The itchy sweater that’s destined for the donation bag. The gift card that will sit forgotten and unused in a drawer. The holiday food basket at odds with an organic diet.

Face it: Finding the perfect gift can be a challenge. If you’re trying to find something to unwrap, maybe you’re looking in the wrong place. A survey from the National Retail Federation found more than 35 percent of respondents — and a whopping half of millennials — say they’d like to receive an experience gift.

But before you go with the old standby of dinner and a movie, check out our five Instagram-worthy ideas for experiential gifts for the different types of people on your list.


Is your recipient a wanna-be rocker or a hack golfer trying to shave some strokes? Hobbyists at any stage could benefit from a lesson with a local pro, either in a private setting or with a group of other aspiring crafters, DJs or whatever their obsession of the moment is.


What better way to start the new year than with a stress-busting massage or other “me-time” indulgence? You can find pampering gifts for any budget, from a simple manicure to a pull-out-all-the-stops day at a high-end spa or yoga retreat.

If dinner out is nice, what about taking part in dinner prep — and learning something new in the process?


Rock climbing? Sky diving? Motorcycle riding? Why not? Depending on where you live, you could rent a Harley Davidson for the day, visit an indoor sky-diving facility or even feeling the need for speed with a NASCAR race track experience on a NASCAR racing simulator.


If dinner out is nice, what about taking part in dinner prep — and learning something new in the process? Now we’re cooking! Find a local cooking school, retail store or restaurant that offers a cooking experience; or book a lesson with a trained chef to up your game in a specific category like pizza or desserts. Sound like too much work for an evening out? Any busy person on your list would love being enrolled in a meal kit delivery service, like Blue Apron or Hello Fresh.


Ever wonder how wine is made? Or how it feels to be on the field of an NFL stadium? Or what it’s like to be backstage so you can finally say “I’m with the band!”? Pretty much any major attraction in your city likely offers a personalized “behind-the-scenes” tour to give you and your family or friends the VIP experience you so richly deserve.

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