Giving Experiences Brings More Joy Than Material Items


Research Shows Gifting an Experience Brings More Joy than Material Items Can

Toronto, Canada: November 15, 2016 – With gift-giving season upon us, and wish lists assembling, now is the perfect time to consider what purchases will truly bring the greatest amount of happiness to family and friends. You guessed it – EXPERIENCES!

Research shows that experiences like a concert, nature hike, vacation or even a dinner out fosters more happiness than material items because it lasts longer – from the time it is planned, the anticipation leading up to it, the experience itself and then reminiscing the good times over and over again. Researchers Erica J. Boothby and colleagues from Yale University found that sharing an experience with another person, even without communicating, amplifies each individual’s experience. Events become a part of our personal history. Giving the gift of experience is a powerful bonding agent.

“Beyond basic needs, the research suggests that experiences result in more bang for your happiness buck than material things, active more than passive experiences, learning or growth enhancing experiences more than pleasant ones, and growth enhancing experiences with other people most of all. If you are looking to give your loved ones more long-lasting happiness this holiday season – think about gifts that lead to active involvement, learning and social connection.” Greg Evans, Ph.D., Chair, Canadian Positive Psychology Association.

If you want to make that person on your “nice list” really happy this holiday season, consider gifting a Redwing Institute Culture & Nature Discovery Walk. Guests have the unique opportunity to walk in the footsteps of Toronto’s First Nations people, awakening all the senses – taste, touch, smell, sound and sight through food, music, sacred plants and breath-taking natural beauty of the Humber River Valley. Tours take place during Spring, Summer and Fall so during the winter months the anticipation for the tour will add to their feelings of excitement and enjoyment. For more information on Holiday Gift Cards, which can be purchased in a variety of denominations from $25 to $1,000 please visit

As the gift giver, you too will also benefit from your experiential purchase. According to a recent study by Jesse Walker, Amit Kumar and Thomas Gilovich, behavioural psychology researchers, they found that over 62% of participants enjoyed a boost in gratitude from their experiential purchase whereas the same was not true for their material ones. “People are more grateful for what they’ve done than what they have. That is, feelings of gratitude are inspired more by the trips we take, the venues we visit, and the meals we eat rather than the gadgets, furniture, or clothing we buy,” confirms Amit Kumar, currently a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at The University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business.

Feeling grateful has been associated with increasing well-being, reduced visits to the doctor’s office, enhanced social connection, improved sleep quality, decreased feelings of envy and depression and an increased sense of meaning and life satisfaction. The researchers found that people are likely to feel grateful for purchases that connect them to others, enhance their sense of self, and encourage them to appreciate what they’ve purchased for its intrinsic value, not for how it compares with what others have purchased. Experiential purchases do just that.

“That is what I see in my own experience, leading Redwing Institute’s Culture & Nature Discovery Walk, which provides an opportunity for participants to connect on various levels, through food, music and shared experiences on the trail, while exploring the Humber River Valley in Toronto,” says Lisa Gervais, founder Redwing Institute.

About Redwing Institute
Awarded the 2016 “Unique Experience of the Year” for Toronto, by the Luxury Travel Guide Global Awards for the Culture & Nature Discovery Walk, Redwing Institute is an experiential learning organization, located in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. The programs are based in nature and grounded in the science of positive psychology, the scientific study of human flourishing & well-being, focused on our strengths and what’s right about us. Gift cards are available for the 2016 holiday gift-giving season. Learn more at Connect with us on Facebook and Twitter.

Canadian Positive Psychology Association
The Canadian Positive Psychology Association is a registered Canadian not-for-profit organization. The CPPA represents scholars and academics engaged in rigorous academic research in the field of positive psychology and works with practitioners to ensure a high standard in the application of positive psychology principles. Their membership in comprised of researchers, practitioners, teachers, clinicians, coaches, professionals, students and members of the general public. The International Positive Psychology Association proudly supports the Canadian Association. Learn more at

For more information on Redwing Institute’s programs or to book an interview please contact, Telephone: 416-894-9622.