Coming up with great gifts for the holiday season can be tough. I always spend forever looking online for the perfect gift. It's always the hardest for me to come up with gifts for my family.

Unlike with friends, returning gifts is usually okay, we just want to make sure that the gift is actually something that they can use and enjoy. However, for my dad, this always means that if it's something that he thinks he doesn't "need" even though he can still enjoy it, he wants to return it. This makes it SO difficult to find something good.

However, as I've been brainstorming Christmas gift ideas, I'm getting more into the idea of getting "experience" gifts for friends and family.

Why get "experience" gifts?

Let's be real, we all tend to buy ourselves a lot of things. When I see something that I want, if it's within a reasonable price, I'll buy it for myself. However, I always hesitate when it comes to a pricier and more specialty experience.

For example, I love cooking and baking, but the prices of cooking and baking classes tend to be a bit higher, so I probably wouldn't pay for that myself, and if I did it would be very infrequent. I would tell myself that I could get the same experience at home. And while that may be true that I could get a similar experience, when I finally got around to taking a class at Sur La Table, it practically made my day and it was such an incredible experience that I'm not sure I could have recreated exactly at home.

The point is that this experience was unique and enjoyable. I have the photos and the happy memories of it. And to me, that feels like a pretty good gift.

An experience gift might be something that the person would never pay for themselves, but you know that they would nevertheless enjoy. Because of that, you know that this gift will be more out of the box and also it wouldn't just be another gift to add to the pile of returns and you wouldn't really worry about whether or not they would find use to the gift in the long term. Unlike tangible gifts, an experience gift isn't about use, it's about treating yourself to something a little bit different.

What are some experience gifts you can get someone?

I've been brainstorming ideas as I've been considering gifts for friends and family and here are a few that I've thought of:

  • Cooking class
  • Facial
  • Massage
  • Craft beer tasting
  • Wine tasting
  • Fancy exercise classes
  • Art classes (painting, pottery, etc.)
  • Photography classes
  • Show tickets (play, musical, concert, etc.)
For more, here's a website that I found that has a ton of great experience gift options. 

Happy gifting!

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