This list is full of unique experience gift ideas for anyone and everyone on your shopping list. Give them a memorable, amazing experience this year!
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As you’re shopping for Christmas gifts this holiday season, consider giving the gift of experience of instead of physical gifts. I think these are some of the best gifts!
Our minds typically go straight to physical items but experience gifts are a great alternative. It’s nice to know you’re not adding to someone’s clutter and they’re a great option for those hard-to-buy-for people who don’t really need anything.
I’m willing to bet that almost everyone on your shopping list probably has plenty of things and doesn’t need more clutter. Kids have more than enough toys, that hard-to-buy-for person has a cabinet overflowing with coffee mugs, and your mom can only wear so many slippers.
Experience gifts are a fantastic way to give something the recipient will enjoy and are likely the gifts they will remember years from now. Whether you’re looking for a Christmas gifts, birthday gifts, or gifts for other special occasions, these ideas are a great way to give a clutter-free gift that they’ll apreciate.
These experience gift ideas are ideal gifts for the person who has everything and you’ll find a lot of ideas that work well as family experience gifts, too!
Looking for more gift ideas? Check out all of my gift guides for more inspiration!
Table Of Contents
I’ve included a LOT of experience gift ideas in this post and did my best to organize them into some categories. Use these quick links to jump to each section of this gift guide!
How To Wrap Experience Gifts
If you’re unsure about not having anything to wrap up and put under the tree for Christmas morning, no worries!
Here are a few ideas:
- If you have a physical gift card, gift certificate or tickets, wrap those up.
- Print out the confirmation email or e-ticket and wrap that
- Create your own letter or flyer that explains the gift (I’ve even seen downloads on Etsy for editable coupon/gift certificates)
- Write a simple note inside a card
- Give a related physical item along with the experience (a princess crown to go with Disney on Ice tickets, a bottle of wine to pair to the wine tasting gift certificate, fan apparel to go along with season tickets, etc.)
- Write the experience gift on a piece of paper and hide it inside a box of candy so they have to dig for it
- Write a riddle or clues that they have to solve to find out their gift
- Plan a scavenger hunt where the clues lead them to the final gift/gift certificate
- Make the unwrapping more fun by putting a note inside a small wrapped box and then wrap that box inside other larger boxes so they have to unwrap multiple boxes to reveal the gift
- Keep it a mystery and give them a save the date but don’t reveal all the details until that day
Those are just a few ideas to get your wheels turning, but hopefully you get the idea! Sometimes I think we feel like we need to give something physical to unwrap on Christmas morning so hopefully this helps. Remember that even a simple piece of paper can be wrapped in a larger box so don’t overthink it!
The Ultimate List Of Experience Gift Ideas
Special Events & Activity Gifts
Some of the best experiential gifts are giving them tickets to a special event or nearby attraction. Gift certificates to local businesses that provide services they’d enjoy is also a great idea!
- Pampering Gifts
- Spa Day
- Couples Massage
- Hair Blowout
- Quality Time – Plan an afternoon or day spent together doing something they enjoy, exploring somewhere nearby, doing an activity together, or going out to eat.
- Weekend Getaway – Gift lodging and tickets to get out of town for the weekend. Could be a good gift for a couple or even a whole family.
- Solo Hotel Stay – Any tired mom or dad would LOVE permission to get away for a night and have some time to themselves. Might be a good idea for your spouse!
- Camping Trip
- Movie Tickets
- Arcade Tickets
- Gift Card To A Favorite Local Restaurant – David and I always ask our parents for these and we save them for date nights!
- Gift Card For A Favorite Ice Cream Shop – This would be a great gift idea for an entire family to cover a few visits to get ice cream.
- Tickets To A Special Event – Here are a few ideas:
- Concert Tickets
- Local Festivals
- County and State Fairs
- Disney on Ice
- Theater Performances
- Comedy Shows
- Tickets To Their Favorite Sporting Event
- Beer/ Wine Tasting – Check into options offered by local wineries for tastings, beer flights, tours, and other packages.
