Nov 7th, 2018

Gifts of the Season

The Science of Gift Giving

Garden Members having a good time making s'mores at GardenFest.

S’mores at the Kelleher Warming Fire are just one of the experiences your loved ones can have when you give the gift of garden membership. Image by Caroline Martin.

If you are like me, you are always looking for new ideas for gifts. So many of us already have too many things, more than we can use or store.  And sometimes because of this, it’s hard to find a gift that will really make an impact on someone we love.  So, more and more, people are turning to experiences, rather than things, in their gift-giving.

It’s a good choice. Recent studies have shown that when you give an experience, you are more likely to build and strengthen the relationship. Experiential gifts show the person that you know them and want them to spend time doing the things they love (like surrounding themselves with bloomsPLAY-ing, enjoying live music,  standing in awe at the wonder of nature and the power of transformation, spending quality time with your kids or simply learning new things.)

Experiential Gifts

According to Science Daily, the reason experiential gifts are so memorable is that often they cause a strong emotional reaction during the experience. And, if you are buying for a young person, this advice is even more true. A study by Harris Group showed that 72 percent of millennials would prefer an experience over a material giftExperiences help form who you see yourself as and create lifelong memories that you visit in your mind again and again.

So, if you don’t need any more socks (one of my mother-in-law’s favorite gifts years ago), and you don’t need a new Christmas sweater, consider giving the gift of experiencing time in a beautiful place. Nature is healing. Time with family and friends outdoors is important.  And we’d be honored if you’d spend some of your quality time with us.

1. A Garden Membership

We think our Garden Members are pretty special. Garden Members get free unlimited daily admission to Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden. They could literally come to visit us every day! They also get free admission into Dominion Energy GardenFest of Lights on Members-Only Preview Weekend and Member Nights. You can buy a gift membership in person or online. Online is the best option if you procrastinate, like me. We have more member benefits than we can list here, so go check them out.

What you need to know:  December 17 at midnight is the last chance to order a gift membership and be sure that the recipient will receive their welcome package from the Garden with their membership card in the mail before Christmas.  After December 17, you can still purchase a gift of membership online and print out a gift certificate to give to your recipient.

2. A Gift Card

Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden gift card

Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden gift cards come in any denomination.

For years and years, we’ve had paper gift certificates that you could use at the Garden. But now we have real gift cards! (As you can see, they are quite beautiful.  Our gift cards can be used for many things. Yes, of course, they can be used in the Garden Shop, but they can also be used towards Garden Membership and  or regular daily admission. The gift cards come in any denomination and you can buy them at our admissions desk or in the Garden Shop.  Gift cards can also be ordered online and mailed directly to the recipient with a message!  You’ll need to order by Dec. 17  for us to have enough time to mail it to your loved one.

3. Tickets to GardenFest

Dominion Energy GardenFest of Lights is a holiday tradition for many families. It’s also the perfect place for a date. Or to get engaged. Or to get your family out of the house so they don’t all drive each other crazy. Trust me. This is a good gift. And with the awe and wonder of over one million lights this year, you’ll have an experience you won’t forget. Tickets are on sale now. Please note that this year, due to COVID, you’ll need to buy them in advance online and choose your 30-minute arrival time.

You may even wish to give an experience that you can share with your loved one. Because when you ask your loved ones what they want most in the world, many of them will say, “More quality time with you!”

Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden Gift Membership

Studies show that experiential gifts provide greater satisfaction than material gifts.

Updated: 10.4.21

Jonah Holland is Digital Content Manager at Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden, where she has worked for 14 years overseeing social media, the blog, and the website. She is also a mom, yogi, open water swimmer, gardener, and seeker. She's been known to go for a walk in the Garden and come back with hundreds of plant photos, completely inspired to write her next blog post.

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