Researchers have discovered the components of a perfect gift and they are all to do with actions rather than physical goods!
Gifts that involve the recipient in an action or event are talked about more than when a gift is just a possession; being able to talk about the gift helps give the recipient an extra bonus to the present which in turn makes it more memorable and pleasurable.
Cornell University’s Amit Kumar chaired a symposium titled ‘ON DOING AND HAVING’ and updated, by way of empirical data, the work Professor Thomas Gilovich’s previous research that showed that buying experiences brings people more happiness than material purchases.
The research has shown that gifts which involve the recipient in an experience (an Adrenaline challenge or a Romantic Holiday for example) bring more happiness than a purely material purchase (e.g. a commemorative gift or flat-screen television).
One potential explanation of this difference, recent research suggests, is that experiences can prompt storytelling more than mere possessions. The telling of stories has long been seen as a pleasurable experience and facilitate the re-living of the actual event in question; telling stories encourage embellishment, and they foster greater social connection all of which assist to enhance enjoyment of the original gift.
Researcher’s further studies demonstrated that people are more inclined to talk about their experiences than their material purchases and they derive more happiness from doing so. They also confirmed that taking away the ability to talk about experiences (but not the material goods) could diminish the enjoyment they bring.
In one test participants were told they may keep one gift, either the most significant purchase but without being able to talk about it or the second most important purchase and were allowed to talk about it. Those taking part that recalled experiences were more likely to choose a less significant purchase they could still talk about compared to those who just recalled buying physical gifts.
So what does all this mean? well one point that sprung to mind was that you can be more frugal with a gift that involves an experience as the enjoyment and happiness derived gives you more bang for your buck!
I must admit sitting thinking about gifts I have been given I can easy recount those that involved an experience and although can remember great physical gifts I received I struggle more to recall them. What do you think are gifts you participate in better, let us know?
Q. Hi, I’m doing a research on the wedding anniversary symbols. What I’m really looking for is what each material means. Do they represent something in each year? Please email me back if you have any information about the subject, or where I can find this kind of information. Thank you.
A. The meanings that each material may have when they represent a Wedding Anniversary have been lost over time, our research has not shown any reasoning given against the relevant years although we do continue to investigate further.
We know the original Golden Wedding and Silver Wedding are named as they were celebrated initially with the Wife being presented with a Silver or Gold garland/ wreath (depending on the celebration) by the Husband hence they became known by these materials. These materials were chosen as they were high status cherished emblems of success.
Other years are a little more difficult to fathom, for example the first anniversary is popularly accepted as having paper associated with it, for many decades and still in some European countries the first anniversary is considered to have Cotton associated with it. There has been a number of varying, often conflicting, hypothesis as to why these materials are chosen yet very few of these theories are substantiated with facts.
We do continue to investigate the history of the materials and update our history web pages here with our latest research.
Anniversaries have been celebrated effectively since the year after the wedding ceremony was invented and references can be found in records stretching back centuries.
Nicholas Nickleby by Charles Dickens cites a celebration for an 8th wedding Anniversary in Chapter 14 (June 1838) highlighting the fact that not only were the major jubliees celebrated but also the other years.
The earliest reference in printed form we have found to a Wedding Anniversary having a symbol associated with it is from The Morning Chronicle Issue No 17572 published in 1825 this refers to Karl August the Grand Duke of the Saxe-Weimar-Eisenach region and his wife Louise of Hesse-Darmstadt who had married on 3rd October 1775 and celebrated 50 years of marriage in 1825.
The earliest reference to the Silver Wedding we have found is in The Era first published on Sunday 29th December 1839.
Our favourite reference is from The Belfast Newsletters Issue No.11797 originally printed 27th October 1852; and recounts the writer finding a Golden Wedding celebration ongoing whislt he walked the streets of a German town.
We’ve been continuing our investigations into what each Wedding Anniversary is called and why, we’ve noticed that Wikipedia have an entry stating that the 80th Anniversary is the Oak Anniversary.
Now we’ve got to say this just seems to be wrong! You’ve been married 80 years, you’ve celebrated your Silver, Golden, Ruby and Diamond Anniversaries and the next Anniversary you’ve to look forward to is Oak, sorry I don’t agree.
We’ve been looking into the references that they mention and it is basically one website (OK it’s the Royal Website) but it is just one site that mentions Oak and when it does it is almost a throw away comment so again Wikipedia has very shaky references.
We emailed the editor of the Royal Web site to see if they could provide further evidence of how and why they believe the Anniversary should be called the Oak Anniversary. They’ve not come back to us yet and that was over a month ago so I suspect we will not get a response until they read a post like this!
So should being married for 80 years be associated with Oak, personally I don’t think so, if anything such a celebration should be given a symbol that has more gravitas.
Our personal favourite is Palladium
Why is this our favourite, well its quite easy really; Palladium is one of the newest precious metals known, given that we now live longer and people are more likely to live long enough to celebrate their 80th Anniversary then these are effectively new events and hence the two match each other well on this fact. Palladium is also relatively rare such as 80th Anniversaries are and hence again they naturally match each other.
Who knows as we all live longer there may be a call to give the 90th Anniversary a name perhaps by then we could use Unobtainium as the symbol!
What do you think, should we use Palladium as the symbol for the 80th Anniversary? Leave a comment to join in the conversation.