Over the years, we’ve tried to place a significant emphasis on experiences over things. That’s not to say we don’t love gifting people presents for the holidays, but often our fondest memories are of the experiences we have as a family, rather than the gifts they receive. Take, for example, our holiday in South Africa last Christmas. The kids didn’t get a ton of presents. They received tablets for their present early, which aided in the 18-hour plane travel. Beyond that, however, it was all about the little things – and they loved it. They didn’t know any different. So, this year, I want to try and do the same! We’ve been thinking about this a while now, and we came up with a list of experience gifts for everyone on your list. Ready?
Experience Gifts for Kids
First and foremost, remember that experiences sometimes require things. Like camping, for example. Gifting an experience can mean gifting the right gear or the right tools to make something fun. Or, it could mean gifting someone something that enhances an experience you plan together. These are some of our favorites for the kids.
Trampoline Park Pass – If you’ve been to one of these, it’s like the ultimate amusement park for kids of all ages! Jump, play, dance, and scream – getting every possible wiggle out.
A Subscription to Highlights – This was the highlight (pun intended) of my childhood! It’s a fun, interactive, and entertaining magazine just for kids.
A Kids’ Cooking Club – Companies like Raddish offer monthly culinary cooking fun for kiddos who love spending time in the kitchen.
Zoo or Museum Pass – Buy a yearly or seasonal pass to a local museum or zoo, offering more time than ever to explore and experience a local attraction.
A Camping Trip – We are huge fans of camping, and the kids love the experience of being off the grid, setting up and sleeping in a tent, and roasting marshmallows.
Their Own Travel Gear – Okay, yes, this is less of an experience, but products like JetKids Bed Boxes let them carry (or ride on) their own luggage, furthering the excitement of travel as a whole.
Binoculars + Camera -My kids absolutely love being in the thick of it, and part of this involves taking pictures like mama or looking through the binoculars like daddy. It gets them up close and personal with the experience.
Sports Lessons or Clubs – This has been iffy this year, but swim lessons or ninja course lessons are always a hit with our littles.
Tickets for Travel – For kids, have the fun of a trip is getting there, whether it’s boat, train, plane, or anything in between. The flight is always a hit.
A One-on-One Parent Date – Let them pick the place, the menu, and all of it. Let it be their special day with you.
Experience Gift for Adults
For the adult that has everything, experiences make the perfect gift! Ryan and I find that, rather than adding another thing (especially before a big PCS), sometimes the best gifts are something we can do, or see, or experience together. All of these give the adults on your list that hands-on experience without adding an extra item to your belongings.
A Cooking Masterclass – This Alice Waters Masterclass offers an in-depth cooking experience that hinges on Ms. Waters’ farm-to-table movement that drove her brainchild, Chez Panisse.
A Virtual Mixology Class – Now through January, some of the best bartenders in the U.S. are offering a virtual signature cocktail class through Spirited Holidays.
An Annual National Park Pass – Gift the best experience ever – a national park pass that grants access to all 59 parks across the country operated by the National Park Service.
A Tasting Menu Meal – These restaurants tend to have smaller capacities (good for 2020) and offer a unique culinary journey, perfect for the couple. For example, we did a tasting menu at Belly of the Beast in Cape Town.
A City Scavenger Hunt – Companies like Let’s Roam offer a library of scavenger hunts across top U.S. cities. It’s a great way to explore and experience new things!
A Unique Overnight Stay – Love the luxury experience? Perhaps you prefer a rustic cabin? Gifting a unique overnight stay is an experience that someone will never forget.
Rosetta Stone – Whether preparing someone for a big trip or fulfilling a lifelong goal, a Rosetta Stone subscription offers unique access to greater cultural immersion.
Goat Yoga (or Cat Yoga?!) – These things are a hit lately, and they offer a unique twist on a traditional fitness course. Think of it like part petting zoo, part fitness.
A Daycation – Don’t have the time – or money – to drop on a lengthy resort stay? Places like ResortPass let you purchase day passes to high-end resorts and hotels.
A Massage or Spa Day – It’s the gift that keeps on giving, offering relaxation and rejuvenation as we head into a brand new year.
So, there you have it! We could add a hundred more to this list, but I think the easy lists are the best lists, and these are some of our favorite go-to experience gifts for the whole family!
Tell me – do you ever do “experience” sort of gifts for the people on your list?