Giving Gifts That Aren’t “Things”

Are you struggling for Christmas gift ideas this year? You aren’t alone. It seems that many are at a loss when it comes to the holidays. If you’re looking for something different, you might consider gifts that are a little harder to wrap.

Studies show that people are more likely to make memories with experience gifts than with merchandise from the store. Today we have some ideas that will take the focus away from buying and place it on sharing and on experiences that will create those warm memories.

Subscriptions – Give them a subscription to a magazine you think they would love or to a meal delivery service to save them time on cooking for a month. Are they into genealogy? An Ancestry.com membership might be a good choice. If they travel a lot, an auto club membership like AAA could be helpful.

Services – Some people simply don’t need or want anything but would very much appreciate help with needed services. Car washes, yard or housekeeping services and oil changes are all things most people need and gift cards are available from local service providers. Want something more personal? How about a gift certificate for a session with a local photographer?

Experiences – Want something more fun? How about a gift card for horseback riding, pottery glazing, an escape room or spa day? How about passes for national parks, miniature golf, an art gallery, the arboretum or the zoo?

Learning – Is your loved one an aspiring musician, artist, writer, chef, athlete or yogi? How about some kind of lessons or online learning? Our communities are filled with people who give swim, tennis, piano and guitar lessons. Many websites offer learning opportunities where they can go at their own pace while learning a fun new skill.

Themed gift baskets – Yes, this is a thing but you can give useful things that will be consumed or that can be used again and again. The baker in your life might appreciate a fancy new baking dish and the supplies to make some gourmet brownies. A gardener could find hours of solace in a pair of quality pruning shears, some gloves and seeds from their favorite catalogue.  Buying for a family? Give them a game night gift basket with a board game, snacks and gift card for pizza from the neighborhood pizza joint!

Do Chores – Often times an older person has an abundance of things but a real need for help with projects around the house. If you’re handy, you might be able to save them a lot of hassle by fixing a leaky faucet and winterizing their windows. Be sure to take lunch and plan to spend some time with them when you’re done!

Time – Speaking of time, plan a fun day doing what they enjoy like hiking, going to a museum or even cooking together. We heard a fantastic story about a grandmother who gifts her grandkids an experience every month. The kids receive twelve envelopes, each one containing a clue about what they will do or even the passes or cash to pay for it. Grandma and grandkids have fun together and mom and dad get some free hours once a month. This idea would work for all ages if you want to squeeze in more time with a loved one!

DIY Kits – If they’re crafty, consider giving them DIY kits for things they can use like lotion, candles, soap or ice cream. This will give them something to do, something to consume and maybe even spark a new hobby!

Gift cards – If you’re really stumped or in a rush for time, consider a gift card for something they really love like their favorite coffee shop, clothing store or photo printing service for all those pictures on their phone!

Now it’s your turn! Tell us the best experience gift you’ve given or received!

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