Moment of honesty: I really don’t like getting people “things.”
I think it’s part of the reason I’m so bad at Christmas shopping. I keep holding out, thinking, “This would be a good gift, but it’s not it. There’s something missing. I want something that’s just a little…more. Something that feels right.” If you’ve ever been stuck in this holiday gifting rut, I know exactly what you feel—and, I’ve figured out the perfect solution. Track with me here:
How do you find the perfect Christmas gift when no gift seems to fit? What do you buy for the person who has everything?
Answer: Gift experiences.
Sometimes, the best things to give aren’t things at all. The best way to light up someone’s face on Christmas morning can be with a wonderfully thoughtful, personalized experience.
My parents are MASTERS at this art. One Christmas, they drove my brother, cousin and I to the Disney store. They told us to hold out our hands for our Christmas present. And, when we opened our eyes, we were all holding Mickey Mouse scarves. We looked at them, a bit perplexed. They were both smiling ear-to-ear, and we couldn’t quite figure out why.
“For your Christmas gift this year, we’re going to DISNEY WORLD!”
And after an initial moment of shock and surprise, our faces lit up and we started jumping up and down, hugging our Mickey Mouse scarves and each other. It was magical.
Now I am NOT saying that you should buy your mom, dad, sister, cousin, or significant other a trip to Disney World (unless that’s your thing – then you do you!).
But we ARE in the Christmas crunch time! So let me help you out with five outstanding home-run experiences to gift this Christmas that you can put together in less than a day!
To make it easy on you, I’ve listed what you should put under the tree, and what the real gift should be to maximize the shock & awe value.
Less than $50:
*Under the tree: Buy a trendy wallet or card holder. Fill it with $20-$50 worth of $5 gift cards to the gift receiver’s favorite places – including coffee shops, movie theaters, stores, etc. (That’s 4-10 gift cards!) Wrap + put under the tree.
Total gift: When they open the wallet, tell them it’s good for an afternoon out with you. Use the gift cards to grab coffee and go shopping, see a movie – whatever you’d like!
*Under the tree: Place a new workout top, lux fuzzy robe, or slippers.
Total Gift: Tell the gift recipient that you gifted them a spa day or fun workout class – like Pilates, Yoga, Cycling – something fun for both of you to do together! Follow it up by getting juice / coffee and giving the gift of time.
*Under the tree: This one is a bit flexible. You can beautifully wrap the person’s favorite bottle of champagne, two candlesticks, two champagne flutes, two napkin holders—whatever you’d like!
Total Gift: When the gift recipient opens the package, let them know that the gift is that you’d like to make him / her a special dinner! Tell them the date, and that the meal is a surprise. On the night of, go all out – set the table to reflect their style, make their favorite dish, and top it off with their favorite drink / dessert!
(HINT: You can make this a gift for your parents, too! Offer to make them a delicious dinner & give them a memorable evening.)
Less than $100:
*Under the tree: Hop on Ticketmaster, and find a concert, show, or event coming up that the gift recipient would really enjoy. You can search Fort Wayne, Indianapolis, Chicago, Kalamazoo – wherever! Then, buy the gift recipient something that relates to the show. Maybe it’s a t-shirt from the band, a shirt / accessory for them to wear to the show, a punny gift that gives them a hint as to what you’re seeing (e.g., a cat stuffed animal for the musical Cats), something that represents the city you’re going to to see it (e.g., Chicago-style pizza for Chicago)…get creative and give them something that will make them say “WOW” or will make them laugh! Wrap your package with this gift on top, and the tickets underneath.
Total Gift: Well, take them to the event of course! Make it a fun outing – get coffee before or drinks after. Give them a memorable (and Insta-worthy) evening.
Less than $250:
*Under the tree: There’s all sorts of travel deals this time of year! Find one on a great hotel / lodge / B&B between 45 minutes and 3 hours away. (I’d recommend searching AirBnB, Priceline, Hotwire, HotelTonight – even the hotel / lodge themselves may be having a special!) Write three clues to where / what it is, and place them in separate envelopes under the tree. When the time comes, have the gift recipient(s) open one at a time, and try to guess where they’re going!
Total Gift: Take the overnight with your special someone, friend(s), or family! One room usually sleeps 4 people, so this one is also perfect for gifting to a close group of friends or the fam.
Have other great ideas for Experience Gifts? Email them to me at firstname.lastname@example.org!