As Valentine’s day draws near, people are exposed to a barrage of advertisements featuring flowers, chocolates, and romantic, candle-lit dinners. Images of happy couples holding a bouquet of roses or sitting across each other in an expensive-looking restaurant become commonplace.
For many, though, the experience of romance is not limited to heart-shaped treats or red-and-pink trinkets. Sometimes, the best gift cannot be wrapped or contained in a box: it is experienced. This February, forego the usual three-course dinner and shiny new jewelry. Take your partner somewhere fun and unforgettable, like a rodeo.
The Rise of Experiential Gifts
There’s serious research to back up the claim that your partner would love a day watching horses rather than receiving material gifts. MarketWatch, an online business resources, reports that three out of four workers say they’d rather share an activity than exchange gifts.
It’s sad to say, too, that many material purchases lose their appeal over time. Cornell University found that customer satisfaction from a purchase plummets quickly. This explains why your officemates always want to upgrade to the new iPhone, or why a kid loses interest in a toy within weeks, if not days.
The joy from a happy and unique rodeo experience, on the other hand, lives on as a sweet memory.
It’s the Thought that Counts
In the realm of presents, it’s always the thought that counts, whether the gift was material or experiential. Your partner will surely appreciate whatever you prepared for him or her.
The danger, however, is that you might rely too much on this mantra. This concept shouldn’t be an excuse to give lackluster presents! If you set your sights on an experiential gift, go for something one-of-a-kind. Save the amusement parks and movies for normal weekends. On Valentine’s, put on your cowboy boots and take her to a rodeo!
You’ll spend the day with lovely horses and bulls and learn more about team roping, steer wrestling, barrel racing, bull riding, and many other sports you don’t always get to see.
Not to mention your date will love the food. Munch on bacon cheeseburgers, mac and cheese, huge pizza slices, corndogs, and more. On a diet? Well, tell him or her that’s it’s a well-deserved cheat day!
Dress for the Occasion
No, your everyday clothes won’t work. Neither will your special occasions shirts.
If you’re going to a rodeo, boots and cowboy hats are the only way to go. Before Valentine’s, take your partner shopping for boots, men’s and women’s straw cowboy hats, and boot-cut jeans.
Planning a surprise date? Just tell your partner what to wear, without giving it away. Something along the lines of “just wear jeans and nice boots.” You’ll have to bring a cowboy hat for him or her.
Gift-giving is a Valentine tradition, but it won’t hurt to try something new this year. After all, your partner has accumulated many curious items in the name of this tradition, and you’re not sure whether they’ll be used at all.
An experience, on the other hand, is priceless and will stay with him or her forever. Also, it’ll make for interesting water cooler conversations — much more engaging than the last year’s flowers-and-chocolates story.