More people are gifting experiences this holiday season, experts say

MADISON, Wis (WMTV) - Retail experts say giving the gift of an experience is becoming increasingly popular. According to the National Retail Federation 2018-2019 Winter Consumer View , three in 10 consumers, and nearly half of millennials, gave the gift of an experience this past year and plan to do so again.

Joana Huibregtse, a mom of two young boys, said she knows time is precious, and that is why this year, she is focusing on different types of gifts for her two sons.

“Sometimes it is nice for them to have an appreciation for something that is not a toy, that is not a physical thing and make some memories in different ways,” she said.

On Wednesday, she and her two sons spent time at the Madison Children’s Museum, and said a membership there is usually on the list.

The director of marketing and communications for the Madison Children’s Museum said they sell hundreds of gift memberships this time of year.

“A children’s museum membership, you cannot lose it, you cannot break it and those are two of the things you can get for the holidays where that can happen,” he said.

While time at the museum exercises the mind, there are gift experiences that also keep kids moving. The owner of The Little Gym of McFarland, Tim King, said they offer classes that build confidence in each child through gymnastics, sports, dance and more.

“Before the age of three, they are developing at their own pace and this is a place where they can come and be themselves,” he said.
Whether it is a gift allowing learning or play, Huibregtse said you cannot replace time.

"Toys are dispensable. They break them and go ‘oh we can just get a new one’, or ‘I have another car or a Tonka truck’ or whatever and you can't really replace experiences,” she said.