I talk all the time about how much I love finding just the right gift for people, so this time of year really makes me happy. I plan and I make lists and I comparison shop and I typically order my gifts really, really early. You know, to be safe. But sometimes, things happen. Sometimes, the package is late, or arrives broken, or is the wrong size, or just sucks. Sometimes, the gift bears no resemblance to what you were imagining. And sometimes, you just plain forget.
But just because you need a last-minute gift doesn’t mean it has to be lame (or a gift card). When I am in a pinch and don’t have time to get something really inspired, I often instead give the gift of an experience. And experiences don’t just make great last-minute gifts; they’re also great for people who have everything (or who have no room for anything).
So today’s gift guide is meant to give you ideas for experiences that can get you out of a jam (and make you a hero)! Most of the items linked below are for things in New York (because that’s where I am), but they’re meant to give you ideas for something near you (or your gift recipients).
- If your recipients are a couple with children, one of the best gifts you can give them is a date night. Get them a gift certificate to a restaurant or tickets to a show, and offer to babysit. If you can’t spring for a meal or a show, just giving them a “gift certificate” for a free night of babysitting would still be pretty great.
- Of course, your single friends might need a different kind of help.
- Sometimes, cheesy, touristy experiences in your recipients’ hometown can be a total blast.
- If you’re going to give the gift of a class, make sure it’s taught by the very, very best.
- I generally eschew gift certificates, but an Airbnb gift certificate could be used for something amazing that fits their taste and schedule (like a stay in a castle in Europe for under $100 per night).
- You might consider giving a flying trapeze class, which most people in reasonably decent physical shape (who are not afraid of heights) would enjoy.
- A meal and wine tasting can be a really thoughtful gift, and when it’s at a restaurant or vineyard you’d recommend, you know their experience is going to be a good one.
- And if wine tasting isn’t quite the thing for your gift recipient, how about beer?
- Do you and your recipient have a love/hate relationship? This might be good therapy for you both…
- Cooking classes are extra awesome if they’re for a food they love or with a celebrity chef they admire.
- I’m a big fan of giving people lessons I think they might enjoy, especially unexpected ones.
- Theater tickets can be terribly expensive, but there’s a lot more out there than just Broadway. Tickets to a community theater production or off-Broadway show can be great, too.
- If theater isn’t their thing, maybe consider giving tickets to a TV show taping.
- No idea what to get the kids on your gift list? A family-friendly outing could be fun for the whole family!
- Great things can happen when you take people out of their comfort zone.
- These days, many people would be grateful for the chance to escape reality.
- Of course I love museums, but they’re not for everyone. Or are they…
- Sometimes, the best gift is giving a loved one the opportunity to slow down and spend quality time with you. Everybody wins!
Happy experience gift giving!