The thought of buying gift send chills down my spine and not for financial reasons. Gift-giving is so fought with pit holes : we give and get so much stuff, that we don’t really want or need.
Our planet is drowning in our plastic waste, in our excesses!
What are the alternatives, if you want to show someone you appreciate them through a gift, but don’t want to buy yet another “thing”, more “stuff”
Experience gifts are a great alternative to physical gifts. Perfect for the person who has everything. Experience gifts often offer reciever something special, something they may not indulge in themselves. These gifts are very thoughtful, as generally, you are gifting joy through an activity.
Experience gifts needn’t cost a lot either. Although these can be bought from specialist companies, some local providers, they can also be something special you organise and make vouchers for. We’ve listed a couple ideas below to give you some pointers. …but list is really endless and depends on you and the person you are gifting.
When to give an experience as a gift
An experience gift is perfect
… for the unexpected friend or relative that turns up with loads of pressies, but you have none for them (you can literally hide in the loo for 5 minutes and sort it out.)
… the person who has everything they need
… when you are totally stuck for ideas
… when you didn’t get a chance to do a quick run to the shops for a present
… when amazon or the courier hasn’t delivered the ordered presents
… when you really want to do something yourself, but daren’t do it on your own, and you know the other person would appreciate it.
Over the years we have given quite a few experiences.
Experience presents don’t even have to cost you a cent, they don’t need to be bought! You can create vouchers yourself. (Just pop on the computer and design something nifty. There are lots of graphic design apps or online sites, like Canva.com, if you don’t have the skills or the wish to do it yourself. )
Who to give experience gifts to?
Literally anyone can get an experience gift. There is an experience available, which will bring joy for anyone aged 0 to 110.
These are also amazing when someone drops in on you unexpectedly or you invite someone over last minute to share a special Christmas Eve with you.
The gift of a story, the gift of an experience, the gift of joy
We’re prolific experience gift givers, because we believe that these gifts often bring more joy than items gifted. Think of treats the other person would appreciate, but not necessarily book themselves. We’ve come up with a couple, but I’ve also reached out to friends who have given or received experiences as gifts for some cool ideas.
1. A Pack of Small Joys
Couple of years ago Dadonthebrink got a pack of vouchers from me for Christmas. These were all small things: a massage, an uninterrupted afternoon and evening watching football, a pub night out, and so on. He’s usually the sort of guy that puts family first and takes little time for himself, so these little gestures meant a lot to him.
2. Babysitting vouchers
My friend got 5 babysitting vouchers from me that same year.
Babysitting vouchers are actually a huge thing: it gives people permission to ask, when they may otherwise be shy or too embarrassed. They’ll think it’s frivolous going out and spending extra on a babysitter, yet it may not seem right to ask a friend to si in watching over their sprogs while they are having fun.
3. Glamping Nights
Jess gave her parents got a 2-night glamping experience gift card from Buy a gift!
“I know it’s something they would love to do, but probably wouldn’t book for themselves. It’s good because it isn’t tied to a particular place so although it’s for a glamping experience they can choose a variety of glamping “types” and there are also loads of places to choose to stay too!” (Jess, Tantrums to Smiles )
4. Spa Voucher
Jennifer bought a voucher for a spa day for her mum bought from Groupon.
” I’ve wrapped up the voucher along with a few little pampering goodies.” ( Jennifer, My Mummy’s Pennies )
“Traditionally, my MIL also always buys me experiences like spa treatments and also books herself to look after the children. Which, I think, is the most thoughtful presents of all.” (Eva, https://www.captainbobcat.com )
5. Luxury, Dog-friendly Hotel Stay
Lousie got her mum a two-night stay voucher in a luxury, dog-friendly hotel from Buy A Gift.
“It worked out much cheaper than booking directly and she can choose her own dates to suit.” (Louise, https://pinkpearbear.com )
6. Eating out Voucher
Lucy got her brother and his wife a voucher for a meal out at Jamie’s Italian.