- Admission to Amusement Parks, Theme Parks and Water Park – Pre-Planned Date Nights – Take care of all of the planning for an awesome date night or plan a year of dates! You can wrap up the necessary gift certificates with an itinerary. And bonus points if you arrange for babysitting, too!
- The Adventure Challenge Book – This is a book of scratch-off dates! The idea is that the dates are surprises and you can scratch one off whenever you’re ready for a date. It looks really fun!
- Astrology Reading
- A Guided Tour – Could be a local tour of a historical landmark, food tours, a walking or boat tour of a local area, something outdoorsy, etc.
- Book A Personal Stylist or Color Consultation
- A Stay At Great Wolf Lodge – This is a great option for families with younger children.
- Take Them On A Picnic
- Hire A Personal Chef For A Night
- Gift An Experience During Their Upcoming Vacation – If they have a vacation coming up, pay for admission/tickets to do something special while there.
- A Virtual Tour – Make an activity out of “taking” them on a virtual tour of a place they’ve always wanted to visit or somewhere special they traveled to years ago. You can do something as simple as siteseeing via Youtube or look for a museum, zoo, or attraction that offers free virtual tours on their website. This is a great option for grandparents! You could even combine a tour of the Louvre with a French themed dinner after.
- Rent A Pool For The Day – Have you heard of Swimply? It’s like Airbnb but for pools! Look for someone in your city who rents out their backyard pool and book a pool day for your family.
- An Afternoon Tea – See if there’s a place in your area that has fancy tea events! I went to one in London that was a cool experience and when I was young, my cousins and I had a really fun tea party at a local place where we even got to dress up in fancy dresses and jewelry!
- Tickets For Fun Adventures and Activities (Groupon is a great place to look for these types of experiences!):
- Escape Room
- Top Golf/Driving Range
- Rock Climbing
- Boat Rental
- Ice Skating
- Shooting Range
- Axe Throwing
- Laser Tag
- Horseback Riding
- Hot Air Balloon Ride
- Sky Diving
- Trampoline Park
- Movie Theater
- Wine & Paint Night
- Pottery Painting
- Arts & Crafts Workshop
- Ninja Obstacle Course
- Botanical Gardens
- Mini Golf
- Train Ride
- Dance Lessons
The Gift Of Time
One gift that anyone will appreciate is the gift of time. Whether you’re hiring a professional service for them or volunteering your own time, these make some of the best gifts.
- House Cleaning
- Professional Organizer
- Landscaping/Lawn Care
- Dog Boarding/Walking
- Family Photo Session
- Interior Design
- Car Detailing
- TSA Precheck
- Create A Coupon Book
- Volunteer 5 Hours Of Your Time To Help With Anything They Need
- A Room Makeover
- A Helping Hand For Decluttering A Room
- Laundry Service
- Lawyer Fees To Have Their Will Done
- Hire A Handyman Help With A Home Improvement Project
- Snow Removal
Thoughtful & Personalized Gifts
Here are some ideas for gifts tailor-made for a family member, best friend, spouse, or your favorite person.
- A Thoughtful Letter of Poem
- A Jar Of Memories – This is a great group gift where everyone writes down memories on slips of paper and fills up a jar. Perfect idea for adult siblings to gift their parents or grandparents!
- A Slideshow of Memories
- A Tailor-Made Playlist – Channel your younger self and make them a mixed tape (or a Spotify playlist) or you can actually hire someone like Andi to curate a playlist for a specific person or occasion.
- A Custom Cocktail or Recipe – Wouldn’t it be fun to give someone a recipe tailor-made for them? Here’s one person I’m familiar with who creates custom cocktail recipes.
