Most of us have enough things—more toys than the kids can play with, more clothes than we actually wear, and shelves that are already full. So instead of adding to all that, why not give an experience instead? Read on for a huge list of ideas...
There are options for every budget—don't forget about minor league or college sports teams, and college theater or dance performances. Sometimes employers offer discounted event tickets. And look for Black Friday deals too.
play, musical, opera, ballet, or symphony tickets
concerts (look ahead to summer when more artists are on tour)
Disney on Ice
monster truck rally
LESSONS / THINGS TO LEARN
Think about your recipient...have they ever mentioned wanting to learn how to cook, or knit, or play golf? Why not give lessons or supplies?
cooking classes for adults
tennis or golf lessons
craft classes (sewing, knitting, etc.)
makeup or hairstyling lesson
Know a kid who loves the zoo? Or maybe your sister loves art? A membership is something your recipient can use all year long.
museum (art, science, history, etc.)
pool (indoor year-round, or think ahead to summer; wrap with a fun beach towel)
A memorable day or weekend beats something that sits on a shelf every time...
brewery or distillery tour
night in a hotel (maybe provide babysitting if the gift is for parents of young kids?!?!)
train ride (or helicopter tour, or hot air balloon ride...)
pedicure gift certificate (extra fun when packaged with a pair of cozy socks!)
There are so many options here! Think about your recipient—you're bound to come up with a place they like to go or something they like to do.
indoor rock climbing
indoor play space for kids
movie theater tickets
fitness class passes or punchcard
DONATIONS / SPONSORSHIPS
Do you know a kid who's passionate about animals? Or an adult who'd rather give than get? Someone who's passionate about education? There are so many charitable gift options available...
sponsor a child (Children International)
provide school supplies for children in need (Unicef School in a Box)
GIFTS THAT FUEL A HOBBY
Ok, I know, these are all things—but they're a little more unique and contribute to an experience or activity. ;)
beer brewing supplies
Audio books, movies, tv shows...there are so many subscriptions options you're sure to find one to suit everyone.
movie theater memberships for people who really love the movies
Sometimes the best gift is not having to do something. Take a dreaded chore off someone's list and give them the gift of time. Or gift something they already pay for and free up cash they can use for whatever they want. (Bonus: if they're already buying it, it's a pretty safe bet they like it!) For example, I love for my car to be clean, but I loathe cleaning it myself. I'd always rather receive a gift certificate for car detailing than another sweater or set of pajamas. (hint, hint!) What could be a better gift than freeing up time or money?
home organizing (sorry, couldn't resist!)
THINGS THAT GET KIDS OUTSIDE OR ACTIVE
Ok, yes, these are also things, but they're also things that promote activity vs. being just another toy.
watch / fitness tracker (this is a favorite in our house)
trampoline (small and indoor or large and outdoor)
swing set (or other playground equipment)
Last but not least, sometimes the best gift you can give is special time together. Think parent/child, your spouse, grandparent/grandchild, aunt or uncle/niece or nephew, best friend, siblings, etc. It can be expensive or not—whatever fits your budget. Nothing says "you're special to me" more than giving someone your undivided attention. Need ideas?
visit the Lego store and then build all afternoon
go shopping and have lunch
get tickets to a show and go out for fancy cocktails
plan a movie marathon or game day with fun snacks
have lunch & get pedicures
take a lesson together
visit a museum, zoo, aquarium, etc.
go for a hike
Hopefully you've found some fun ideas on this list. Happy gift-giving!