Happy Friday! Coming in right under the buzzer, the much-requested post for experiences and out-of-the-box gift ideas! 😂
Whether you’re still looking for gifts, are looking to upgrade your current options, 😉 or are always on the hunt for ideas throughout the year, I hope this roundup gives you lots of inspiration! Spending time with friends and family and finding ways to gift and elevate their experiences are such amazing ways to create lasting memories! Without further ado:
Food tour or wine tasting on an upcoming trip
These ideas are popular honeymoon gifts and for good reason- they enrich their vacations SO MUCH! I’ve never been steered wrong by google In trying to find a great food tour, but AirBNB Experiences is also worth looking into! They offer amazing activities, tours, tastings and more all over the world by local, experienced guides. I HIGHLY recommend Secret Food Tours (we took their tour in Barcelona but they have them in so many cities!) Eating Europe tours (we took their Taste of Testaccio food tour in Rome but they also have many European cities!) and if they’re going to Tuscany, a cooking class with Nonna Ciana!
Another idea: you could make them a reservation at a sought-after restaurant and give them the cash to pay for it. (I mean, who doesn’t still want to open a card with cash in it? 😂I WOULD.)
City tour or add-on experience
Similar idea to the above, if you know of any trips your giftee is taking in the upcoming year, gift them a city tour, rent them Vespas (although, in hindsight, I wouldn’t necessarily recommend riding them on the narrow cliffs of Mallorca 😂), or another fun add-on that will add a special touch on their trip that they might not have sprung for on their own.
Gift them a flight!
Flightgift is a company that allows you to gift dollars toward any airline! Amazing for anyone who loves to travel!
Do they have an upcoming trip to France? Have they always wanted to learn Spanish? Get them some language lessons! I would absolutely LOVE this gift!!
Little Passports membership
I first heard about this company on NPR! Little Passports creates award-winning subscriptions for kids that inspire them to learn about the world. They have boxes of all different subjects and for all different ages!
National Parks pass
Perfect for outdoor lovers and adventures seekers! The National Parks Pass is good for all of the National Parks in the U.S. and it gives back — REI donates 10% of proceeds through 2019 to the National Park Foundation. Win win.
A Flytographer gift card:
This is seriously THE BEST idea ever. For anyone who loves to travel (or a family who is taking an upcoming vacation together!) get them a Flytographer gift card, so they can have a professional photographer capture beautiful memories for them at their next destination! They have pretty much every major city worldwide!
Art & Entertainment-themed:
Gift a few months of Audible
I LOVE Audible! It’s my favorite way to “read” non-fiction, and lately, my favorite thing to do has been to listen to books I’ve already read because you get SO much more out of them! It also allows you to “read” during times you aren’t able to read a physical book–like when you’re commuting, cleaning, etc! I HIGHLY recommend starting with some of my favorites–like Michelle Obama’s Becoming (she reads it herself!), Daisy Jones and the Six, or Reese Witherspoon’s Whiskey in a Teacup! (Note: Audible is a sponsor but they didn’t sponsor this!!)
Broadway gift certificate
Do they love musicals and shows? Get them a Broadway gift certificate, and they can pick their own show and date!
Neal’s high school friend started this awesome company called Vinyl Me, Please! They have a record of the month club of sorts–such a fun gift for the music lover!
Race car or classic car driving experience
A fun idea for the adventure seekers in your life! Gift them a fast spin in their dream car. Check out options in your area. Warning- these can be on the pricer end! Another idea is renting a classic car on Turo, and go for a day drive together!
Package of lessons for a hobby they’ve always wanted to start
Whether it’s rock climbing, scuba diving, a photography class or guitar lessons, investing in someone’s passions and interests is always a great idea! It might be the little push they’ve been needing to finally take the leap.
Museum membership or private museum tour
This is especially great for someone with kids––a membership to a Children’s museum, or if they’re an art lover, the art museum, etc. Up the ante by booking a private museum tour! Museum Hack offers private, personalized tours in New York, Chicago, LA, San Francisco and D.C. for an intimate, in-depth experience!
New York Times Sunday subscription
Sports stadium tour
Looking for a fun idea for a sports fanatic? Give them a behind-the-scenes tour of their favorite team’s stadium, ballpark, or arena. This is a fun idea that is more unique than game tickets! Search Ticketmaster for events!
Food & Drink Themed:
Adopt an olive tree and get your own olive oil!
Reader Taylor suggested this one that she got for her mom via a company called Nudo! You can adopt an olive tree and then a year later, you get the olive oil from it!! How cool!?!?!
Distillery or brewery tasting tour
For the people on your list who enjoy the art of good a drink, book a tasting or tour to a distillery or brewery! Wrap the tour info with a bar kit or cocktail recipe book to complete the experience!