” I also made them a handmade voucher for free babysitting when they go out.” (Lucy, Momma Mack )
7. An Animal Experience
Jennie bought a friend a walk with an Alpaca experience for a farm near to where she lives! (www.ricecakesandraisins.co.uk)
Carly bought her Dad and Step-mum a falconry experience
“It’s at a forestry centre near my house so they can tie it in with visiting us and it is something they have both always wanted to do.” (Carly www.mummyandthechunks.com)
8. An Experience Gift Card
Becca says, “I love giving experiences as gifts! I got my parents and in-laws a Virgin Experience gift card so they can choose what they would like to do from a range of activities
and got my children (and us!) a dual season pass to Twin Lakes and Wheelgate adventure parks in the East Midlands. (Beccy www.raucousbynature.com )
9. Learning a New Skill
Alex is a big fan of experiences as gifts and of self-development: “I bought my husband a day bread baking class as he loves to bake.
It’s with a local independent bakery, so also supports local businesses.
My mother-in-law is getting a craft class voucher.” (Alex, www.bettertogetherhome.com)
10. Theatre Tickets
Éva has been a little cheeky this year: “I bought theatre tickets for hubby (and myself) plus booked Mother in Law for babysitting. We also bought my little girl theatre tickets too – she loves the theatre and has been wanting to see Wicked for years! ” (Eva, Captain Bobcat )
11. Hot Air Balloon Flight
Jenny: “I had a hot air balloon voucher last year which I was ecstatic about. I had always wanted to go on one. Unfortunately, every single time we booked and re-booked it was cancelled due to weather! ? Hopefully, it’s just bad luck and we’ll get to go this year, I love experiences as presents.” (Jenny, Monkey and Mouse)
12. Annual Cinema Pass
Angela was thinking of practicality as well as personal: “This year I bought my husband an annual pass for Cineworld. He will be able to watch any movies he wants for a whole year without it affecting our budget. I think it is a great present and it’s going to save us money in the long run since he loves the cinema.” (Angela www.theinspirationedit.com )
13. Culinary Experiences
Claire thought of what her dear ones loved: “We have bought my mother-in-law and her partner an experience of tea and scones on a steam train (they don’t drink or eat chocolate etc and we wanted to make sure we got them something really special as this is the first Christmas we’ve been able to properly give back.) My father in law and his girlfriend are getting a gin tasting experience as they are “gin-aholics” but we didn’t want to just get them a bottle as they will get loads from family and friends and, again, we wanted to treat them for how much they’ve helped us.” (Claire, Dear Mummy Bear)
14. Give Special Memories
Cathryn says ” I’m a big fan of gifting experiences. On my husband’s side of the family, my three children have four cousins and four out of the seven children have December birthdays. No one had any real ideas of what we could give them for Christmas presents so my husband and I have invited all the cousins to our house for a sleepover and we are taking them all to the cinema, out for food and to our local Winter Wonderland. They don’t get to see each other that often so I think this is a lovely way for them all to create special memories with each other.” (Cathryn, Cardiff Mummy Says)
15. Unlimited Reading
Finally, finishing off the list with one of the most popular experience gifts we’ve given: Last year Angelina, my 10-year-old book worm, got a Kindle Unlimited subscription. Since then she has devoured books at an alarming rate and we didn’t even need to worry about spending a fortune to quench her appetite or getting to the library on time.
Bonus Idea: Breakfast at Tiffany’s
If you want to be a little more extravagant and maybe thinking of very special surprise a gift card from Tiffany & Co. (starting from $50) would be an ideal present for the that someone extra special.
Not only can they get a lovely piece of jewelry, they can also enjoy the “Tiffany experience” and sip some tea while picking out something nice for themselves.
Experiences are a fantastic alternative to giving physical gifts! Hope you will consider these too.
Have you given or received any great experience gifts?
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