Fantastic experience gifts to give

‘Tis the season for gift-giving, but that’s easier said than done. There are plenty of people who would rather skip the “stuff” in exchange for experiences to give as gifts. Not only do experience gifts save you valuable space, but experiences can result in longer-lasting happiness than material possessions.

Here are 10 ideas for experience gifts to consider giving your loved one this holiday season.

— A personalized celebrity video.

— An annual pass to national parks.

— A meal subscription box.

— An adventure eGift card.

— A museum membership.

— A virtual travel experience.

— A gift card for a vacation rental.

— Book a day pass to a hotel or resort.

— A subscription to an online course platform.

— Tickets to a family-friendly live show.

A Personalized Celebrity Video

You can send a loved one a personal video message from their favorite celebrity or social media influencer. Celebrities set their price and have the final say over user requests. Prices vary, with some as low as $1 up to $15,000, depending on the celebrity. A personal message from an admired celebrity or childhood hero can give a family member or friend an experience they can keep and cherish forever.

[See: 25 Practical Gift Ideas.]

An Annual Pass to National Parks

The America the Beautiful — The National Parks and Federal Recreational Lands Pass is the perfect experience gift for any nature lover. The pass allows visitors to enjoy more than 2,000 federal recreation sites, including national forests and grasslands, lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management, Bureau of Reclamation and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Each pass covers entrance, standard amenity fees and day-use fees for personal vehicles.

The standard annual pass costs $80 and can be purchased at a federal recreation site, online or by phone from the United States Geological Survey.

A Meal Subscription Box

Planning, shopping and prepping meals each night can be hard work. The right meal kit can make nightly meal prep a fun experience gift. Each meal kit subscription may differ from one another but they all deliver fresh ingredients and a recipe right to your front door.

Meal kits have steadily grown in popularity over the years, allowing you to choose a service based on different dietary needs and restrictions, portion size, menu variety and budget. The cost for some is around $10 per serving plus shipping.

An Adventure Gift Card

You can find a wide range of adventure experiences to give as gifts that encourage the receiver to try something new. Experience gift companies offer thousands of adventures and activities across the U.S. at various price points.

You can also pick the adventure or activity based on age appropriateness, physical aptitude, comfort level and personal interest. Not sure how brave they are? Let the recipient choose and give them a memory they’ll never forget.

[READ: Best Affordable Christmas Gifts.]

A Museum Membership

An annual museum membership allows visitors to go as many times as they want during the year without feeling like they have to squeeze the museum experience into a single day. Museum passes may also come with other advantages, such as member discounts at gift shops and reciprocal benefits at other museums.

A Virtual Travel Experience

The pandemic has made many people rethink how they travel. Luckily, anyone can travel right from their living room and all you need is a smartphone, laptop or VR headset for a virtual travel experience. Virtual travelers can enjoy a guided tour of museums, historical sites and cities around the globe, view wildlife in their natural habitat, visit mountaintops or even take virtual cooking classes. With so many options, you can find appropriate virtual travel experience gifts for almost anyone.

A Gift Card for a Vacation Rental

For those who don’t prefer to be an armchair traveler, you can help make a trip even more memorable by giving a gift card for a vacation rental. There are several online vacation rental platforms for travelers to pick and choose from thousands of locations around the world. You can purchase a gift card online through a servicer’s website and let the recipient pick the location and the dates.

Book a Day Pass to a Hotel or Resort

You don’t need to book a night at a fancy hotel or resort to gain access to their amenities. There are websites that sell day passes to popular resorts for about $30 and up per person, allowing guests to sit by the pool or on the beach, access the fitness center and showers or enjoy the pool bar and grill. Services and prices vary by location, and some may only include pool or spa passes whereas others may include family activities.

Tip: Make sure you read the fine print before purchasing a day pass as an experience gift so that you know exactly what the gift recipient will be getting.

[Read: The Best Virtual and Digital Gifts]

A Subscription to an Online Course Platform

Give the gift that keeps on giving — a new skill through an online class taught by some of the world’s best. With classes available in design, fitness, music, cooking, business and much more, they’re bound to find something that piques their interest.

Tickets to a Family-Friendly Live Show

Tickets to a live performance, such as a play, musical, ice show or a live touring show, can be a great gift for someone with young children. Check to see what’s coming to their area, make sure it’s age-appropriate and plan in advance so that they can be sure that they can go.

Experiences to give as gifts are not only unique, but research from the University of Toronto shows that experience gifts are more effective than physical gifts at improving relationships from the recipient’s perspective. Plus, you won’t have to worry about it being packed away in a closet and forgotten.

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Fantastic Experience Gifts to Give originally appeared on

Update 12/08/21:



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