Are experiences greener than traditional gifts? 72% of Canadians say yes.

Gold gifts

Chances are, you’ve read an article or heard it said that experiences make people happier than things. More and more people seem to be talking about the benefits of decluttering or accumulating memories instead of possessions. Articles like Buy experiences, not things (The Atlantic, 2014), The science of why you should spend your money on experiences, not things (Fast Company, 2015), or The secret to happiness? Spend money on experiences, not things (Forbes, 2016) are just a few examples of this trend of valuing experiences over stuff.

At Bullfrog Power, we wanted to know if this trend was real and if Canadians think of experiences as a greener alternative to possessions. To find out, we worked with Environics Research to conduct the 2016 Bullfrog Power Holiday Survey, asking 1,611 adults across Canada what they think about receiving experiences instead of traditional gifts this holiday season.

According to our results, nearly half of Canadians (46%) prefer to receive an experiential gift, like a yoga membership, private wine tasting or salon gift certificate, over more traditional tangible items. All ages say they prefer to receive an experience, with the option being more popular with women (52%) than men (40%).

As an environmental company, we wanted to know if Canadians think of an experience as a greener or more environmentally-conscious choice than a traditional gift. The results are in: almost three-quarters of Canadians (72%) consider an experiential present to be more environmentally-conscious than a traditional material gift.

But not all experiences are necessarily green. Whether it’s a night out at a local restaurant or a trip to a warmer climate, it’s important to consider the true environmental impact of an experiential gift. Air travel has a significant carbon footprint. A trip to a restaurant can be a more environmentally conscious option by choosing a location that has committed to providing sustainable options.

Want some green gift ideas? Use our Green Directory to search listings from our bullfrogpowered community of businesses. Or, consider some of the following options: