Skip to content
Join Life Time
friends cooking

If you want to give a gift that lasts, keep in mind that experiences may provide more enduring happiness than physical presents, according to one study conducted at Cornell University.

For example, Megan McKeever, a Brooklyn-based editor and mother of two, once received a ticket for a skydiving lesson from her husband. “Roy made a scrapbook of all our adventures: pictures, napkins and matchbooks from restaurants, concert tickets, etc. He even printed out the emails from setting up our first date. At the end of the scrapbook, he made a little pocket that said something like ‘And here’s our next adventure.’ Inside was the gift certificate to go skydiving.”

The gift of experience can also include lower-adrenaline options:

walking-tour map of a city someone is planning to visit is a great idea; so is a walking tour of landmarks in your own city. The latter can double as a sweet opportunity to spend time together, making it even more meaningful.

Tickets of all kinds — to concerts, plays, live podcast performances, standup nights, or whatever your recipient likes best — make excellent offerings. This is another present that sets you up to spend time with someone.

Another treat for the traveler: language lessons. Sure, they could learn from an app, but nothing beats in-person practice conversations for developing fluency.

cooking class is a superb gift for novice cooks who love food, as well as for experienced chefs who want to learn a specialized skill, like making pastry.

Restaurant gift certificates are reliably welcome. Who doesn’t relax more over dinner knowing that the tab is already paid?

Dance lessons are a fun present for your favorite social butterfly — or anyone on your list who’s looking to get out and meet people. Lessons for dances that require a partner, like salsa, tango, or swing, also make a great gift for a couple or as something you plan to do with a friend. Many studios also welcome solo dancers to partner-dance classes.

Many of your foodie friends will be delighted to go to wine tastings, and you could also surprise them with a tasting for cheese, olive oil, balsamic vinegar, or tea.

Travel-themed gifts are always a sweet surprise for your footloose family and friends. You can transfer some of your own frequent-flier miles or hotel points to the recipient’s account, buy them an airline gift card so they can start a trip with some expenses covered, or offer a gift certificate for a hotel or resort where you know they love to go.

It can also be fun for a family or group of friends to pitch in for a weekend getaway together — in lieu of exchanging gifts. That also gives you something positive to anticipate in the new year.

For more thoughtful presents that don’t add to life’s clutter, see “Minimalist Gift Ideas.”

Jessie Sholl

Jessie Sholl is an Experience Life contributing editor.

Thoughts to share?

This Post Has 0 Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


More Like This

Back To Top