Experience Gifts: Great for the last-minute shopper, the person who has everything, and the minimalist all at the same time. These affordable ideas for experience gifts make memories they’ll keep forever! Skip the stores and the stuff altogether!
This year for Christmas, hubby and I were coming up empty for ideas for our Christmas wish lists. Oh, there were a few odds and ends that would be fun. But generally, we’ve reached a point in our lives where we have
enough too much stuff, we’re not really into collecting things, and we generally buy our own clothes. So…
In an effort to reduce the clutter, and reach our 2017 goals of spending dedicated time together, we decided to give experience gifts this year! (Exception: We still will do stockings with a few fun treats). We’re hoping this could be a fun new tradition for our family!
And it’s not just Christmas where an experience gift would be appropriate: birthdays, anniversaries, Valentine’s Day, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day… think of all these gift-giving moments as an opportunity to grant an experience instead!
Our shopping “rules” for giving affordable experience gifts.
- We did a random draw of the 12 months of the year, each drawing 6 months. We each have to give the other an “experience” for the months we drew. We got one “exchange” to even out the streak of 5 months in a row I drew! ha!
- The experience gifts had to be something we can do together. (Which, sadly, eliminates spa days, but…)
- I would focus on things I thought HE would like, and vice versa. (So… maybe a spa day?!)
- We set a budget cap of $50 per experience but aimed for less (for 2! yes, it was hard! And yeah, definitely NO spa day!). Any savings on one month could apply to another month.
- The experience couldn’t require a SET in stone date, since weather and illness might prevent scheduling.
After that, we just had to find six experiences in our general area to give each other! (I’m pretty excited about the ones I found, and can’t wait to update this post after Christmas with the ones he found!).
Affordable Ideas for Experience Gifts Under $50
A cooking class or show – A quick Google search will likely bring up a number of cooking classes in your area. Decide whether you want a class that is just a demo, or a hands-on experience. In Connecticut, we have a new offering along the shoreline: Romancing the Pan is a live cooking show and class! The show is taped separately, but you can get in on a class experience with the show’s star, Chef Sandy. She’ll share some of her favorite dishes with you and let you get involved as well! I highly recommend checking Groupon to get the best deals on experiences like this, otherwise you won’t fit it into the $50 budget range!
A walking tour of a nearby city – You could learn a little history or… do something really different and go for a Wacky Walk! Wacky Walks turn your whole city into a giant board game, and you’re the player! Use your smartphone to navigate, visit the checkpoints to answer questions and perform zany tasks. At the end, you’ll work together with your team to solve a puzzle using all your answers! Each walk takes about 2 hours, and it’s a great couples or family experience. There’s no need for a tour guide, so you can go whenever you like, although during certain hours there is an online tour guide chat option. You’ll learn a little more about your city as you walk, taking your own pace to get through the course. Wacky Walks has tours available in 100 cities, so this could be a great option for a vacation adventure too!
Visit the Wacky Walks website to order tickets (and look for a coupon code for an awesome discount while you’re there!).
Indoor mini golf – Get a little taste of summer fun… any time of year! Indoor mini golf (often paired with a bowling or other arcade game type fun), is a great option for any age group. Groupon is an excellent place to look for tickets for activities like this.
Escape Room adventure – The ultimate experience for those who love a mystery and always dreamed of being a detective! You’ll be put in a new environment, find objects, and piece together clues to gain your final objective (which is, unlocking yourself!). There are a variety of companies offering these kinds of “escape room” adventures, and most seem to be played with 2-8 people. Tickets run about $30 per person.
Indoor (or outdoor) Ropes Courses – An active adventure fun for two or a group! There are indoor, outdoor, treetop, and even in-store ropes and climbing courses all over Connecticut and likely in your state too! Average ticket prices run between $18-30.
Boat tour of a local spot – You may have to do a bit of Googling, but look around for lakes and islands of notable history. Chances are, if you find a spot like this, there’ll be a boat tour of it! (or Google boat tours + your state). When we went on our honeymoon in the U. S. Virgin Islands, we took an awesome boat tour of Virgin Gorda, a big rock pile island in the middle of the Caribbean! It was so lovely! In Connecticut, the Thimble Islands are tiny islands off the coast of Branford that often hold just one house! You can use any of three boat tour companies to take a 1 hour tour and learn about the Islands history and lore! Prices will definitely vary depending on where you are touring.
Dinner at a national heritage society – Explore family heritage and culture! Look up the local “home” or “society” for your giftee’s nationality. Often these spots offer membership for a reasonable rate, and sometimes hold dinners or have restaurants on site that feature authentic regional cuisine!
Whale Watch (or other water adventure trip!) – I have to include this because we are New Englanders. Going on a Whale Watch has been on my bucket list for some time, and if you’re in New England, it’s a great pick. Other states may have their own ocean creature adventures to explore. Check out Groupon for experiences like this, as you’ll be sure to find great pricing.
Date Night Boxes – Sometimes you just can’t go out. When that happens, gift a box that contains an experience to enjoy from the comfort of home. A Date Night Box will usually have some treats, games and activities centered around a theme for you and your special someone to enjoy together!
Food Tasting Experience – Create your own experience at home with a food tasting night (or find a local artistan farm!). Maybe you try different kinds of cheeses, coffees, chocolates. How about a Honey Tasting Kit? Our family really enjoyed the honey tasting at Red Bee Farm this summer, and it would be an experience gift to remember!
All these experiences are perfect for couples or adult groups, and most of them are awesome for families with young children or teenagers too!
What kinds of experiences gifts have you been given? Or would you like to receive?
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Thanks to Wacky Walks for sponsoring this post and providing gifts certificates to me and the giveaway winner! All opinions are my own.