I’ve heard more and more about wanting to give “experiences” instead of things. I’m totally on board with this. Who among us needs more stuff in our lives? Especially among those who love to travel, seeing the world has a higher value than more physical items. I know of grandparents who love to give experiences such as zoo passes or baseball tickets to their grandchildren instead of a toy that will be tossed aside after a few weeks. I got to go to Disneyland for my birthday this year, for example.
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I love the idea of spending more on one meaningful experience than several small items. But, for someone like me who is a gift-giver by nature (have you heard of the love languages?), there’s gotta be more to it than just a paper ticket in an envelope. Here are 5 ways to combine an experience with a small, useful item for more enchanting gift presentation.
Tickets to an upcoming game can’t go wrong for someone who supports their local team. A round of golf or lessons to learn a new activity like stand-up paddle boarding or skiing are other great ideas. To commemorate the experience, you can include something cute and tiny.
Enamel pins have been very trendy this year and you can find a variety of them online. Look for their favorite team, sport or activity that they can pin on a jacket, backpack or gym bag. You could also give a vintage baseball card or annual team pocket schedule, which you can find on eBay.
For someone who can’t get enough of the great outdoors, help them gear up with an REI or Cabela’s gift card. Top-of-the-line gear costs a pretty penny, so you will help them get closer to the super specific thing they’ve been wanting, but you don’t know exists. I would pair the gift card with an always-useful enamel mug (basic, fancy) or a hydroflask.
Self-care is a buzzword this year and for good reason. The world seems like it spins faster each day and it’s hard to keep up. Give a gift certificate to a salon or spa so your loved one can be pampered… the gift of relaxation really is priceless. Pair it with something small to continue the spa treatment at home. I am obsessed with these inexpensive TonyMoly sheet masks. The salesperson at Ulta recommended putting them in the fridge before using, and the result is incredibly refreshing! Other cute giftable trinkets are lip balm (one can never have too many) and a new brush or two tied with a bow.
Last Christmas I gave my husband tickets to a Led Zeppelin tribute band concert. We went together in January and they. were. amazing. I can’t believe how close they sounded to the real Led Zeppelin! It was so much fun. I can’t remember what I gave with the tickets, but if I were doing it again I would give them along with a patch, pin, or poster.
You didn’t think a travel blog would post something about experiences without addressing travel, did you!? Southwest Airlines and Airbnb both have easily accessible gift cards that can even be picked up at some grocery stores. If you know someone with an especially itchy foot, these options can go a long way towards pursuing a very expensive hobby. I’d pair this with something cute and useful like a neck pillow, new passport cover, or foldable bag.
You can also use Viator.com to get a ton of ideas for unique experiences near and far, like a whale watching tour in San Diego or a Chicago prohibition tour. There’s bound to be something near you that you haven’t thought of yet.
Have you ever put together a knockout gift set? Let me know in the comments. I’m always looking for new ideas.