Material gifts are great — but there’s something about the best experience gifts that effortlessly tops anything you could ever unwrap. When it comes to shopping for someone who seemingly already has every thing they could ever want, this especially rings true. But what is an experience gift, and why should you gift one to someone you love?
Why Experience Gifts Make the Best Gifts
Think about every gift you’ve been given over the course of your lifetime. Chances are that a few that stick out for sentimental reasons, but it’s likely that most of those gifts are hard to remember — unless they were an experience gift. For instance, you may not remember that doll your parents got you as a child, but you definitely remember those concert tickets they splurged on for you. And you may not remember the first gift your significant other gave you, but what about that time they whisked you away on a surprise vacation? You’ll never forget that. While we all want nice things, they’re not what makes the biggest impact. What we all really crave (and cherish) are the memories we make in life, not the things we are given. So the gift of making new memories? That’ll always be a hard one to top.
The Best Experience Gifts
Whether the person is hard to shop for or simply someone who values moments over momentos, we have the perfect gifts for people of all ages below. Ready to see what’s in store? Keep scrolling for the best experience gifts sure to become lasting memories.
Best Outdoors Experience Gift
1. Best Outdoor Experience Gift
Perfect for anyone who enjoys the outdoors, this holiday, gift someone you love with the America the Beautiful: The National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Pass. This year-long pass provides access to every national park from coast to coast. Best of all, each pass holder can bring up to three people along with them for free, making this a great gift you can share with the people you love.
Where to buy: $80, USGS
Best Live Event Concert Experience Gift
2. Best Event Experience Gift
Whether it's tickets to their favorite band or a Broadway play, for an experience they'll never forget, head on over to SeatGeek. You can score tickets to every live event under the sun. SeatGeek scours dozens of ticket sites with each search, so finding the best tickets to live entertainment has never been easier. And thanks to SeatGeek’s Deal Score system, they can analyze thousands of ticket listings and rates to find you the best bang for your buck. After all, creating lifelong memories shouldn't cost a fortune.
Where to buy: Prices vary, SeatGeek
Best Cooking Experience Gift
3. Best Cooking Experience Gift
Know someone who could stand to change up their eating habits? Want to help someone you love learn how to cook? Then gift them with a subscription to Hello Fresh. Each week, Hello Fresh will deliver two to four meals with pre-measured ingredients along with simple step-by-step recipes that can be whipped in no time. The best part? Each recipe comes with a visual recipe card, making cooking fun and recreating recipes a breeze.
Where to buy: $8.99 per serving, Hello Fresh
Best Learning Experience Gift Masterclass
4. Best Educational Experience Gift
Know someone who dreams of cooking like Wolfgang Puck, writing like Judy Blume, or playing tennis like Serena Williams? Thanks to Masterclass, you can learn from the best of the best themselves. Featuring the knowledge and insights of some of the world's greatest minds, the gift of a Masterclass is perfect for anyone looking to either learn a new skill, sharpen old ones, or finally pursue their passions. Unsure which class to get? New this year, Masterclass has unveiled their all-access pass, granting access to over 35 courses, all with the click of a button.
Where to buy: $90 to $180, Masterclass
Best Relaxation Spa Experience Gift
5. Best Spa Experience Gift
For an experience they'll really treasure, give someone a gift card to Spa Week. With over 9,000 participating locations nationwide, Spa Week can connect anyone, anywhere to a wide range of spas, salons, and wellness centers in their area. Simply choose an amount you'd like to give, and let Spa Week do the rest. With this card, your gift-ee can choose from an array of services (like a brand new haircut, a relaxing facial, or a deep tissue massage), and Spa Week will find the perfect local location for them to get their spa on. Great for anyone, like a hardworking mom, who deserves a little pampering, help someone you love unwind with the spa experience of a lifetime.
Where to buy: $10 to $500, Spa Week
Best Dinner Date Experience Gift
6. Best Romantic Experience Gift
Looking to plan a thoughtful experience for someone you love? At Cloud 9, creating lifelong memories through amazing experiences is their core mission. With options for every taste, budget, and style, planning the ultimate romantic surprise just got a whole lot easier. Simply enter your location and Cloud 9 will connect you with local providers that can help you plan everything from a simple, intimate dinner date to an elaborate sunset sailing excursion.
Where to buy: Prices vary, Cloud 9
Best Caligraphy Experience Gift
7. Best Artistic Experience Gift
Looking to make this holiday season special with a gift for the artists in your life? At Brit + Co, whether they enjoy painting with watercolors, making jewelry, or scrapbooking, there's a class suited for them. One of our favorites is their immersive calligraphy bundle! Featuring both their introductory and intermediate calligraphy courses, mastering the art of hand lettering is fun and easy with Brit + Co courses.
Where to buy: $46, Brit + Co
Best Vacation Experience Gift
8. Best Vacation Experience Gift
Surprising someone with a vacation is the ultimate experience gift, but it's also the most stressful. The solution? Let Pack Up + Go plan it for you! Simply fill out their questionnaire detailing your budget, travel dates, and preferences, and they'll handle the rest. There is one catch: You won't know where you're going until it's time to pack up and go.
Where to buy: Prices vary, Pack Up + Go
Best Experience Gift For Kids
9. Best Experience Gift for Kids
While toys are many people's first inclination when it comes to holiday gifts for kids, this year, gift a kid in your life with the power of learning and a subscription box from Kiwi Co. One of the biggest names in subscription boxes for kids, Kiwi Co. is unique thanks to its focus on STEAM, or science, technology, engineering, art, and math. Each month, your child will receive a box filled with fun, hands-on activities designed to encourage a sense of discovery and the chance to build something with their own two hands. Not only will they get kick out of each new monthly experience, it's a great way to show your kids how fun learning can be.
Where to buy: $16.95, Kiwi Co.