Gifting Experiences and How to Present Them this Christmas


Gifting experiences is quickly gaining popularity. You’ll notice many of our gifts on this year’s Holiday Gift Guide are experiences! And for good reason. As we wise up to the incredible waste that goes on from too much “stuff” and how it affects our planet, we are all becoming more earnestly aware that when it comes to gifts, less is truly more. So how to you effectively gift an experience, and honestly, how in the dickens do you package it?? Read on.

Gifting the Experience of Travel

If you have the financial resources (and savvy planning skills) to orchestrate a fun getaway, this is a VERY cool experience to give. But you don’t have to break the bank with a gift like this. Sure, a Disney World or Caribbean vacation can be an incredible escape, but visiting a more local destination, can be just as magical. Consider an excursion to the Isle of Shoals, Acadia National Park, or even NH’s own Lakes Region for a memorable trip. 

Gifting tip: while gifting an experience like this pairs nicely with a fun luggage tag, postcard or brochure of the place you are going to, I personally find a clever scavenger hunt or winding string maze (a la Frozen Fever) takes this gift surprise to the next level.

The Gift of the Captured Moment

Gifting the experience of a professional photographer is a meaningful splurge that serves as a tremendously heartfelt present. Especially to the parent or person who is reluctant to get it for themselves. Check out our directory of local photographers to see who might be a good fit for your gift!

Gifting tip: consider gifting this experience with an empty photo album, frame, or even an additional gift card to a printing service like Shutterfly.

The Gift of Self-Care

Whether it be a trip to the spa, a haircut, a delicious mani/pedi, or a simple salt soak in a local flōte tank, a self-care experience is the gift that keeps on giving. As parents, we are all too familiar with the toll that daily stress takes on our bodies. So when giving to others this season, consider the invaluable gift of a slice of self-care. 

Gifting tip: Pair this experience with a bottle of wine, chocolate, or the person’s favorite snack to make it twice as sweet!

The Gift of Playful Entertainment

Who doesn’t love a night out on the town? This year’s gift guide is chalk-full of awesome entertainment experiences that friends and family of all ages can enjoy. Theatre enthusiasts will love the carefully curated shows put on by the Music Hall, The Seacoast Repertory Theatre, 3s Artspace, or the beloved Ogunquit Playhouse

For the more playful people on your list, consider gifting a sporting event, an escape room night, or an evening of artistic expression with a DIY sign from Board & Brush. Younger recipients might love a creative play place like Artastic or Firefly Pottery

Gifting tip: upcycle those Prime boxes and stash the gift card in a Russian Doll style stack. Paint or color each box for added creativity!

The Gift of the Outdoors

What has your person always wanted to try? Deep Sea Fishing? Stand Up Paddle-Boarding? Tennis? Ice-Skating? Bundled passes are usually on sale this time of year and even if it’s a warm-weather activity, it will give your person something to look forward to during the cold winter months!

Gifting tip: take an empty jewelry box and place three “clue” items inside. For example, for fishing, add a small fish ornament, a piece of tackle, and a the business card of the fishing company you’ll be sea-fairing with. Have the person guess to heighten the excitement! 

The Gift of Learning

What has your person always wanted to try? Horseback riding? Pasta making? Piano? Welding? Consider gifting the experience of education. Local organizations like PortCity Makerspace, Kittery Adult Education, and PMAC provide enrichment classes to teach you what you’re craving to learn. 

Gifting tip: the last time I gifted a lesson experience, I sent my recipient on a scavenger hunt. I gave her clues to follow to the studio where her lessons would be. Waiting for her there when she arrived where her class materials, an info packet, and her schedule. The gifting adventure was almost as good as the fit itself!

The Gift of Time

One of the best experience gift I have ever received is the gift of help. Giving parents or caregivers time off is not only thoughtful, but generous as well. Consider gifting these friends or family with a couple of hours each month (or more if you can spare it!) where you watch their kids or help with their caregiving load. Can’t give your time? Not necessarily a problem. For friends or family that might be new (or soon-to-be parents), consider supporting a local post-partum Doula or a respite center like Relief to help them recharge their proverbial batteries. For caregivers, find a professional home-visitor who can swing by and bring a monthly meal to ease the mental load. 

Gifting tip: provide your recipient with a complete calendar or handmade coupons of all the days and times that you will be helping out so that s/he can plan ahead. 

Are you a fan gifting experiences for Christmas? What did experience gifts did you give and how did you present them? Share your stories below!

Previous articleThoughtful Homemade Gifts for Everyone on Your List
Next articleBest Outdoor Toys for Winter
Hello, I'm Heather! Born and raised in New Hampshire, I feel incredibly fortunate to have the opportunity to raise our four tiny humans, alongside my husband in the beautiful Seacoast community. As a mental health therapist by trade, and full-time mama by life, I find balance in helping my kids to explore the world through deliciously messy play, connecting with other families in the area, having a good belly laugh, and enjoying a strong cup of coffee. My passions include pouring my heart into writing, getting lost in watercolor painting, spending time along the ocean, and discovering new recipes to cook up for my family. When I'm not chasing after my kids or digging in our garden, I work to educate and share about essential oils use for mental health and holistic wellness.