Give Gifts That Aren’t Things

What’s on your gift list? If you’re still scrambling to find gifts for people who already own too much stuff, you’re not alone. One recent study revealed that more than twenty percent of Americans will go into debt for Christmas this year while more than $15 billion dollars will be spent on unwanted gifts. Why go into debt for stuff no one really wants when you can give your loved ones experiences they will love?

Plus, you can support small businesses and non-profits in your own community while skipping lines and avoiding shipping mishaps. Read on for some inspiration for all ages!

SPECIAL RESTAURANT – It’s not unusual to give a gift card but it seems more thoughtful when it’s for a really special place. Whether it be their favorite or one they ordinarily wouldn’t treat themselves to, give them an experience they will enjoy.

MUSEUM MEMBERSHIP – Museums can provide hours of entertainment and education. Ohio has a host of memberships geared toward kids, history buffs, art lovers and more. With changing exhibitions and programs, a membership is a great way to say Merry Christmas!

ZOO PASSES – The zoo is fun for all ages but zoo passes make an especially great gift for families with kids. It gives them somewhere to go, an opportunity to learn and lots to talk about later!

CONCERT TICKETS – Who doesn’t like live music? Give them tickets for a musical experience they won’t forget.

MASSAGE – Whether it be an in-home experience or a massage at a business, most people could use some help relaxing.

COOKING CLASS – Have someone on your list who loves to cook? Maybe you’re shopping for a young adult who wants to learn basic skills. A cooking class is a great way for them to hone their skills and be more confident in the kitchen.

ARTS AND CRAFTS GIFT CARD– Does your friend have an artistic streak? Maybe they would enjoy classes for painting or stained glass art. Perhaps they would like spend a morning painting a bowl in one of those places where decorate your own pottery.

MUSIC LESSONS – If you know a budding musician, they might appreciate some one-on-one time with a pro. You often can find lessons at local music stores or even with individuals with a side hustle teaching private lessons.

SUBSCRIPTIONS – A magazine subscription or book-of-the-month membership would delight a reader. If you have a bigger budget, a Masterclass membership would provide access to online lessons provided by experts on everything from writing and cooking to design and history.

WEEKEND GETAWAY – A cabin in the woods sounds like an amazing retreat from this busy season. Many small towns across Ohio and in the region offer cute inns and Ohio’s cities have some fantastic boutique hotels. Give your loved one a break from the everyday and send them somewhere special.

WINE TASTING – Ohio has a number of wineries that offer tastings and even dinner packages. They will think of you as they watch the sunset over a glass with someone special.

SPORTS TICKETS – Your favorite sports enthusiast would love you even more if you sent them to a game!

PERSONAL CARE – A mani/pedi or hair salon gift certificate would encourage your loved one to enjoy some pampering!

SERVICES – Most of us have a long list of chores that need done around the house. It can be particularly difficult to keep up for those of us who are older, who work a lot, who have small children, or who have a health issue. Instead of a trinket, give them the gift of checking something off their list. This could mean hiring someone to deep clean their home, detail their car, or provide a helping hand with small repairs around the house. Who among us wouldn’t benefit from an oil change and a car wash!

MEAL KIT SUBSCRIPTION – Imagine opening a box to find all the ingredients you need for a tasty dinner without going to the store. If you have a larger budget, this is a nice way to make someone’s life a little easier, at least at dinner time.

YOUR TIME – It may sound cliché but it’s true. There’s nothing better than the gift of your time when it comes to the people who love you. Invite them over for a home cooked meal or a game night. Pick them up and take them out for coffee and a walk or help them run errands. In this busy, overly connected online world, there’s nothing better than spending time with a loved one.

FAMILY GIFTS – Here’s one more idea. Many of us struggle to buy individual gifts for extended families or friends with families. It can be expensive and difficult to know what to buy everyone. Consider a gift that the family can use together. Maybe it’s this year’s hot new board game and a gift card for the local pizza joint. You might do a gift basket with supplies for a perfect family movie night or supplies for a great meal everyone can make together!  

Get creative with your gifts this Christmas and provide your loved ones with an experience or service they will love!

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!