Giving the Gift of Experience

We all have those people that are hard to buy gifts for.  Whether it is because they just buy themselves whatever they want or need, or because they are unwilling to give you any ideas, these family members (or close friends) can be especially difficult to shop for.  Instead of guessing and failing at a gift, why not give the gift of experience?

Give the gift of experience this holiday season. | clutter free Christmas | gift ideas |

Why give the gift of experience?

People are very particular when it comes to the things they buy.  If you are buying something that someone didn’t ask for, that thing may very well end up in a pile of junk in a closet somewhere in their house.  Some people will actually speak up, and return or exchange a gift for something that they would really want, but most people just politely accept the gift and never use it.  I’ve hunted for and bought, what I thought were, perfect gifts for people, and then never seen them wear or use the item that I lovingly picked out.

When you give the gift of experience, you’re not adding to the clutter in someone’s house.  If you know the person well that you’re buying for, the experience you give them could really enrich their lives and help them to create a lasting memory.  Not every experience needs to be life changing, though.  Sometimes a dinner out is the perfect gift for a couple that’s too busy to cook.

Here are some ideas for different types of experiences to give:

Experiences for the Outdoorsy Type

  • Lift tickets to a favorite ski resort
  • ski/snowboard lessons
  • hiring a rock climbing or ice climbing guide
  • tubing/rafting day
  • plan a hiking/camping trip

Experiences for a Foodie

  • gift certificate to a favorite restaurant
  • cooking/baking class
  • wine tasting day trip
  • subscription to Blue Apron or Hello Fresh

Experiences for a Movie Buff

  • Movie Pass subscription
  • gift card to favorite movie theater
  • membership/support for independent theater
  • tickets to film festival

Experiences for a Music Lover

  • tickets to see favorite band or artist
  • music festival tickets
  • music lessons
  • subscription to Spotify Premium
  • iTunes gift card

Experiences for a Fitness Fanatic

  • gym membership
  • Class Pass
  • register for running/biking/obstacle course race
  • swim lessons
  • pool membership/pass
  • hiring a coach

Other Ideas

  • museum pass
  • garden consultation
  • massage/spa treatment
  • horseback riding lesson
  • skydiving
  • craft lessons (sewing, knitting, spinning wool, felting, etc.)
  • woodworking class
  • hot air balloon tour
  • hunting trip
  • sailing lesson/trip

This list could go on and on.  The experience you give someone could have something to do with a hobby they already have, or it could be a completely new thing for them to try.

When giving the gift of experience, it’s okay if it’s something that the person has never tried, but you should probably steer clear of something that you know they have an aversion to or are afraid of (skydiving and rock climbing are probably not good choices for your friend who is afraid of heights).

Budget Considerations

Some experiences are more expensive than others.  (I’m looking at you, climbing guides.)

Once you know who you are giving the gift to, decide on how much you would like to spend.  You do not need to spend a lot of money to give someone an awesome experience.

If you have a skill or a hobby that you would like to share with someone, you could give them lessons yourself.  That way, you are giving a thoughtful gift, sharing an experience, and being thrifty at the same time!

Closing Thoughts

I love giving gifts, but I also enjoy receiving gifts.  There are a lot of people who choose not to exchange gifts with friends and family, to save the money and put it towards other financial goals.  I can understand and totally respect when people choose to do that, but that’s just not me.  Even when I am working towards paying off debt or saving for a large purchase (like we are right now), I still put aside a little each month for Christmas.

Some of my favorite gifts that I have given (and received) have been experiences.  Sometimes I gift experiences that I can enjoy with the recipient and create a shared memory.

Have you ever given the gift of experience?  If so, what was it?

Give the gift of experience this holiday season. | clutter free Christmas | gift ideas |

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  • I love these ideas!

    The best experience gifts I’ve ever given happened to be experiences for me, as well. I used to take each of my nephews out for the day on their birthdays, when they were small. I’ll never forgot the youngest one, who was about 6 at the time, when we left a movie theater in Manhattan. As we entered a taxi (he loved taxis) to go home, he said to the driver “Just go down Second Avenue and hang a left on 72nd Street.” Cracked me up.

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