"Experience" Gift Ideas

One of my favorite ways to pass time is to organize and purge. Ask my husband… nothing is safe in our house. I go through piles, closets, drawers, and toy bins on the regular. I can’t stand clutter so much so that I often donate things we haven’t even used or opened. We are ridiculously blessed and our kids (albeit forever bored) have so many toys and games and pets and heck, even a zip line in their own backyard. Our cup overfloweth.

I am a firm believer in “less is more”. I wouldn’t go as far to say that I am a minimalist, but I don’t keep ahold of things sentimentally all too often and like to only have what we’ll use currently. Sometimes it seems like a wonderful quirk of mine when the house is clean or the closet is organized. Other times, it’s a pain in the rear. Like when my husband and I argue over how many tools is overboard while I accuse him of hoarding or I throw away a pile of paperwork that he REALLY needed during my last office purge.


Nonetheless, more recently I’ve wanted to just stop the cycle. As much as I enjoy a good purge, what would be most beneficial and productive for my family is to stop the process two steps back. Instead of gathering and shopping and getting surplus, only to get overwhelmed with the “muchness” of our homes and stuff it in a plastic trash bag to donate a few months later… why not reduce what we let in? Why not surround ourselves with less “stuff” and fulfill our desire for “more” with experiences?

Insert my new idea. “Experience gifts” are at the top of my list. I can’t be the only mama who feels this way? In fact, I know I’m not. I’ve had article after article pop up on my newsfeed with moms begging people to stop buying so many toys. I’m suggesting things we can’t wrap or put under the Christmas Tree but that will fill our loved ones and let them know we specifically thought of them and didn’t just grab a gift card at CVS on the way over. So if we aren’t scurrying around on black Friday for the cheapest random gifts we can find or lining up for Toy-R-Us door busters, what in the Sam Hill do I suggest to your eager loved ones ready to play Santa? Why I’m glad you asked…


“Experience Gift” Ideas for Everyone on Your Holiday List




They can be for one day, one week, a year, or a family pass. Any pass to anything. I know the Orlando Science Center has a grandparent pass that includes kids and two adults. That way the Grandparents can take the kids all year when they want to have a day with them AND the parents get a break… I mean that’s a double whammy gift that just keeps on giving!!!

These places are other ideas: Crayola Experience, Orlando Science Center, Sea World, The Zoo, Wonderworks, Disney (BALLIN’). Basically, anything that offers a pass to it.   



Okay so this one can be tricky. It’d obviously have to be discussed with the parents prior to gifting it to your grandchild, niece, nephew, or whatever person in your life. Given that it takes a desire to learn whatever skill and a commitment to follow through to the receiver of these “lessons” but it could be a really fun gift! Maybe you find a place that you can by a handful of lessons. Or a one night class. Nonetheless, if it is something you’ve heard the person on the receiving end express an interest in, the gift will go over well.

These are a few ideas to check into:  Music (THE MUSIC BOX), Language, Art, Dance, Cooking (PUBLIX COOKING SCHOOL)

I know that’s a general list but really the possibilities are endless. It works well both for adults and kids. Know a friend who can cook for crap? Get her a night at the Publix Cooking School or a Chocolate place that offers a fun class for desserts. Did your mom always say she wished she knew how to sing or paint or whatever? Find a Groupon for one of thosee Wine and Paint classes and she’ll feel inspired and excited! How about sending your parents do one of the ballroom dance classes to show them just how much they mean to you?


Shows. (Theatre)

Just this week I have gotten emails from The REP, The Dr. Phillips Center, and Amway. All showing their upcoming events well into the new year with an offer for Christmas gifts. This one may get a little tricky or expensive depending on who you are buying for and what show it is. For example, it’s easy to buy as a present for my daughter because I know she likes ballet and I know I will be the one taking her so I just buy two tickets. However, when buying for someone else you’ll need to purchase at least two tickets and let them know if that includes you joining or they get to pick their guest! Just a warning so you can avoid that awkwardness of not knowing! If you have all that figured out, tickets to some sort of show is a way to fill your gift recipients calendar instead of junk drawer!


Self care.

These are pretty basic but I think very overlooked experience gifts that you can’t go wrong with. Anything that says, “Hey take care of you for a sec.”



A treatment with a hairstylist. I recommend Lueur Hair Boutique 

A fancy shave.

A Facial.

Micro blading.

A “float session” in one of those weirdo tanks that I’m dying to try.



(A few others that don’t fit into a category)


Gym Boot Camp

This goes without saying, but the heart behind this one really matters. Don’t buy this one for your husband and offer it with a gift tag that’s filled with sarcasm because his love handles are staring at you. But if your bestie or sisterinlaw or brother has been mentioning trying new things or wanting to work on their health or just have fun with fitness, then this gift could be a hit! Hard Exercise Works offers a 5 week boot camp to get started. Not sure your loved one would commit to 5 weeks? Buy ‘em a few day passes and let them see how they like it!


Movie Tickets

Costco offers the actual tickets in a pack that you can literally just hand over to your loved one. Heck, this one may even work for those you aren’t close to like your mailman or neighbors! I’m sure they would love seeing a new movie in the theatre than a random something that will collect dust somewhere. That way they can pick the when and wear of the movie and it feels more intentional than “just a gift card”


Photo Session

We are the generation of capturing everything. We do photo shoots for EVERYTHING. So why not purchase a mini session or an hour family shoot from Fresh Photography for someone you love? They will have something as priceless as the memories and even get to determine how and when and what that looks like to hang in their home.


My other tips would be to search Groupon or Living Social. Sign up for their emails and you’ll get the ones that are geared for “experiences” even. Scroll those options and you can come across some fun activities that you didn’t even know about. The cool thing is, if you live far away from someone you can put in their city and still get them something appropriate for where they live! Another idea would be to know what your recipient is already involved in and just coordinate to pay for their next lesson, trip, adventure, tuition. That one doesn’t seem as fun but it is certainly practical and anyone who is “adulting” can appreciate that!

By the way, you do you. This isn’t to bash anyone at all. I know I’ve got a closet full of gifts to wrap for my own kids and family… but if you were happening to want to try something different this year than here ya go. I hope this list helps!


Candace Gutierrez