Throughout my life I’ve been given a lot of things; Toys, clothes you name it. Yet, I can’t say that I remember any of it. What I do remember are the Christmas gift experiences. The surprise road trips to visit family in another state. The summer we drove down to Disney World for a week.
Moments and experiences are what we hold on to. Stuff can only make someone happy for so long. Soon after receiving a gift, it’s long forgotten. Instead of giving things that may end up broken or lost, gift experience based presents for Christmas to make lasting memories with those you hold closest.
What Exactly Is an Experience Gift?
If you are a minimalist then this will be right up your alley.
Sometimes also called experiential gifting, presenting an experience based gift instead of a physical one is a way to give more than just material things.
Instead of spending hours running from store to story on Black Friday looking for the perfect gift. People are prioritizing memories over things and it’s a wonderful thing to witness in person.
Why Gift Experiences This Christmas Instead of Traditional Presents?
Experiences in many ways are priceless, as they help shape who we are as individuals and give us broader perspectives in life.
Creating memorable experiences that’ll allow you to live life to the fullest is what life is about. So many people regret not experiencing more in life, as opposed to not buying more.
Moving away from buying more things creates potential for memories that can bring you and those you love closer.
What are the best experience gifts? I’ve put together a list of some of our favorites as well as some I have on my bucket list. After doing tons of research on this I’ve seen some amazing ideas and can’t wait to share them. So let’s jump right in.
Best Christmas Gift Experiences for Kids
Depending on the age of your child, what’s considered the “best” can differ drastically. With that in mind this list will have a variety of fun experiences for Christmas gifts for all ages. There will be some experience gifts perfect for toddlers, some best for school age, teenagers and of course a few for all ages.
1. Day Trip to the Children’s Museum
Children’s Museums are great family activity christmas gifts. Good for all ages, you are sure to have some fun and a little bit of learning too. Children’s museums often have tons to do the weeks before and after Christmas, so this is a perfect opportunity to make the most out of this gift.
2. A Crafts Subscription Box
The gift that keeps on giving. Subscription boxes are the perfect experience gift because you’ll get something new each month to create. Bring back the same joy and excitement as when they opened their first box. Make it even more special by creating with your kiddo.
3. Night at the Theater
Did you know you can rent out the movie theaters now? I bet you also didn’t know you can bring your own gaming console and hook it up to the screen. Talk about playing in HD! Could you imagine the look on any kid’s face when they walk into the theater and realize it’s been rented out just for them.
4. Zoo Trip
Animals make everything fun so a trip to the zoo is always a good time. Plus this is a great gift that can quickly turn into a family tradition for parents and baby. Even more so during Christmas since most zoos have so much to offer. Things like Christmas with the animals, one on one with animal trainers and other special experiences. Pro tip, get a membership and you can get even more great perks.
5. Adventure of Their Choice
I’ve seen this done a few ways. From granting your child a “Yes” day where you aren’t allowed to say no. No matter how outrageous the idea. To ask them what the best day ever would look like to them and making it happen. Whatever path you decide to take, this is one of those unique gift experiences they’ll never forget.
6. Theme Park Vacation
Theme parks never go out of style and there is always something for everyone. From toddlers to teenagers, the variety of rides and activities at any given theme park are sure to please your whole family.
Wondering how to go about giving this experience? I’m always down for a surprise, so I’d say pack the kiddos in the car and don’t tell them where you are going until you arrive.
7. A Day Getting All Dolled Up with the Girls
What princess wouldn’t love this. Especially if, like my daughter, they spend most of their days being the only girl in a house full of her brothers.
Invite all her friends over, lay out the pretend make up and dress up clothes and let them have at it. Don’t forget tons of snacks, all the best movies, and a no boys allowed policy to really bring this gift to life!
8. Special Lunch with a Family Member
Planning a special lunch with their favorite person adds a little extra touch that is sure to make them smile. Ask the family member to go the extra mile, if they’re able. Then have your baby get all dressed up as if going on a date and make sure they are picked up in style.
