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Gift Guide | 5 Experience Gifts

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five experience gift ideas

five experience gift ideasSometimes more stuff just doesn’t seem right when it comes to gift giving. These are the times when I usually end up feeling stuck. But it doesn’t have to be that hard.

When you get all frustrated thinking about what the person who has everything could possibly need, change gears and think about something they might want to do.

1. Crafty class or party

If there’s someone on your list who is an ardent DIYer or someone looking for a hobby to help them unwind, gifting them lessons to something they’re interested in is a great way to support their passion.

Craftsy offers online classes in everything from Knitting and Jewelry Making to Fine Art and Cooking. You can take classes at your own pace whenever you have the free time—and they never expire. Better yet, if you’re not sure exactly which class would be best for the person you have in mind, you can gift any class so that they can choose for themselves. They even have some free classes, if you want to check it out for yourself first to see if you think online classes would be a good fit.

If you think they’d be better to suited to hands-on learning with a teacher in the room with them, Michaels offers many of the same sorts of classes. You can search the schedule of their local store and register for the classes online.

Another fun idea is gifting them a spot at a craft party. There are plenty of booze and paint parties popping up all over the place (like this one in NYC or this one in DC), you just have to do a little poking around to see if there are any options in your area.

Experience gifts: Brooklyn Lights and Cannoli Tour

2. Fun tour of a place they think they know well

Instead of gifting movie tickets or a gift card to a tried and true restaurant (which, in my opinion, are still awesome gifts), why not give the gift of seeing a place your recipient knows so well in an entirely new light?

I’m talking about a Christmas Lights and Cannoli Tour, a Knitting Crawl Walkabout, a New York Food Cart Walking Tour or a New Orleans Ghost Tour. These types of little adventures are all over the spectrum in terms of cost, so you should be able to find something that fits your budget. Checks sites like Zerve, Cloud 9 Living, and Xperience Days for cool experiences in your area.

3. Adventure tours or lessons

If there’s a real thrill seeker on your list, a book about racing or flying might be a little underwhelming. Why not try to get them in on the action instead? While this can get expensive, I found plenty of options under a hundred dollars. Something as extreme as being a fighter pilot for a day will set you back about $1400, but you can do a two-hour zipline tour of Hilton Head for $69 or go indoor skydiving in San Francisco for $60. The options are there, you just have to get creative!

4. Your time

Experience gifts don’t have to be extravagant or expensive, either. If you’re short on money, offering your time can be just as good as long as you get a little creative. Offer free babysitting for new parents so they can get a solid date night (or two!) in. Take your favorite kid on a day-long adventure in a new place (bonus points for a scavenger hunt). Teach your best friend how to knit.

There are so many different things you could volunteer your time for, just make sure to remind the person you’re giving the gift to about your offer—I for one wouldn’t track you down and say, “Hey, remember how you said you’d do this for me? Well, now works!”

experience gifts: Surprise Ride box

5. Activity box subscriptions

I love this idea for kids. They absolutely love to get mail and there are so many great options out there. You can choose to send just one box or you can give the gift that keeps on giving and have them receive one every month!

We haven’t tried any of these out personally, but there are a few that I think my kids would love the crap out of:

  • Little Passports: Choose between a US and world edition and follow Sam and Sofia on their adventures. Kids learn about geography, culture, and history, get a ton of fun goodies and access to online games. (5-12 year olds, from $11.95/month)
  • Green Kid Crafts: A themed Discovery Box comes each month (ie Around the World Discovery, Backyard Science, or World Music), filled with 3-4 eco-friendly creativity kits plus a Green Kids! Activity Guide filled with activities like puzzles, mazes, brainteasers and crafts. (3-8 year olds, from $16.95/month)
  • Kiwi Crate: Each themed crate (which is tested by both child development experts and kids) is filled with hands-on fun—from art to science to games and more—plus access to additional online fun. (3-8 year olds, from $16.95/month)
  • Xplore BoX: Designed to engage kids in science, technology, engineering, and math, these boxes are full of hands-on kits and toys that allow kids to get into the thick of science. (7-12 year olds, from $26.95/month)
  • TogetherBox: Designed to make quality family time easier, the themed boxes come with 3-4 activities, experiments and games for the whole family to take part in together. (3-10 year olds, from $24/month)
  • Surprise Ride: Each month a box with a surprise theme (from art and science to food and geography) comes filled with hands-on activities. The boxes include all the supplies you need, a book, a snack, a booklet with lessons on the theme and more. (ages 6-11, from $24.99/month)

Lastly, this one isn’t a subscription box anymore, but BabbaCo is also worth checking out. Their activity boxes are themed and full of hands-on awesomeness (3-7 year olds, $29.99).

Can you guys think of any other experiential gifts you’d like to receive?

Jen is a freelance writer and girl mom from New York. When she’s not knee-deep in glittery crafts and girl talk, you can probably find her sprawled across her couch in the middle of a Netflix marathon with dark chocolate smeared on her face. The struggle is real.


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