What gift should you give this christmas: a product or a service? The debate.

The way we give gifts is constantly changing, and long gone are the days of everyone giving and receiving physical goods wrapped up on Christmas day. Instead of products, many of us now prefer to give, and indeed receive, services as gifts, services that may be more useful and desired than a product that we might not really need. But is this really how we are going to end up? In 10 years, will the tradition of unwrapping gifts and filling up the Christmas tree be long forgotten? There is a constant debate on whether it is better to give products or services as gifts during the festive period, so let’s look at the pros and cons of each type of present.

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Services that are often given as Christmas gifts include things such as experience days and holidays. These kinds of gifts are getting increasingly popular, as people are starting to value experiences more than actual things. Some may say that giving a service like this as a gift is lazy or that it is something that does not last like a physical product, and that it is something the recipient will forget about. These people are highly mistaken, however, as it is more likely that the recipient will remember and cherish fond memories of a holiday or service received, and that they will likely hold it as having much higher value than a product.

It is important to remember that while a product may be enjoyed in the moment, people are always buying new things and with technology and social media, they have increasingly short attention spans and are quick to move onto the next thing. With these experience days and gift packages that involve actually doing something they love or receiving some kind of service, however, they will create memories to last a lifetime and take photos to ensure the memory never fades. Well, for their Facebook friends and Instagram followers, at least! Then, when they are looking back on their memories and going through old photos, they will be reminded of you, the gift giver.

Yes. Many of us are quite selfish when it comes to gift giving and like to be acknowledged and remember, or rather, associated with the said gift. Perhaps there is a more immediate connection when it comes to physical products (“where did you get that from, it’s so cool! “…”oh, so and so gave it to me. I know right? What a thoughtful gift!” etc, etc), but that is not to say that the person won’t remember you during and way after receiving a service gift, too. Anyway, gift giving is all about them, right? So, stop thinking of you, guys!

On the subject of unwrapping, a service gift doesn’t necessary have to take away the illusion from a person when it comes to Christmas day. These days, there are tons of physical packages you can buy that include experiences, dinners, spa days, hotel weekends and other such unique days out, which come in the form of a well-presented gift box that contains a book full of different activities from which the recipient can choose exactly what they are going to do with their gift. This means that they still have something to unwrap and you aren’t just giving them a shabby piece of paper with an IOU on it. Another pro for the services!

The cons of buying products are it can be difficult to know what a person really wants and needs, what they already have, their exact size – and if it changes, you know, this is the festive season, after all – and tastes. Sure, products can be changed with a gift receipt, but that kind of hurts and gets rid of all the illusion, right?

We say, stick with the modern trends and don’t doubt that a service gift is going to be incredibly well received. People are quick to buy themselves products, but they are more hesitant to pay for services and to justify going on holiday or treating themselves to an experience like a spa, massage or night in a hotel. This is the way forward, and it certainly isn’t a beginning to the end of traditional gift giving.