Physical gifts can be cool for a moment, but the memories they create are what truly last a lifetime. This holiday season, why not do your friends and family a favor by skipping the usual physical presents? Maybe consider giving a unique Christmas experience instead?

An experiential gift is just as thoughtful as something you can hold in your hand. The difference is that it won’t end up gathering dust, getting re-gifted, or donated. That’s because experiences, whether it’s a subscription, an activity, or a class, let people give people memories. Whether the giftee does it on their own, with their family, or even with you, it offers opportunities for learning and exploration.

The possibilities are limitless with Christmas experience gifts.

If you’re searching for an exciting experience for adults or children, ther are lots of choices. You could start with something as simple as covering the dinner tab for a couple. Another option is going big by planning a fantastic trip as the ultimate gift for your spouse. For kids and teens, they can dive into fun activities. These can be learning to play an instrument or mastering the art of making their favorite dessert.

Another advantage of opting for experiential gifts is that they make ideal last-minute presents. They can be conveniently purchased online. And if all else fails, a gift card is always an option.

Let’s face it: most of the stuff we buy just because we like it or think we need it tends to fade into the background pretty quickly. This is especially true when they’re given as gifts. We’ve all had those times when we eagerly tore into a physical gift at Christmas or a birthday, only to realize it didn’t quite live up to the hype. It’s even worse when you know that time and money were spent on something you’re not too thrilled about.

Experiences can enrich our lives, contributing to personal growth and opening our minds to new horizons. Meanwhile, dust collectors, especially the ones from distant relatives, don’t quite measure up. You know that feeling, right? It’s like saying, “Thanks, Aunt Rose, but I could’ve done without that Christmas scarf and hand lotion from the buy-one-get-one special at the mall.”

So, when the holiday season or other celebrations roll around, and you’re stuck with gift-buying, consider giving experiences instead of physical items. To help you get started, here are some experiential gifts that would make great Christmas gifts.

  • Memberships

    Gifting an annual membership to a zoo, museum, aquarium, or perhaps, for those aged 21 and above, a wine club or mug club membership can make for a wonderful holiday gift. It’s a simple and thoughtful gesture that can benefit almost everyone this season. Offering your friends or family several months or a full year at a location they cherish is an excellent method to provide them with extra savings and a valuable present they can enjoy throughout the year.

    Indonesian girls pointing at python in terrarium

    DragonImages/ Getty Images

  • Outdoor Experiences

    Offer the gift of a year-long adventure with the America the Beautiful Annual Pass. This pass grants free entry to all 115 National Parks with entrance fees, along with over 3,000 other federal lands. The pass includes the pass holder and up to three accompanying adults (aged 16 and above), with free admission for children under 15. Similar passes are available at various state parks, city and county parks, as well as botanical gardens nationwide, either for online purchase or directly on-site. It’s a thoughtful present for anyone who enjoys the outdoors.

    National Park Service sign with snow Zion

    Mike Lewis/ Getty Images

  • Personalized Celebrity Videos

    Imagine the excitement of receiving a personalized video message from your beloved celebrity, something you can hold onto for a lifetime. Cameo provides a platform where you can hire celebrities and athletes to create personalized videos, making them memorable gifts. The pricing for Cameo videos is set individually by thousands of actors, artists, and influencers and can range from as low as $1 to as high as $15,000 for personal videos, depending on the celebrity’s status and demand.

    Excited attractive hispanic couple laughing having fun together while texting and using social media during christmas looking happy

    Antonio_Diaz/ Getty Images

  • Movie Gift Card

    It’s reassuring to know that you’re offering your loved ones something they can personally choose and appreciate. Movie gift cards are a great option as they usually have no expiration date and can be used to buy movie tickets and concessions at the specific theater or theaters from which they are purchased. The recipient can use it for any movie they desire, without having to dip into their own funds.

    Close up popcorn and movie paper tickets with light mall background

    dontree_m/ Getty Images

  • Amusement Park Passes

    Consider giving tickets to a theme park amusement park as one of the most enjoyable experiential gifts. When presenting tickets as a gift, there’s room for creativity in how you package the gift, whether in a sizable wrapped box or as part of a unique scavenger hunt.

    Shot of young friends riding roller coaster ride at amusement park. Young people having fun at amusement park.

    Jacob Ammentorp Lund/ Getty Images

  • Indoor Attraction Passes

    There are plenty of enjoyable indoor activities to explore, including options like indoor rock climbing, trampoline centers, indoor skydiving, game centers, arcades, and escape rooms. A gift of this kind can be especially convenient for those times when you’re looking for indoor entertainment, especially during bad weather.

    Pretty girl and her daughter kid jumping on colorful trampoline at playground park and smiling. Beautiful family during active entertaiments

    Zheka-Boss/ Getty Images

  • Concert or Show Tickets

    Concert or show tickets are a great gift choice. They provide a one-of-a-kind experience and make for a thoughtful way to celebrate your best friend and their interests. Even if they’ve seen the band before, each performance is unique and memorable.

    Happy festivalgoer and his girlfriend taking selfie in front of a stage during music concert at night.

    Drazen Zigic/ Getty Images

  • Sporting Event Tickets

    If you have a sports enthusiast in your circle, giving them tickets to a baseball game is a thoughtful gesture to express your care. It’s also an excellent means of enjoying quality time together while rooting for your favorite team. To make the experience even better, you can go the extra mile by including a food voucher along with the tickets.

    The imaginary stadium is modelled and rendered.

    efks/ Getty Images

  • Self Care Experience

    Offer the perfect gift of relaxation and beauty, whether it’s a spa day, a massage, a facial, or a visit to the salon for hair styling, a wash, or a manicure and pedicure. Depending on the recipient, this could be something you can enjoy together. It’s an opportunity to unwind and connect, spending quality time together, catching up on life, sharing some laughter, and reminiscing about the past.

    Close up portrait of beautician's hand massaging patient's face with jade roller at spa salon. Beauty woman face skin care. Body care, spa.

    Strelciuc Dumitru/ Getty Images

  • Classes or Lessons

    Lessons in various experiences, such as cooking classes, dance lessons, or sewing lessons, can be beneficial to many. This kind of gift is well-suited for people who enjoy learning and trying out new experiences. By gifting classes or lessons, you provide someone with an additional means of self-expression.

    Active teenagers performing salsa dance inside studio.

    JackF/ Getty Images

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