There's a movement to stop gifting things and start gifting experiences. Here are some ideas to inspire you.


More and more people are actively trying to help people make memories with their gifts. Bazaarvoice partnered with Wakefield Research to survey 2,500 U.S. adults about their holiday shopping expectations. They found that 90 percent of people still plan to give physical gifts for the holidays, but nearly one in three plan to also give meaningful experiences to their loved ones.

small kraft paper-wrapped gift with bow in hands
Credit: Jacob Fox

Experiential giving is a hit with millenials: 46 percent plan to give experiences as gifts. And we’re seeing a rise in parents and other family members looking for experiences to gift kids and as a way to spend time with friends in the new year.

Experience gifts ease the stress of trying to figure out the perfect item for each person on your list by giving time instead. (You can also try one of our last-minute gift ideas—and then maybe gift yourself the gift of self-care.)

What Experiences to Give as Gifts

Try Local Passes

Signing up for individual or group memberships to local attractions is a great way to bond as a family, spend time with friends, or get the kids out of the house. Need a reason to just plain have fun? By a pass to movie theaters, amusement parks, or swimming pools. What to have fun while learning things? Try someplace educational, like museums, aquariums, or community education programs.

adding strings to ornaments

Get Crafty

This gift is all about taking the time to make something meaningful either together or separately. Consider local classes, or use some of our simple crafting how-tos to make projects all year long. Bonus: This year’s experience could be next year's gifts.

wrapping party presents

Host a Party

Give the gift of time by having friends and family over for a holiday party. Host a gift wrapping party before the holidays or a New Year’s Champagne-theme party. Give party favors that include invitations to your next get-together, so you can keep making memories with those you love.

Photo courtesy of Getty Images

Go On an Adventure

Plan ahead for a chance to ditch the cabin fever and go on an adventure, whether it’s a trip to an exotic location or a day trip to an outdoor park. Your experience can be as simple as a voucher to hike a local trail, a trip to a National Park, or a never thought-of destination.

Add a Membership

Subscriptions are popular ways to keep giving all year long. Of-the-month clubs have a bad rep for being impersonal, but these days you can personalize almost anything. You can find a subscription box for everyone on your list. There are fashion and beauty boxes, toys and games for kids, meal services, and even items based on a favorite TV-shows.

Or look at subscription-based media services. They allow you to give the gift of unlimited music, video, and news for what you might have paid for one album or DVD 10 years ago. And these gifts last all year long.


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