Rethink The Season: Give Experiences Instead of Gifts
Between the minimalism movement and adopting more eco-conscious habits, isn’t it about time we stopped the holiday shopping altogether? It’s more than likely that most people on your list do not need more things and would love a thoughtful experience. So, instead of going from shop to shop (online or IRL) to check people off your list this year, opt for experiential gifts that will create long-lasting memories.
These gifts don’t need to be wrapped nor dragged through plane, train and subway to get to the recipient. The best part? Giving the gift of an experience means that you can join your loved ones. After all, the time spent together is the real gift.
Here are some of our favorite experiences to give:
1. Museum Membership
A year membership to a local museum is truly the gift that keeps on giving. Many museums give members a plus-one for all visits, so your giftee will never have to take in a new exhibit solo. Plus, exhibits and offerings are always changing, so they’ll see and learn something different with every visit.
Chicago’s Adler Planetarium offers a yearly membership for one person at $60 and $110 for two.
2. Lift Tickets
No matter how you feel about the cold, skiing and snowboarding are great ways to increase the fun times spent outdoors in winter climates. This gift will certainly lift the spirits of your mountain-loving friends or family members. Help them get out into the fresh air and enjoy the thrill of what a black diamond trail has to offer!
Near San Francisco, Lake Tahoe is home to a host of ski mountains, as are the White Mountains of New Hampshire. Check out the site Liftopia for options across the country, no matter where your loved ones live!
3. Spa Treatment
Going to the spa is good for both the mind and body, but we’re often so hesitant to indulge ourselves. Give a gift card for a local spa to the person you know who’s most in need of pampering and encourage them to make a day of it. Not near their spa of choice? Use Spa Finder to purchase a universal gift card.
4. Tour and Tasting at a Brewery
A guided tasting at a local craft brewery (or cidery, or winery) is a great way to learn more about the process, product and people who brew your beer. Some tasting rooms offer behind-the-scenes tours or teach you how to pair flights with foods like cheese or chocolates. By the time the next holiday season rolls around, your recipient will be able to impress fellow party guests with their newfound knowledge and know how to pick the perfect six-pack to bring for a host or hostess gift.
Portland, Maine’s Allagash Brewery offers the Deep Dive Tour, which takes beer lovers to nearly all corners of the brewery for $25. If you’d rather spend more time studying a city’s beer scene, the team at City Brew Tours offers curated whole-day experiences where you can tour several breweries with a guide.
5. Food Tours
Foodies will love the ability to sample from a city’s finest offerings and learn about local culture, flavor and history on a walking food tour. Some tours highlight restaurants in certain neighborhoods while others focus on specific foods. What better way to explore a new city, or even your own neighborhood, then tasting your way around! You can give the gift of a tour through New York’s Little Italy or a donut tour of Seattle, Philadelphia, Chicago, or Portland, Oregon.
6. Art Classes
Art classes are two gifts in one: the recipient learns a new skill and has a work of art to display at the end. Whether it is painting, pottery, or candle pouring, whichever activity strikes your fancy you are sure to find something nearby. Better yet, set up a night for your group of friends to go together – bonus tip: ask for a group discount on entry fees. Check out local shops like Toronto Potters and Jewelry Class DC, or Yaymaker for options across the country.
7. Zipcar Membership
The holidays are a classic time to see commercials of cars wrapped in big red ribbons and excitement over a new set of wheels in the driveway. But how about gifting a Zipcar Membership that gives you access to a variety of vehicles and doesn’t come with all the costs and hassles of car ownership? By gifting a personal car, you’re also handing over a constant bill for gas, maintenance, and insurance, not to mention city parking fees and taxes. With Zipcar, those on-going expenses are covered.