9. One-on-One Time with Mom and Dad
Think of something special that particular child would love to do or let them decide. Heck, you don’t even have to leave the house. Carving out time to sit and watch a movie together or chat about what’s been going on in their life can be just as special.
10. Visit to the Rock Climbing Wall or Trampoline Park
Places like Fearless, SkyZone or any others kill two birds with one stone. Get all that energy out AND make some great memories with you and your babies. Don’t be afraid to climb up that wall or jump with them.
11. “Coupon” to Summer Camp
This is a cute idea that can be delivered in a few ways. A homemade coupon book with lots of options including one for summer camp. Or maybe you put together a box of things your child would need for a summer camp. These could be put into their own individual envelopes and decorated. Then the final envelope could have a flyer about a summer camp.
12. Scavenger Hunt
One of my favorites and a great Christmas morning tradition. Take the borning out of the present opening by creating a scavenger hunt for the presents. Or maybe a hunt filled with clues to the location you plan to take them to, or a scavenger hunt outside that ends in a big prize. There are so many possibilities and all of them are sure to be loads of fun.
13. BFF Sleepover
Have you seen those cute sleepovers that involve tents for everyone and all the cute robes / coordinated gifts? Man I wish there was something similar when I was a kid. It looks like so much fun and I am sure any kid would have a blast.
Experience Gifts for Mom or Dad
This has to be in my favorite top 10 experience gifts of all time. And it’s not because I’m a mom. Well maybe a little, lol.
14. A Day Off
As a mother we all know how valuable a day off can be. But have you ever thought of giving dad one too. Funny thing, my husband and I just discussed this the other day. As much as he tries to make sure I have self care time and alone time it truly never dawned on me that he needed the same. So this is a great gift for either mom or dad. Or maybe grandparents can give both of you a break!
15. Spa Day
If you’re scratching your head looking for a Christmas experience gift for mom, look no further. Just the thought of a relaxing massage, a nice foot rub and a facial has me so excited. Get a gift certificate to a spa close to you or find someone to come to your home. You could make it even more special and try to do all these things on your own.
16. Golf Trip
If you live near a golf course this is an exciting experience to give. Most even have golf clubs you can rent. Not really into golfing, you don’t have to be. With places like Top Golf they’ve made it way more fun!
17. Romantic Dinner at Home Cooked by You
Set the mood with some candles and soft music playing in the background. Dinner at home can be better than going out to a restaurant. Make sure to still get dressed up as if you were heading out to add to the experience. Pro tip, if you aren’t that great of a cook, have something delivered and plate it.
18. Book a Ride in a Hot Rod
Old school cars are so much fun. Not only is it cool to learn the history behind that particular vehicle but most owners have some amazing stories to tell about how they obtained their cars. And you’d be surprised how many are willing to rent out or chauffeur people around.
19. Night at the Hotel
There’s nothing like spending the night in a hotel, leaving all your worries behind. Having someone else be responsible for cleaning up, making the bed and even breakfast. If this isn’t the perfect Christmas gift for any mom or day, I don’t know what is.
20. Gear to Use with Their Favorite Hobby
Maybe she wants to learn to sew or he would love to take care of the yard more. Even if you can’t get them everything they would need, investing even a little could be the start to something amazing.
21. Food Tour
Perfect for any foodie on your list, or anyone really. I mean who doesn’t like eating. And if it means the kids are left at home, any parent is going to be down!
Buy gift cards to a few different restaurants around town so they can do so at their leisure. Or spend the day taking them from restaurant to restaurant trying all the yummy goodies! Depending on if they are an introvert or extrovert I’m sure this is one gift that is sure to be appreciated.
