A few years ago, I made a conscious decision to tell my friends and family that I'd much rather have experiences than get presents under the tree. This request has led me to some of the best experience gifts for couples and family members alike.
For example, I would take a Bruno Mars concert with my mom over a Bath and Body Works gift set any day — so, that's exactly what we did. As early Christmas presents to each other, my mom and I recently went to Bruno Mars's 24K Magic World Tour and it was awesome. She had never been to a concert before and I was thrilled that I could be there for her first one. In fact, I loved the idea of a holiday experience gift so much that I'm doing something similar with my younger brother in a few days. Because we won't be together for Christmas, we've decided to go on a doors-off helicopter tour of our city before he leaves for the holidays.
Holiday experience gifts aren't just for you and your family. You and your partner can definitely skip the gift-wrapped tech devices and opt for an adventure together instead. The absolute best part of a holiday experience gift? Assured gift reciprocity. This way, neither person has to worry about whether or not their gift is as good as the other person's gift. Instead, you can decide on something you'd like to experience together. Maybe it's a live concert or maybe it's a road trip. Whatever it is, you'll be happy to be there together, making it a gift to remember.
If you're thinking of doing a holiday experience gift this year, here are a few ideas to get you started.
Holiday travel always gets a bad rep in the movies but it doesn't have to be miserable. After all, it was a last minute decision to spend Christmas in the English countryside that led Cameron Diaz to Jude Law in The Holiday — I know that's my holiday dream. Unlike Diaz, though, you don't have to plan your trip alone. Use websites like AirBnB to book a romantic weekend away in a cozy cabin some place cold. Alternatively, if you're looking to get away from the snow, why not book a short stay at an all-inclusive, tropical resort? Planning the trip will be half the fun. All that matters is that you and your partner agree on a location and split the costs appropriately.
Hear me out with this one. If you've done this a hundred times before, it might not seem like anything special, but I think there's something so uniquely romantic about a private ice-skating session. Do you remember in Gilmore Girls when Lorelai decided that her lifelong love affair with snow was over? She was miserable and depressed for days. Luke, small-town hero that he is, made her an ice rink in her front yard and watched her skate like a dork all afternoon. It was adorable, OK! I'm not saying you have to get that crafty but reserving a few hours of private rink time might just be the cutest holiday experience gift ever.
The best holiday experience gift I've ever done with a partner was seeing a live performance of The Nutcracker by the Miami City Ballet. What made it even more special was the fact that it was his idea and I could tell he actually enjoyed the show. This isn't an anomaly, either. I recently went on my most interesting date yet with an orchestra musician who invited me to see him play in a holiday concert. Maybe I'm just a sucker for Christmas music, but I have to admit that both of these dates were pretty memorable experiences and I'd be happy to relive either.
Another experience I can successfully vouch for, romantic, champagne cruises for two are fairly easy to come by on Groupon if you live near the coast. Typically, these packages will offer two-hour-long cruises aboard a catamaran for one to three couples. Most set sail right before sunset and include complimentary champagne and wine. All that's left to do is show up.
Nothing says, "I love you... and me," like spending the day getting pampered at a luxurious resort. You and your partner can customize your experience together, choosing from services like massages, facials, and body scrubs. The soothing music and aromatherapy oils will make for an intimate and relaxing experience together.
Charlie Brown was right. The best gifts aren't what's under the tree but who's around it. This year, instead of spending hours in line at the mall, plan a holiday experience gift for you and your partner. Best of all, you and your partner will have a guaranteed opportunity to spend some time together during the most hectic time of year.
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