Four Elements Of Experiences That Make Great Gifts — Improv Has Them All

3 min readDec 23, 2022

“The purpose of life is to discover your gift.
The work of life is to develop it.
The meaning of life is to give your gift.”
Dr. David Viscott

The season of the gift exchange is upon us. We search for the ideal present to light someone up. We stock Amazon wish lists, stuff stockings, and celebrate eight miraculous nights of Hannukah. But some interesting research shows that the intangible gifts involving shared experiences are not only increasingly popular, but actually foster stronger relationship ties than material gifts. When both giver and receiver are engaged in a positive, shared adventure, the gift has the potential to deepen the social bond and generate lasting memories.

One study identified the “4 S’s” of experience-giving:

  1. Surprise- the experience reveals something unexpected and new;
  2. Suspense-there is uncertainty and elements of the unknown involved;
  3. Sacrifice-the giver offers their own time and engagement;
  4. Sharing- the giver is fully engaged in the experience with the receiver;

Interestingly these 4 elements are part of almost any experience in the category of “fun” — and fun is something we all need to have as much as possible in this crazy world. Comedy —…




LCSW, CGP, CPAI, writer/performer, storyteller, storytelling coach. Improviser on team AURA at Magnet Theater in NYC. Storytelling coach for individuals & orgs