22. Dinner Cruise
A great way to experience all the amazing food a city has to offer. Send them on a dinner cruise in a different city or even an exotic location. With tons of options in almost every major destination across the globe, this is sure to be a sweet journey no matter where you go. Averaging around 2-4 hours this is definitely something you’d want to do with someone.
23. Game Night with the Whole Family
Twister, Monopoly, Scrabble, throw in some charades and it’s bound to be a great time! Not in to board games or want to switch it up, Nintendo Switch offers tons of multiplayer games like Mario Party or Super Smash Bros. Oh, I can’t forget to mention the newest game that is all over TikTok at the moment, What do you meme!
24. Be Their Housekeeper for a Day
For those that have no time to clean their own homes or could use some help, a clean home could be the perfect gift. They may not consider paying for a cleaner themselves, but gifting them that service could be greatly appreciated!
The best part about this is there are so many ways to make this happen. You can do the cleaning yourself. Or you can hire companies such as Molly Maid to give a helping hand. Keep in mind that a lot of maid services do not do dishes or laundry. But services like SudShare can help with some of that.
25. Pottery Lesson
This is one of the few Christmas gift experiences I wish someone would give me. I’m tired of getting lopsided cups and bowls from my kids. I’d love to make my own hot mess bowl that can’t hold anything more than the keys and a few paperclips, lol. No, seriously I love my kids and all the wonderful things they make for me.
Find a local pottery and grab that gift certificate. This is a unique gift that could potentially turn into a new found hobby!
26. Hunting Excursion with Dad
For the dads that love guns, hunting and all things outdoors gifting him a weekend away in the woods would make his day. Consider getting him a cabin supplied with all the food and supplies he’d need. Surprise him with all his guy friends and try not to call him for the first few hours, lol.
27. Day Out with the Grandkids
Active grandparents are God’s gift to parents. Especially when they love their grandkids as much (if not more than) they love their own. This one can be considered a gift for all parties involved. Mom and dad get a break and grandparents get to make some memories while enjoying their grandbabies.
Christmas Gift Experiences for Couples
If you’re a part of the couple or you happen to know a few, these gift experiences for Christmas should both bring on the romance and make magical memories.
Make each numbered idea an H3 and provide brief (2-3 sentences) of discussion for each:
28. All Expense Paid For Date Night
Whether gifting for your person or a couple you know, no one ever said no to a date night. Grab tickets to the movies, find a special restaurant (maybe one that has some significance), and end the night with a stroll through the park eating dessert.
29. Fancy Picnic Setup
A picnic in the park or even your own backyard can be the perfect experience for couples. It’s such a romantic and fun way to spend a few hours together. Pack some of your favorites, some drinks, don’t forget the treats. And enjoy some peaceful time outside together.
30. Book a Couples Massage
It doesn’t matter if you’re male, female, old, young, healthy or unhealthy,everyone loves a massage. Add in experiencing it with your partner and make it even better.
31. Guided Tour of Little Known Spots in their City
Have a couple who loves to travel on your list. No matter how long they’ve lived in their city, there are bound to be places or things they’ve never experienced. Book a tour of the city’s most historic spots, some of the best tea shops or bookstores. An Art District would be another great spot to take a closer look at, as those areas are often ever changing with new installations, pop up shops and more.
32. Fun Couples Photo Shoot
Who doesn’t want some adorable images of them with their loved ones. It really doesn’t have to be anything fancy, just a few nice photos that they can have for themselves. Who knows, they may end up using them for a save the date one day!
33. Romantic Wine Tour
A weekend away tasting delicious wines from different vineyards could be the perfect gift for any wine connoisseur couple. Make sure to check if the vineyard has Christmas gift vouchers for couples.
34. Sushi-Making Class
62% of Americans love sushi so if you have a sushi lover on your list this is perfect for them. Let them immerse themselves in this Japanese cuisine for the day.
35. Fondue Night
For the cheese or chocolate lover on your list, a Fondue Night would be perfect. Not limited to fruit, dip meat, cheese, marshmallows or whatever else you can think of in your Fondue.