- Write and Perform/Record A Song
- Cameo Video Recording
- Make A Donation To A Cause Close To Their Heart
- Sponsor A Child
- Adopt An Animal
- Give Back Together – Set up a volunteer activity you can do together
Give them an annual membership that can be enjoyed all year round! There are membership ideas for everyone on your gift list and you can even gift a family pass to a whole family. And the best part about this gift is it’s potential to become an annual gift that you renew every year.
Did you know that many zoos, aquariums, museums, and science centers are part of the North American Reciprocal Museum Association? This means your local museum memberships can often get you into other museums for free!
For example, my parents gave us a family membership to the Des Moines zoo and science center also got us free admission into three differerent attractions during our family vacation to Kansas City. So the membership more than paid for itself and helped us save a lot of money on a family trip!
- Zoo or Aquarium
- Trampoline Park
- Swimming Pool
- Amusement Park
- Children’s Museum
- Science Center
- Performing Arts Theater
- Season Tickets To A Sports Team
- Indoor Playground
- Gym/Fitness Center
- National Park Pass – Did you know you can buy an annual pass that gets you into all the national parks for free?
- Pumpkin Patch
Classes & Lessons
A great alternative to material gifts is to gift them a class or lesson where they can learn a new skill.
This could be ongoing lessons for kids to learn a musical instrument, paying for your grandkids’ activities like dance or soccer, finding a cool one-day workshop they’d enjoy, or even gifting them online learning to pick up new skills.
- Cooking or Baking Classes
- Music Lessons
- Art Lessons
- Woodworking/DIY Class
- Acting Lessons
- Dance Class
- Kids’ Activity Fees – Dance, Gymnastics, Baseball, Soccer, etc.
- Swimming Lessons
- Exercise Classes – Yoga, Barre, Cycling
- Skillshare Classes
- Summer Camp For The Kids
- Private Coaching/Training
- Language Classes – Rosetta Stone
- Offer to Teach Them A Skill
- Gardening/Houseplant Workshop
- Surfing Lessons
For the person who has everything, a monthly subscription might be the perfect gift. Cover the cost of a subscription they already have or gift them a subscription to something they wouldn’t buy for themselves.
These gifts give them something to enjoy all year long, plus they can become an annual gift if you renew it for them every year.
- Kindle Unlimited
- Amazon Prime
- Streaming Service – Netflix, Disney+, Hulu, Youtube TV, etc.
- Meal Kit – HelloFresh, Blue Apron
- Food Subscription Box
- A Monthly Box Of Kid Activities – Kiwi Crates, Little Passports, etc.
- Lawn Care Subscription – We use Sunday!
- Car Wash Membership
- Magazine Subscription
- Local Produce Box/CSA Membership
- Coffee Subscription
- Book of the Month Club
Another wonderful way to avoid giving gifts that just become clutter is to focus on consumable gifts. Think of something that they would appreciate and can enjoy but that won’t just become more junk they have to manage. Here are a few ideas:
- Local Foods – Honey, Jelly, Beef Jerkey, etc.
- Gourmet Foods – Chocolates, Meat & Cheese, etc.
- Wine, Coffee, Tea, Cocktails
- Prepared Meals/Freezer Meals
- Baked Goods/Desserts
- Fruit Basket
- Themed Food Basket – Breakfast Supplies, Meat & Cheese, Spaghetti Night, Hot Cocoa, Movie Night Popcorn & Candy, Cocktail Ingredients, etc.
- Bath Salts/Bubble Bath
- Candles & Reed Diffusers
- Makeup & Skincare Products
- Perfume or Cologne
- Craft Kits & Activity Books
- A Gift Card For Gas
- A Box Of Snacks
Phew! That’s a huge list of gift ideas! I hope this got your wheels turning and inspires you to give someone a meaningful, memorable experience gift this year.
What did I miss? Comment with any other ideas you have and I will add them to the list!
Looking for more gift ideas? Check out all of my gift guides for more inspiration!
Have a fantastic day!