Christmas is just around the corner, and that means it is time to start thinking about what gifts you are going to buy for your friends and family. But instead of buying a bunch of stuff for the important people in your life that will probably end up sitting around and collecting dust, consider getting creative this holiday season.

Showering people with every gadget and trinket on their wish list may seem like a good idea. However, stuff is like junk food. You enjoy it for a little while, but then the novelty wears off, and you are left with a feeling of emptiness. Instead, what really makes a lasting impression and helps to build memories is an experience gift.

10 Great Experiential Gift Ideas

surprising christmas presents

Things don't make you happy. Research suggests that you should spend money on experiences instead of material possessions because it can boost your feel-good hormones. And it leaves you with a memory you won't forget it.

For this list, we will give you ten experience gift ideas for the people in your life who don't need more things.

1. Tickets

man with tickets

Do you have a friend or loved one who has a favorite sport or team? Maybe there is someone in your life who enjoys live music or stand-up comedy? Chances are there is someone in your world who loves to attend live events, and there is nothing better than tickets to something that they will love.

Sports teams have multiple game ticket packages as well as single-game tickets. And, there are major artists who have scheduled 2019 tours, like Cher, Carrie Underwood, Mumford & Sons, Paul McCartney, and Luke Combs.

If you do buy tickets as a gift, you can put them in a festive card and envelope. Or, to throw off your loved one, you can wrap them in a big box.

2. A Bucket List Item

man and woman skydiving

Just about everyone has a bucket list filled with different types of things they want to experience in life, and it is likely that not all of the items on the list include expensive travel. Many people have items like skydiving, bungee jumping, learning how to ski, going on a road trip, learning karate, or riding in a hot air balloon.

Find out what is on your loved one's bucket lists and see if there is something that fits your budget. You just have to be a bit sneaky about your intentions, so you don't give away the surprise!

3. Movie Night In A Box

family movie night

It is easier than ever to enjoy a movie at home, but you can create a family event by giving the gift of a movie night in a box. Put together a box filled with some classic Blu-Rays or a Roku Express (it features apps like Hulu, Netflix, and Amazon and it will connect to any TV), some popcorn, candy, and soda. Also, you will want to add some pizza gift cards or make your best dish, like a lasagna or casserole, that you can freeze, that way no one has to cook during movie night.

If you want to get really fancy, you could hire a personal chef for the evening to make a meal for everyone while they enjoy the movies.

4. Put Together A One-Day Vacation

family on a road trip

A gift of a vacation can get pricey, but if you limit it to just one full day of activities at an amusement park, water park, bowling alley, miniature golf course, or skating rink - and maybe throw in a night at a hotel - you can give the gift of a one-day mini vacation.

If you think about what your budget is for physical gifts for everyone in the family, you might discover that the cost of a one-day vacay isn't much more. It might even be a bit cheaper.

Simply wrap the tickets and print up an itinerary for the day and wrap those in a gift bag or holiday card.

5. Family Game Night Gift Box

game night

It's so easy for everyone in the family to be wrapped up in their electronic devices all hours of the day and night. So, a great gift idea for the family is a game night gift box to encourage everyone to put their devices away and have some fun together.

Grab a box or basket and load it with some board games or card games, snacks, and beverages. Then, add an invitation for the game night to include with the gift.

6. A Super Large Puzzle

puzzle pieces

We aren't talking about a simple 500-piece jigsaw puzzle. Instead, companies like Ravensburger have massive puzzles with over 10,000 pieces that the entire family can solve together. This will be an experience that everyone will remember for a long time.

This is one of the easiest gifts on the list to wrap because all you have to do is wrap the box!

7. Date Night Gift Basket

couple having a date night in

For a couple with young kids, having a date night can be a challenge. So, the date night gift basket is a perfect choice for a couple who needs some alone time.

You can do this two different ways. You can opt for an at-home date night basket that you load up with a couple of Blu-Rays, some popcorn, Lindor truffles, and a bottle of wine. Or, if you want to go bigger, you can do an away-from-home date night basket that features tickets to a movie theater or a tour of a local winery or brewery, a gift card for dinner, and maybe even a night in a hotel.

Just remember, if you go with the second option, you need to make arrangements for the kids. Either volunteer to babysit for the night or hire a babysitter to take care of the kids while the parents enjoy a night alone.

8. Spa Day

girlfriends having a spa day

There are two different options for a spa day gift. You can schedule a home spa day for a mother and daughter and load up a basket with some nice manicure tools, nail polish, face masks, some chocolate treats, and a couple of chick flicks - like The Notebook orDirty Dancing - to play in the background while you enjoy your manicure, pedicure, and facial.

Or, you can buy a day of relaxation at a local spa that includes a manicure/pedicure, facial, massage, and other beauty treatments. This will be more expensive, but it will give the women in your life an opportunity to enjoy a day of beauty at a relaxing spa instead of at home.

9. Membership To A Local Attraction

little girl at a museum

Cover the membership fee at a local attraction, like a performing arts theater, the zoo, or museum. Most of these places will give members some perks like free tickets or priority seating, and it will be a gift that continues to give all year long.

For example, at the local zoo where I live, there are different membership levels you can purchase that come with benefits like discounts at the gift shop, special tours that aren't available to the public, and invites to special previews and parties when a new exhibit opens.

There are also places like trampoline centers, amusement parks, and rock-climbing gyms where you can get memberships and enjoy their services year round.

All you have to do to wrap this gift is to print out the membership certificate or take the certificate the facility gave you and put it in a festive envelope or gift bag.

10. Sign Them Up For A Class

cooking class

If you have a friend or family member who has been talking about learning a skill, like cooking, jewelry making, scrapbooking, self-defense, sewing, yoga, or photography, then find a class and sign them up. And, if you are interested in learning the skill, sign you and your loved one up together so you can share the experience.

To wrap this gift, print a flyer and class schedule and put it in an envelope. Or, if there are any basic supplies needed for the class, go ahead and pick those up and wrap those along with the flyer and schedule.

Experiences make the best gifts. So instead of filling up your shopping cart online or at the store with a bunch of material items, consider giving the gift of a memorable experience. Your family and friends will be talking about it well into the new year.

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