Think Outside the Gift Box: Gifts of Experiences


It happens every year, you find yourself stuck on what to get “that person.” You know, the one who already has everything? Or maybe it’s someone who is working on downsizing. Or maybe you’re just sick of giving another bracelet, another journal, another Starbucks gift card. 

experiencesIt’s time to think outside the gift box and look into the gift of experience. No, I’m not talking about offering wisdom and advice (save that for a lunch date), but giving someone the opportunity to enjoy something she loves, has always wanted to do, or just plain deserves. Personalized and thoughtful, the appreciation for this type of gift lasts long beyond the holidays. Bonus! Experiences make great last-minute gifts since you can almost always buy them online and even email them to the recipient. Here are a few holiday gift ideas for experiences that are sure to bring some yuletide cheer to the recipient! 

Class Pass
Perfect for those that love to try a variety of workouts, Class Pass allows you to take classes from a variety of local fitness studios (yoga, barre, strength training, and more) for a flat monthly rate. Think of it as a multi-gym membership! Class Pass allows you to gift one month or more of classes at

A DIYers dream! Choose from their super creative project menu with options from beginner to expert crafter, then get to work! Pinspiration provides all supplies, tools, project ideas, expert assistance… and libations! The DIY studio offers beer and wine to keep the creativity flowing! Order a gift card in any dollar amount at

Memberships to Local Attractions
Two of my favorite gifts after having kids were memberships to the Children’s Museum of Phoenix and The Phoenix Zoo. They were family experiences that we could enjoy together whenever we wanted for an entire year at no cost to us! Talk about a gift that keeps on giving! Most museums and other facilities offer special pricing on memberships during the holiday season, giving the purchaser the gift of savings. Check out your favorite attractions for membership deals and be sure to read my SMB post, 6 Local Memberships You Haven’t Thought Offor unique and fun ideas.

Cooking or Pastry Class
Know someone who wants to be the next Food Network star or that has always wanted to branch out from slow cooker and kid-friendly meals? Give them a recipe for culinary fun with the gift of cooking or pastry classes! Select local culinary schools are open to the public and offer instructional series. For those that might not have time to commit to a series of classes, workshops, like those at Sur La Table, are great for someone who’d like to explore their creative culinary side. A Sur La Table gift card can be used towards the purchase of classes. 

Wine and Paint Night
Give the gift of a unique night out… an art class for grown-ups… at a bar! Absolutely no artistic experience necessary! All art materials are provided and a seasoned instructor guides you through the process of creating your masterpiece while allowing plenty of time for socializing, eating, and drinking. Fun for a couple in need of a date night or a good friend who deserves a night away, painting event companies like Paint Nite and Vino & Canvas offer gift cards so the recipient can choose from several monthly events at popular local restaurants and bars. 

Personalized Hair Styling or Make-Up Application
Pressed for time and always doing things for others, many moms’ glam time has been comprised. Give her 45 minutes of (child-free) pampering with a hair styling or make-up session at a local beauty bar like Dry BarPrimp & Blow, or The Sparkle Bar. Fun to do before a big event, family photo session, or night out, each appointment is personalized to the individual’s style tastes, so she’ll leave looking like herself but refreshed and with a bit more volume in her hair and in her step. 

We’d love to hear your holiday gift ideas! What are your favorite experiences that you’ve given or received?