Right around this time of year, we always feel a little stumped for gift ideas. For people who have everything we really need, what should we get each other and everyone else in our lives? It’s hard to remember with all of the commercials and sales that this time of year doesn’t have to be about buying. However, we totally admit that getting gifts is fun! We compiled this list of our favorite experience-related gifts from the past few years. All of these ideas are based on things that we have done for each other in the past, and that we enjoyed more than any wrapped box, small or large. While some do involve buying things, we love that the experience of receiving these gifts didn’t end just after unwrapping them! Each of the following ideas has a save, spend, or splurge option!
For the adventurers:
1. Save: Consider planning a “city date” to a nearby city that you haven’t been to. This doesn’t have to be a big city! For those local to the Triangle area, have you ever been to Pittsboro or Saxapahaw? There are so many fun things to do there — small vineyards, interesting restaurants, and more! This is one of our favorite things to do when the wanderlust bug bites but we don’t have the time or financial resources to plan an international excursion. We’ve explored so many hidden gems, no plane ticket required!
2. Spend: Create a travel map! One of the coolest things we own is a personalized global travel map where we keep track of all of the places we have lived, visited, and want to go. We love adding different colored pins when we check a bucket list spot off of our list. While you can make this yourself using some cork board and a paper map, you can also order this cool scratch-off map!
3. Splurge: Get plane tickets for somewhere your significant other has always wanted to go! Ian’s a December baby and he loves Christmas in New York, so I surprised him with tickets to New York this year! He’s already excited about planning where we’ll go and what we’ll eat, and we get to stay with our good friends. That sounds like a win-win-win situation!
For the foodies:
4. Save: Invite your friends over and plan an amazing, over-the-top, at-home picnic! When you present your significant other with this gift, have all of the menus planned out and consider including a few accoutrements, like a beautiful basket or a gingham table cloth. Then, set a date to go shopping and start cooking together. In the end, you’ll have your home cleaned, a beautiful meal with friends, and a memory you won’t forget!
5. Spend: There are so many sweet little breweries and vineyards around this area! Getting a tasting ticket and planning a drive with some fruit and cheese in a cooler and you’ve got the cutest little day of exploring, sipping wine, and eating planned! Head here to see all the vineyards and wineries in NC or here if you want to go to breweries!
5. Splurge: When we first started dating, one of our favorite things to do was cook together! We experimented with so many different cook books and recipes, both online and in print. If you really like cooking together, why not try taking a cooking class? Williams Sonoma and Sur La Table both host these, and while they range in price, they will hopefully all leave you with some new skills and a happy tummy!
For the planners:
7. Save: This might just be R’s dream scenario, but consider painting a wall, inside of a cabinet or pantry door, or another space that your planner likes to visit with — drumroll — chalkboard paint! We can almost guarantee that given some colorful chalk and a flat surface, your significant other will go wild organizing, writing quotes, making to-do lists, or using that space for other planning-related tasks!
8+9. Spend: One of my favorite things to get before the new year is a new agenda. For planners at heart, one of the kindest things that others can do for us is take the weight off of our shoulders and plan meaningful activities for us! If you choose to buy your Type A significant other an agenda or planner this year (like a Moleskine, Day Designer, or Simplified Planner), then go ahead and plan out a year of dates and write them in for them! Quick tip: I would do this in pencil. 🙂 That’s a two-in-one present!
10: Splurge: If your significant other lives by her paper planner, then consider getting her the Polaroid Zip. This mobile printer comes with sticky back so that he/she can put their favorite selfies of the two of you into their planner! Hand the Zip to him/her at the beginning of the present-opening time and they’ll have plenty of photos ready to stick!
What do you think? Have you ever tried any of these ideas? Or do you have other ideas for experience-related gifts that have gone well? Share below!