5 Simple Ways to Give the Gift of Experiences

The Experience Economy aims to go beyond material gifts, and into memory-making. Experience gifts have been shown to boost happiness in a more sustained and meaningful way for both the giver and the recipient, and it all comes down to tightening up those social bonds and spending quality time with your inner circle.

But don't just think of the adrenaline junkies and adventure seekers on your list, the gift of experiences goes far beyond ticking off the boxes on the bucket list with a day of rock climbing, skydiving, or even getting the VIP concert tickets of their dreams. Experience gift-giving is for everyone, and with a little creativity, it can easily work with any budget.

Because doing things -- rather than having things -- brings us all more contentment, we've put together a unique gift guide that's packed with experience gift ideas. With 2020 shaping up to be different than last year, we've reimagined some experiences and offered up plenty of at-home options, too. No matter what type of fun experiences you're looking to dole out, we've got some of the best gifts to make it happen!

Learn, See or Do Something New

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The beauty of experience gifts is their versatility. Outside or at home, budget-friendly or a total splurge -- no matter what the special occasion is, gifting a new experience provides the chance for us to spend that QT with our family members and friends. An experience can be as bold as a trip to the nearest national park, or a creative afternoon of DIY crafting, learning new techniques and making one-of-a-kind home goods with a little help from Craft in Style or The Adults & Crafts Crate.

Giving a gift certificate to a cooking class can be the perfect expand-your-horizons idea for your foodie friend who prefers eating to cooking, or you can put a spin on it with an affordable monthly subscription, like Spicery Recipe Kits, where you can explore the diverse flavors of global cuisine side-by-side. Buy a gift card to treat your bestie to cocktails and convos at your favorite bar, or hit up the home bar and put your cocktail crafting skills to the test with Shaker & Spoon. The options are endless when it comes to learning, seeing and doing!

Dinner for 2 (or More)

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While picking up a gift certificate to share a meal at a favorite restaurant is always a nice option, you might be looking for a way to get that same effect while abiding by social distancing guidelines. From starters to fine wines, monthly boxes are a great gift that can help you create restaurant-quality meals right at home by sending top-shelf ingredients and easy-to-follow recipes.

Create authentic family-style Italian dishes with EatTiamo, or enjoy coastal cuisine with fresh sustainably sourced seafood from Fulton Fish Drop. Get some fine wines to pair with your meal, or gift a wine tasting experience with The International Wine of the Month Club, a box that features estate-bottled boutique wines, tasting notes and complementary recipes.

The Icing on the Cake

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From birthday cakes to Christmas cookies, baking is a tradition that goes hand-in-hand with all of our celebrations. Give a holiday gift that spreads the sweetness out throughout the year, while teaching them some of the tricks of the trade. Ideal for those who are interested in improving their baking skills or those who are motivated by the inevitable sugar rush, monthly baking kits are great for bakers of all ages and skill levels.

Complete with pre-measured dry ingredients and straightforward recipes, boxes like Bake Eat Love and Mix Box by Homemade Bakers make it easy to let them all eat cake (and cookies, cupcakes, cinnamon buns and more)!

A Romantic Night In

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With all that’s going on in the world, date night doesn’t have to be "Netflix and chill" on repeat. It can go well beyond picking up your favorite takeout and settling in for more of the same. Romance can be all about laughs, love, and deepening your connection with one another.

Monthly boxes are a perfect gift that helps you remove the stresses of date night planning and preparation. Offering a chance to add a little variety into your dating life and serving as a monthly reminder to prioritize your loved one, try out Crated With Love for a themed date night filled with games and engaging activities, or go for the open-and-go Date Night In, complete with conversation, music and snacks!

Fun and Games

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Experiences are also a great way for families to stay connected and make memories that will last longer than those toys and tech gadgets. Keeping in mind the ages and interests of the whole family, a trip to the Children’s Museum, the local animal sanctuary, or an entry into a trampoline park can be a gift to remember.

But, family fun doesn’t have to carry a high price tag or require plenty of planning. A consistent game night that offers challenge and cooperative competition can be a great way to let everyone get in on the action. Bring the escape room home with Escape the Crate, and unravel mysteries by piecing together the clues found in Finders Seekers. There’s nothing hard about staying home and having fun!