Christmas shopping can be overwhelming for a number of reasons: the crowds, the endless temptation for impulse buys, a bevy of discounts on items you may not actually need and don’t get us started on parking situations. After all that effort, the uncertainty that you purchased something that may be regifted or taken back is endlessly looming. Regardless of the thought you may have put into your gift, there’s no guarantee it won’t end up Kon-Mari’d or in a donation box during spring cleaning. The idea of more things, in general, just feels like it’s, well, more THINGS.
Plus, amongst the hustle and bustle (wrapping up work projects, running from one holiday party to the next, seeing out of town family), it’s easy to hand someone a wrapped gift and not actually get the quality time, connection with that person or give them an unforgettable moment in time. This is why this year we believe in the gift of experience. Below we break down three different experiences you can gift to three very different people on your list.
The Amateur Restaurateur
THE RECIPIENT: This is the person whose Instagram is the first place you check for food and wine recommendations. Whether they are an expert in the kitchen, king of the menu or essentially a walking Yelp for not only their city but every major food town across this country and others, this foodie deserves more than another obscure kitchen tool from Sur La Table or signed Ina Garten literary masterpiece.
THE EXPERIENCE: The Chocolate Class at The Gourmandise School of Sweets and Savories (or any fun niche class at your local cooking school. Think “Becoming An Expert in Mixology” or “Bread and Cheese Camp” over “Basics in Fish”).
The Adventure Seeker
THE RECIPIENT: you know the friend who always tries to plan vacations around the outdoors activities you can do that make you a little afraid for your life? Zip lining, kite surfing, hiking fourteeners, and so on when you’d rather be lazy and drink rose somewhere in a horizontal position? This is the friend who especially is not interested in things but rather in doing things. Get this life-conquerer an adventure you’re choosing for once. And if you’re feeling especially fearless, get tickets for two.
THE EXPERIENCE: a simple peruse of Airbnb’s featured section will offer a variety of activities in a range of prices. You can gift anything from wakeboarding in Miami to horseback riding in Paris. Or perhaps offer a set number contribution toward whatever our thrillist picks from the site themselves so that even if their chosen package is expensive, you can still help to make it happen.
The Culture Connoisseur
THE RECIPIENT: refined and in the know, this is the person who is always the first to plan Art Basel excursions or to see an underground burlesque show you’ve been waitlisted for for months or to somehow had an extra Hamilton ticket (who knew that was even possible?). There’s a sincere appreciation for any kind of culture enrichment, no matter how “hip” or not.
THE EXPERIENCE: courses and talks given by museums are a great way to go, whether they’re learning collage techniques at the LACMA or given a private tour at The Whitney, informal art education will make the Culture Connoisseur’s heart sing. Contributions toward or full purchase of ballet or opera tickets at your local theater are another no brainer.