Give the Gift of Experience

Paddle boarding at Beaches Negril Resort & Spa.

Part of me wants to be a grinch every time the holidays roll around. While I love, love, love cozying up to spend time with friends and family, I really hate that the holidays are usually a time for lots of excess. There are so many activities centered around “stuff” during this time, I thought I’d take a moment to share some of my favorite “experience” gifts instead.

1. America the Beautiful Pass $80
Gives access to more than 2,000 federal recreation sites. A pass covers entrance, standard amenity fees and day use fees for a driver and all passengers in a personal vehicle at per vehicle fee areas (or up to four adults at sites that charge per person). Children age 15 or under are admitted free.

2. Cloud 9 Living $50+
Local experiences ranging from flying a plane to sunset cruises available in 51 regions across the United States. I’ve still got my fingers crossed for a driving course (on a race track, ha!) or coastal cruise.

3. Zeel Massage on Demand $25+
Zeel is a massage on demand service that is currently available in 43 cities. You simply book with an app, and receive a same-day 5-star massage. I’m totally down for this one!

4. Travel and Tours
One experience I know that I’d absolutely love is travel or tours. There are plenty of airlines that offer gift certificates, and plenty of tour operators that are happy to facilitate a gift as well. For our honeymoon we received a generous giftcard that was meant to be enjoyed “on our honeymoon”, so we used it to book an aerial helicopter tour and go horseback riding. When my cousin got married, part of their registry was that you could purchase experiences for them to enjoy while on their honeymoon. I really loved the idea that I wasn’t gifting an item that will sit and collect dust or be donated later on.

5. Local Aquariums, Museums, Activities, and classes.
These will vary according to where you live, and you might have to do a little searching, but I feel like they’re one of the best gifts. We love the Monterey Bay Aquarium, and Søren takes classes at The Little Gym. There is a place in San Francisco called The Butterfly Joint that hosts woodworking classes or has open studio time.

Turks and Caicos Catamaran Cruise

Do you have any favorite “experiences” that you love to gift?

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Responses to “Give the Gift of Experience”

  1. We have gifted museum pass several times and it is such a treat. We have been gifted the same to go with the grandchildren for experiences and I can’t think of better gifts. I am glad your number one is The National Park Pass, such a great and really inexpensive experience gift.

  2. Experience gifts are seriously the best. The memories made last way longer than many gifts!

  3. i love this idea!! this year we are deciding on a trip together instead of exchanging gifts 🙂

  4. Tickets to see a movie is a great Christmas gift too. I would love to receive a travel tour as a Christmas gift.


  5. My boyfriend and I are always saying how experiences are so much more rich than material goods. Here’s to the next adventure!
    xx, Bri

  6. I love the idea of “gifting” an activity for a friend or family member who has a big trip planned. I’ve never thought to do that! Thanks for the creative suggestion and beautiful photography.

    xx, Erin

  7. Fab photos!! This is a great list, I usually try to give something small to my niece and nephew to open that day and then take them out for an activity.

  8. I could not agree more that experiences are far more of a great gift than any sort of material object! Thank you for the creative ideas!

    Shelbi |

  9. What a great idea! Experiences last a lot longer than any other gift. Plus you can share the experience on social media and inspire others to go out on adventures.

  10. These are brilliant gift ideas! I love the idea of gifting an experience, not just a thing. My husband has used a massage on demand app before – it’s crazy how convenient things are these days!!

  11. Courtney

    What a wonderful idea!! Definitely a gift they can love and enjoy much longer! #1 is my favorite, a gift I’d love to receive myself! Thanks for sharing!


  12. What a great idea, and something I think many of us need to remember- the holidays should be about experiences! Memories spent with loved ones, and experiences of gratitude and thankfulness- that’s what I hope my holidays are built around!

  13. I love this idea! I actually told my family this year that we should do something together instead of buying gifts. Thank you for sharing.

    Steph || @trendyinindy

  14. maria @closetohome

    the last few years this is what we have given our kids. Unfortuantely while others are playing with toys after xmas they are anticipating a trip or special sports event. 1/3 kids feels like he is being jipped out of a gift…. later they will realize right?

    1. Yes, of course they will! How old are they? At 13, I feel like our oldest definitely has a grasp on experiences > things.

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