Wine club membership
For the wine lovers in your life, give the best small-production wines the country delivered right to their door! A Winestyr subscription includes four shipments of wine that isn’t available anywhere else! We’re members and we LOVE it! It also gets you access to their beautiful tasting space in Chicago, where you can set up a tasting anytime, FREE–and bring friends, too! **This is also a great gift for in-laws or parents who have everything!!**
Fitness & Wellness-themed:
AIRE Ancient Baths gift certificate
This is such a fun idea! Located in a restored factory close to Chicago’s West Loop, AIRE gives you access to this preserved structure brought back to its original splendor, where you can see the original exposed brick, wooden beams, and industrial columns of the building. Inside those walls a unique experience for the body and mind awaits, in a journey through the traditional Roman, Greek and Ottoman ancient experience of baths. They have locations in several other cities as well!
ClassPass gift certificate
An awesome gift for the fitness enthusiast that likes to mix things up vs commit to one particular gym! ClassPass is a monthly membership to over 30,000 gyms and fitness studios around the world.
Equilibria CBD gift card
Another great gift for anyone, Equilibria CBD! Give the gift of balance where your giftee can choose from soft gels, drops and relief cream and work with a dosage specialist to help them with their CBD routine. Check out my full Equilibria CBD review!
This is a great bonding idea for families! Goat yoga, which yes, is a yoga class practiced among live goats that climb all over you, has become increasingly popular and looks like an adorable, fun time for all! Look to see if there are opportunities in your area!
I LOVE the meditation app Headspace so much, especially their Sleep Casts that I like to play before bed––it makes such a thoughtful gift that truly keeps on giving!
You can never go wrong with a massage! It’s such a self-care luxury that they will be looking forward to using as soon as the holiday craze subsides. Write them a sweet card detailing how much they deserve an hour of relaxation! Check out Resort Pass for spa access to hotels and resorts near you! In Chicago, my favorite spas are the Waldorf Astoria and the Four Seasons!
Have you heard of Masterclass? They offer more than 70 classes from the best experts in the world. From Neil deGrasse Tyson teaching scientific thinking and communication, to Spanxx creator Sara Blakely on self-made entrepreneurs, and Anna Wintour on creativity and leadership, there’s a class for everyone on your list!
For those who love to sign up for races from color runs to marathons, consider paying their next entry fee! You could even sign up with them if you’re up for it! 😉 If not, you could offer to cheer them on and clink a celebratory toast with them afterward! I love this gift because it recognizes and encourages a passion your friends and family have!
Rent the Runway unlimited membership
I have so many friends who have a Rent the Runway Membership and they LOVE it, and they make it super easy to gift! Great for any style lover, people who have jobs in the public eye, OR someone who is always stressing out over what to wear!
Staycation or night out
Perfect for new parents or let’s face it, anyone, give the gift of relaxation! Whether it’s covering the cost of a stay at a hotel near them or covering the cost of drinks, dinner and child care, giving the gift of a well-deserved night out is always a win! If you’re looking for Chicago recommendations, check out Neal and I’s Chicago Staycation Itinerary!
City Scavenger Hunt
For people who love a challenge or someone who just moved to a new city, a city scavenger hunt is a fun, personalized gift! Let’s Roam has a library of scavenger hunts set up in cities across the U.S. This would also be a fun group/family gift they you could all enjoy together!
Home video screening
A GG reader shared that she turned her family’s home videos into a DVD and had a viewing Christmas morning! Such a sweet idea! Printing and framing photos throughout the year or creating photo books are great options, too, especially if you don’t have home video footage!
Monthly date/activity ideas
This idea came from a GG reader who gave her mom 12 cards with “mom/daughter” date descriptions, such as walk at the nature preserve, movie night, mani/pedi appt, etc. How cute is this?! Would work for anyone, too- family members, friends and significant others, and such a personalized gift that keeps giving throughout the year!
Taking Cara Babies class (for new parents!)
Okay this doesn’t really fit in this category but I didn’t know where else to put it 😂SO MANY of my friends SWEAR by the Taking Cara Babies online class to help learn how to help their babies sleep. (It’s not sleep training!) They have one for newborns and another one for 3-4 months and then 5-12 months. I can’t think of a better thing to gift someone who has a baby! (I just got the newborn class for my best friend as a shower gift as well!)
Plan a family photoshoot
As families grow and move apart in distance, time all together is so sacred! Make the most of it by organizing a family photoshoot! Book a photographer, scout a place and coordinate timing/outfits so the whole family can enjoy a big portrait and other family shots to commemorate your holiday together!
I hope this was helpful! What’s the best out-of-the box gift you’ve ever given or received?! Need more inspo? Check out my other gift guides for her, him and stocking stuffers and hostess gifts!