36. Weekend Campsite Rental
Outdoorsy couples are sure to love this. Camping or even glamping for the weekend can be an adventurous way to get some rest and relaxation. With so many options, from renting cabins or paying for campsites, to trying out tiny homes or even decked out tents, RV’s and school buses.
37. Horse & Carriage Ride
Not just a valentine’s date idea, horse and carriage rides can be just as beautiful during the winter months. Snow topped buildings surrounded by twinkling Christmas lights is the perfect backdrop for a romantic Christmas gift.
38. Murder Mystery Dinner Show
For any Law and Order, First 48 or other crime shows, a murder mystery dinner is sure to be up their alley. Some shows even allow audience participation. Which means, whomever you gift this to could very well end up being the criminal!
39. Itinerary for a Natural Trail Hike
Getting to enjoy the outdoors, exploring new places and having time together, yes please! Add in a picnic basket filled with goodies to turn this up a notch.
Ideas for Everyone Else on Your Christmas List (Him, Her, Families & Coworkers)
This next set of experiences as Christmas gifts are perfect for anyone. No matter how you know them or what they’re into, there is sure to be something for everyone.
40. A Cooking Class
If your friend or someone you know is a foodie, this would be the perfect gift. Even better that most can now be found online! They can learn chocolate making, cake decorating, bread making, vegan cheese making, fermenting or how to cook a specific meal all from the comfort of their own home.
41. Fishing Day with a Friend
If you have a friend who loves fishing, this is the perfect Christmas gift experience for him. There’s no better way to reel in the best present then when he snags that Big Mouth Bass to hang on his wall!
42. Tickets to Their Favorite Sports Team Event
Nothing compares to seeing a live game of your favorite sport. If you have a huge sports fan on your list, consider gifting them tickets to the next local game.
43. A Painting Class
Have you heard of the painting classes where you can paint, have yummy appetizers, and sip on champagne? I’ve been to a few and they are SO much fun. This is great for someone who may not know how to paint freehand but still wants to give painting a try.
44. Online Course That Teaches a Skill
With so many different courses / classes offered online —like the dance lessons, DJing, learning a new language to voice lessons for those that want to try their hand at music.
45. Paintball Excursion
Think of a Nerf Gun war but for adults! Paintbull is the best way for the recipient to practice their camouflaging skills while simultaneously working on their aim.
46. Bowling Gift Certificate
No matter your level of expertise, bowling is fun for everyone. Most bowling alleys have arcades and great bar food, so you’ll still have a blast. Don’t forget your socks!
47. Escape Room Night
This is such a great experience to gift. Escape Rooms have been gaining in popularity for a long time now. And they can be so much fun with a group of friends. With an array of different options, this is a gift that anyone on your list can enjoy.
48. Orchestra Tickets
From classical music to hip hop, tickets to the orchestra can intrigue anyone. The genre of music that you can find being played by your local theater are endless.
49. Zoo Membership
Know an animal lover? Most annual zoo memberships end up paying for themselves in the first trip or two. Plus they often come with extra perks like special member only days and discounts.
50. Concert Tickets
Got a music lover on your list? Tickets to their favorite artist’s next concert will surely make them smile. Add a band tee for some extra fun.
51. Gift Card for Ice Skating
Ice skating is a great gift for any age. Children love it and adults can live out their childhood dreams of being a figure skater like Jill Trenary. Oh, was that just me, lol. Regardless if they used to try and ice skate on their frozen driveways or not, gifting someone a gift card for ice skating is sure to make them smile.
52. Project-Based Subscription Box
Subscription boxes have really changed over the years and there are so many to choose from. Boxes for those who love the arts or getting crafty, to boxes for history junkies. Just make sure whatever you gift, it’s not just another item
No matter who you have on your list, there is an experience gift fit for everyone. Did I miss any of your favorite Christmas gift experiences? Let me know!”