They (as in researchers) say the gift of an experience is more effective, appreciated, and remembered by those who receive them.
Experiences elicit emotional responses from recipients far more than “things” or objects do. There’s more. Researchers found that giving someone an experiential gift can also help in building a stronger relationship and are far more socially connecting than gifts of objects.
And let’s be honest, we all have way too much sh*t in our homes, so giving someone something that they can actually do, experience, learn from, taste, make, or try…well, now we’re talking. Less clutter and stuff to hoard.
If you are still stumped on what to get a loved one, perhaps you found nothing in our 2019 Holiday Gift Guide, then consider giving that special someone an experience.
It may be just what your loved one is looking for.
A bucket list item.
Help someone check off an item on their bucket list. They will be so grateful that you helped them accomplish a life long dream and it’ll most likely be one of the best gifts they ever receive. Think skydiving, dance lessons, rock climbing, acting class, fencing lessons, hot air balloon, horseback riding, yoga retreat…you get the idea.
Tip: If you’re not sure of their bucket list, ask them at dinner or over coffee. It’s the perfect table topic – plus, it’ll have you think about your bucket list too!
Give the gift of travel.
This is hands down the best gift you can give to an explorer or someone who just needs a break from the everyday hustle. Maybe this year, forgo material objects and hop on a plane to somewhere new.
Sidenote: They (as in researchers) say that traveling strengthens bonds between two people. Double win!
This idea is for that special wannabe mixologist in your life. The box arrives with every ingredient and a recipe for a delicious cocktail that will knock your socks off. Choose what to send based on the recipient’s favorite spirit. Cheers! Check out Cocktail Courier, here.
Cut and color from a badass stylist.
Who doesn’t love a killer haircut and color by someone sensational in the biz? Send your person to a hair artist and help them step into the New Year feeling and looking freaking fabulous! 2020 here we come!
Lauren’s favs: Collin for color and Duc or Paul for a cut at Salon Buzz (River North) in the city.
Michelle’s fav: Dana at Salon Hype.
Magazine or newspaper subscription.
Waking up every Sunday morning to the New York Times on my doorstep was the best gift I gave myself in 2019. If your recipient is into cooking, consider Bon Appétit. For the fashionista, Vogue or InStyle.
There’s publications out there covering a wide range of topics including travel, home design, parenting, architecture, hosting, health, fitness, cooking, fashion, wellness, cannabis…you get the picture.
A second language.
If you’ve ever heard your loved one say that they have always wanted to learn a second language, well, then this is the most appropriate gift for that person. Rosetta Stone has a great reputation for helping people accomplish this worldy goal. You definitely may want to consider this one for your wannabe bi-lingual friend or family member.
Do you have a champagne enthusiast in your life? Did you know that bubbles aren’t just for celebrations?! If you said yes to both of those questions, then this may be just the gift for that someone special in your life. Fatcork delivers champagne from Champagne, France with expert tips in tasting and information on each bottle. It delivers quarterly with the choice of 3, 4, or 6 bottles.
This is a really fun gift idea!
Check out Fatcork, here.
Give the gift of a photo shoot. Whether they take the photos with their family, significant other, 100-year-old granny, best friends, by themselves, or with their fur-babies – that’s up to them. Photos are memories frozen in time, people!
Learn from a pro on MasterClass.
Have you heard of this? It’s literally an online class where an expert (most likely someone who you’ve heard of) teaches you their expertise. Think: poker, storytelling, Texas BBQ, creative writing, basketball, cooking, chess, wine appreciation, tennis, space exploration, photography, film making, architecture, conservation….the list goes on and on.
My husband has enjoyed many of the film making classes.
Ryan, if you’re reading this, Michelle wants a MasterClass for her birthday.
A clean house.
Nothing says I love you like sending someone into a loved one’s house to deep clean the hell out of their home. This is an especially great gift for someone who cleans on a regular basis and is tired as hell after cleaning up after everyone. If you’re really looking to kiss some butt, pair this with a day at the spa.
Come January 1, it will be totally legal in the state of Illinois to buy someone the gift and experience of cannabis. It will be the perfect New Year’s present for your cool, hippie uncle or busy mom friend that needs help unwinding after a long day.
What if you could get world-renown wellness teachers in your home to teach you some classes? Well, you can! A subscription to Glo brings yoga, meditation, and pilates to you, wherever you are. This is a great gift for the busy mom/dad, professional, or the beginner looking to learn a bit more before heading into a studio class.
Help someone special get their zen on, namaste.
Send someone to the ancient baths for the most relaxing of experiences.
AIRE, located in Chicago’s west loop, is like another world filled with soothing vibes, calms sounds, steam rooms, and therapeutic water baths. You need to see this place to believe it actually exists in the middle of the city because it is pure aqua magic!
If I may add one more idea to your gift-giving this year. Include a handwritten card. Life is too short to not jot down a mini love letter to the special person or people in your life. The reader will experience the art of the written word and will cherish your card. Maybe more so than the gift itself.
Comment below with any other experiential gifts you love giving – it’s the gift that keeps on giving.
Happy holidays! xo, Lauren