experience gifts: ideas for the next time you shop

38 Unique Experience Gifts to Consider The Next Time You Shop for Someone

At any given point in a year, you may need to buy gifts for someone in your life. When it comes to the gifts you choose, consider a different type of gift-giving: experience gifts.

Instead of buying another handbag, or another video game for your loved one, try to buy them an experience.

What Are Experience Gifts

Experience gifts include doing an activity or learning a new skill. Experience gifts are not necessarily something you can hold on to or place on a shelf. In contrast, traditional gifts are tangible items.

Experience gifts can be done at home or include an adventure far away. The idea of giving experiences is to allow someone to try something new and maybe push the boundaries of their comfort zone.

Why Experience Gifts

Experiences teach us things and help us make memories that last longer than the gift itself. These are unique ways to spend time with people, learn or try something new and give yourself stories to talk about later.

There is plenty of data that suggests that spending money on experiences versus things brings us more happiness. While a lot of these suggestions require purchasing some item or another, it is for the purpose of the experience (versus a handbag that will sit in your closet and may or may not get used).

Experience gifts also bring thoughtfulness to your present that otherwise may not come through. Thinking about someone and what they like to do or want to do and then gifting it can speak volumes.

Nowadays with so much emphasis on material goods, experiences can provide a new way to experience life and all that it has to offer.

Who Can Receive Experience Gifts

The answer is anyone. Experience gifts should be considered for the adults in your life and the kids. Teaching the next generation that experiences are more important than things is imperative.

It’s also important to remind our generation of the importance of creating memories over collecting items.

Experience Gift Ideas For Him Or Her

These ideas cover a large range of items that you could consider for your friends and family. Any of these could work throughout the year, on birthdays, Valentine’s Day, Christmas, Hanukkah, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, and so on. These experiences could also be fun date ideas, if not gifts. 

If nothing else, hopefully, this list gives you some gift ideas to work with so that you can purchase an experience gift that is unique to the recipient!

Adventure Experiences

For the travel junkie or adrenaline junkie in your life, consider these:

  1. Purchase a national parks federal recreational lands annual pass
  2. Scuba diving lessons ( I got certified in Belize – a fantastic place to do it!)
  3. Sky Diving or Bungee jumping (consider indoor skydiving as well)
  4. Parasailing, paragliding, or hang-gliding
  5. Snorkeling
  6. Theme park passes
  7. Hot air ballooning
  8. Ziplining
  9. Glamping – can purchase a weekend air BnB or get them the supplies.
  10. Attend a festival – this can be music, beer (Oktoberfest!), or movie festivals.
  11. Horseback riding lessons
  12. Ski Lessons
  13. Boating or sailing experiences, Kayaking
  14. Sports lessons (tennis, golf, etc.)
  15. Racecar driving
  16. Flying lessons – learn how to fly a plane!
  17. White water rafting

Foodie & Drink experiences

Who doesn’t like to eat? (I sure do). For the foodie in your life, consider these experience gift ideas:

  1. Money or a gift certificate to be used towards a Michelin star restaurant
  2. Food tour – this can be local, or you can purchase one for their next trip.
  3. Winery tours or wine tastings
  4. Brewery tours and tastings
  5. Cooking classes – what better way to appreciate what you’re eating!
  6. Pay for a private chef to come and cook a meal for you in your own home.
  7. Meal subscriptions – you can use these to kickstart your cooking.
  8. Food subscriptions – meat and cheese clubs, international subscription boxes (Universal Yums sends you snacks from a different country each month)

In regards to drink experiences:

  1. Cocktail sets – as a way to encourage experimenting at home
  2. Beer brewing kit
  3. Winemaking kits
  4. World coffee sampler – check this one out here

Arts and Crafts Experiences

  1. Classes/lessons for painting, pottery, DIY, sewing, crocheting, knitting
  2. Flower arranging class
  3. Gardening or plant club memberships
  4. Photography class, and learning how to develop film
  5. Tickets to concerts, comedy clubs, theater shows

Fitness Experiences

  1. Gym/soul cycle memberships
  2. Classpass gift card or subscription
  3. Dance classes
  4. The Mirror – an at-home gym within a mirror

This list is the tip of the iceberg. Depending on where you live, the experiences available may change. When it comes to gift-giving, focus on the experiences you think your family or friends would enjoy and what they need or would benefit from.

If you’re unable to come up with a specific experience gift idea, then consider creating gift certificates for your loved ones. Have them tell you which experiences they are interested in and then you can pay for it or find a way to make it happen.

Yet another avenue to consider is an experience gift that you can participate in. In this scenario you can spend time with the person and experience the gift too!

Final Thoughts

Hopefully, these experience gifts and ideas come in handy the next time you go shopping for someone. Sometimes the most important thing isn’t how much you spend, or how fancy the present is, but what you get from the gift. 

Experience gifts can teach you, push you, give you memories, and give you quality time spent together with the people you care about.

Images courtesy of unsplash

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