Back to articles

12 ways to gift an experience


On the first day of Christmas my true love gave to me…an experience filled with memories!  

The holidays are just around the corner and it’s time to sort out gifts for family and friends. Think outside the meticulously wrapped Christmas box and consider giving an experience instead of a traditional gift.  

Experiences are truly thoughtful and will show those you love how much you care. Time is a valuable asset these days. Let your closest family and friends know how much you value them by spending time with them or giving them time for themselves. Does your friend need another sweater, scarf or video game? Do the kids need another toy that they’ll play with for a month and then discard? Maybe. If you know they’ll love those gifts and will get use out of them, that’s great! However, if you’re stuck for ideas or want to explore options beyond the traditional holiday gift fare, here are 12 ways you can gift an experience: 

Twelve Classes Learning – Has your loved one casually mentioned they’d like to acquire a new skill? Invest in their interests by gifting classes to help them learn or develop a budding hobby. Photography, knitting, sewing, painting, cooking, auto repair or even a specific type of exercise such as Pilates, CrossFit or spin will help them expand their passions. 

Eleven Staycations Relaxing – Perfect for the perpetually busy folks who never get to discover their own backyards. Propose a vacation day spent locally and plan a scenic hike, visit a regional park or historical site in your area. Pack a picnic and embark on your incredibly affordable personal staycation! 

Ten Books a-Reading – There are so many adventures to be had and characters to meet in a good book. This is another very affordable way to gift an experience. Pair a gripping novel with a coffee shop gift card and set the mood to dive into whatever adventure lives inside those pages. 

Nine Spa Days Rejuvenating – Self-care is so important, but is often neglected. A year of stress has built up and is weighing on the hearts of loved ones. Show them you care about their mind, body and spirit with a spa day. They’ll get pampered with a full day of relaxation and come out feeling refreshed and appreciated.   

Eight Bikes a-Riding – The family that rides together, stays fit and enjoys time together. Get a set of bikes for the entire family and explore local bike paths and outings as a group. Bikes are a long-lasting gift with the opportunity for use every day. Don’t forget the safety equipment like helmets and reflectors! 

Seven Tents a-Camping – Breathe fresh air and marvel at the beautiful stars on camping trips together. Share stories around the camp fire, make some s’mores and hike together the next morning. This is an outstanding way to learn about nature and connect with loved ones. 

Six Family Days a-Bonding – It’s easy to get wrapped up in the day-to-day routine of life. Plan a family day doing only engaging activities the entire family enjoys. No grocery shopping. No errands. The activities don’t have to cost any money; the present is being present! Play a board game, go for a family hike or plan an at-home movie marathon. 

Five Volunteer Opportunities – This is particularly impactful for children and an experience they’ll always remember. Volunteering is a way to give back to the community, help others and appreciate the blessings in life. Sign up for a specific nonprofit organization that speaks to something close to your heart. Expand this to participation all year long, as many nonprofits see a spike near the holidays and are left under-staffed the rest of the year. 

Four Thoughtful Tickets – Attend the theater, a concert, an amusement park, a museum or other venue together! This gift is sure to be a hit with anyone who loves the arts. Many museums have free entry days, so check their calendars and this could be a low-cost way to share a special day. 

Three Escape Rooms – Teamwork is where it’s at! Gather friends and family for an experience that’s unique. Work your brains and solve puzzles and clues to make it out of the escape room in time. Make this especially significant by finding an escape room with a theme you’ll all appreciate. 

Two Date Nights – Movie tickets and a restaurant gift card could be greatly appreciated by any couple needing a night out on the town. Or, simply offer to babysit for a couple that has young children. They’ll love some time alone and babysitting only costs you time spent with the kids! 

One Amazing Adventure – Travel is always a magnificent way to gift an experience. If you have the means, planning a trip will most likely out-shine any material gifts you had planned. Even a one or two-day excursion will create memories that will last a lifetime.  

The holidays are almost here and it’s time to make your gift list! When reviewing what you’re gifting people this year, consider swapping out traditional presents for experiences. Plan an outing that shows you really care and spend time with those you love. Time is the most valuable thing to give, so make sure you give it openly this year.