A new “experiential” gift bazaar held in San Francisco last week tapped into research findings that experiences, rather than material objects, increase a person’s happiness. Once basic needs are met, say psychologists, most people derive more lasting pleasure from taking a baking class than from receiving a cake, for example.
Although green groups have yet to seize upon the idea, experiential gifts can also benefit the planet.
The experiential presents featured at the “A Curious Affair” event included everything from dance and book-making classes to butchering and wine tasting workshops. While bazaar shoppers primarily wanted to buy and give great gifts, many of the experiences they purchased were full of sustainable virtues.
The classes, certificates, and tours they bought generally had a small carbon footprint (getting yourself to a class rather than a product to you), focused on performing arts or making food and crafts from scratch, and fostered community.
This seems like a great addition to the current green gift fare, which typically is limited to environmental campaign contributions or eco-friendly gadgets or products.