in experiences more than material possessions … communities will have happier citizens if they make available an abundance of experiences to be acquired.”

Following their 2003 research findings, dozens of papers have been published on the subject, as well as articles and books for the general public. The New York Times recently ran a lengthy feature on the research, and author and life-coach Joe Robinson released, Don’t Miss Your Life, a book exploring the benefits of “participant experiences.”

Wustrack and Carey hope to tap into the wave of interest by turning the experience bazaar into an online marketplace on their website Curiosity Atlas.”

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