Getting and giving stuff seems to be what the holidays is all about. But stuff doesn’t make us happy. At least long term. Memories do, though. In fact, it’s been scientifically proven that they can make us happier with time. (And the length of the experience is irrelevant…so if you can only afford a 4 day vacation, that’s okay. You’ll remember it just as happily as a 2 week vacation.) So why not give the gift that keeps on giving? Give someone an experience this year rather than another Santa salt and pepper shaker or Xbox game. Here are 30 ideas.
1. The obvious, but most expensive: buy someone a vacation! (If you want to put a trip to Disney under the tree, I just happen to know a girl that has some insider savings tips.)
2. A day at the spa.
3. Lift tickets for that snowboarder or skier in your life.
4. Tickets to a concert.
5. Tickets to a museum.
6. Gift certificate to the movies. (We received this last year. Was seriously an amazing gift. Like giving us a date night.)
7. Tickets to a live play.
8. Tickets to a sporting event.
9. Admission to a laser show (like the ones they have at the science center.)
10. Do something that’s a sacrifice for you, but will make them really happy. (For the fiance’s birthday, I always watch a scary movie with him. I hate them. He loves them. And he loves when I watch them with him, even if I’m covering my eyes the whole time.)
11. Gift a night at your local observatory. (They usually have free nights!)
12. Tickets to the ballet or opera.
13. Admission to a historical site. (For example, there’s tons of colonial sites in my area, along with the Frick house and Fallingwater.)
14. Rock climbing passes.
15. A night at a DIY pottery painting place.
16. A tour of a factory. This sounds lame, but if you have kids there’s places like the Hershey and Crayola factories, both in PA, that offer tours of their facilities.
17. A tour of your own city. Many host free or name-your-own-price walking tours nowadays like Free Pittsburgh Walking Tours.
18. A restaurant gift certificate.
19. Reservations for a wine tasting at a vineyard. (Not my cup of tea, but can think of a couple of people I know that would love it.)
20. Be an ultra-babysitter. If you know someone who has kids and you want to give them a night out on the town, that’s amazing. But do them one better: give them a hangover recovery day by watching their little ones the next day, too. It’s true that it’s a big time commitment, but their parents will love you forever.
Ideas that Will Only Be Redeemable When the Weather’s Warm Again.
21. Zoo tickets.
22. Reserve a tee time.
23. Admission to a mini golf place for your mini golfers. A lot of these places have turned into kid day-resorts with go-karts, arcades, in-door playgrounds, the works.
24. Skydiving gift certificate.
25. Gift certificates for zip lining. (Like the one in North Park.)
26. Season pool passes. You could even do this in the cold weather if you got a membership to the Y or something.
27. Visit a national park. There’s so many across the country with so many varied activities to do at each of them. Unless you go on a free admission day, you’re going to have to pay to get in.
28. Tickets to your local amusement or water park.
Ideas Exclusively for Little Ones
29. A night out at Chuck E Cheese. Or someplace of the like. (Does anyone else remember and mourn the loss of Discovery Zone?)
What experiences would you add to the list?