Thinking Out of the (Gift) Box: The Ultimate “Experience” Gift Guide

When I’m holiday shopping, I like to think out of the box. The gift box, that is. It seems that this time of year so many of us are inundated with a mountain of “stuff” – so much so, that it can be pretty overwhelming come January 1st. That’s why I’ve been thinking this year about giving “experience” gifts. Classes, tickets, and other fun gifts that will allow the receiver to try something new, make great memories, and have a ton of fun, all without adding any more clutter to their lives.

Thinking about giving someone the gift of a new experience this year? Read on! I’ve put together some suggestions for every type of person on your list!

For the “artsy” type:

For the friend who loves to craft, or an older teenager who is just exploring their artistic side, gift certificates to art classes and workshops will allow them to create their own take-home keepsakes, or give them skills that will last a lifetime.

For the food and drink enthusiast:

From cooking classes for kids to creative cocktails for adults, these gifts are serious palate pleasers.

For the couple who already has everything:

If you’ve got a couple on your list, they’d probably love one of these great nights out.

For the lifelong learner (or a whole family):

Whether you’re buying for your history-buff uncle, or your sister and her entire family, memberships to the following places will give them countless hours of fun and fascination all year long. And, if a membership is out of your budget, single visit tickets would also make a great gift.

For kids (and kids at heart!):

These gifts are great for kids of all ages, or for grown-ups who would enjoy a little trip back to their childhood. Tuck a couple tickets for one of these gems into a card and you’re sure to make almost anyone happy.

  • Trampoline parks like Air Time or Sky Zone 
  • Passes to an indoor water park like Zehnders of Frankenmuth would make for a great day trip when the winter blues are in full swing.
  • An afternoon of laser tag would be just the ticket to fight holiday break boredom – check out Zap Zone 
  • Children’s theater tickets from the Marquis Theatre will introduce kids to a lifelong love of performance art. 

Do you have any favorite “experience” gifts you plan on giving (or hope to get!) this holiday season? I’d love to hear your ideas!

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Born and raised in Ohio, Sarah now lives in Bloomfield Hills with her husband Michael and their three children. Although she’ll always be an Ohio girl at heart, she’s adopted Michigan as her home, and fell in love with Detroit from the start. Sarah and Michael are both attorneys, which makes keeping up with their 5-year old son and 2-year old twin daughters a challenge, but never boring! In her free time, Sarah loves to cook, read, knit and craft. She is addicted to online shopping & Netflix, and she firmly believes that there’s a good one-liner out there for just about any situation.


  1. This year, my wife and I, both have decided to go for experience gifts for our children, rather than the materialistic gifts. However, we love the idea of combining the experience gift with something material to hold up the kids till the time they get their experience gift to actually experience it, but we can’t afford anything material when we spend on experiences. Any ideas on that?


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