The gift-giving season has rolled around, and you’re stumped again.
You don’t want to give your friends and family something they already have, so you’re tempted to get a little too creative with a gift they’ll never expect.
But those wildly unique gifts almost never work out well — I think you know the ones we’re talking about.
That hideous necktie. A 5 piece set of mustard scented candles. The ugly sweater that wasn’t actually a joke. We’ve all received a gift we’d gladly live without.
So how do you avoid giving that unwanted gift to the person who already has everything?
Answering that question just got a whole lot easier, because this is the year that you’ll give the gift of experiences rather than objects.
While we’ve all been given a gift that headed straight for the trash bin, most of us are overwhelmed with joy when we receive an experiential gift that’s dripping with thoughtfulness.
Gifts of experience resonate at a deeper level with the recipient, engaging with all five of their senses to bring them a truly meaningful adventure. When you take the time to hone in on the recipient’s hobbies and interests, plan well in advance, and pay attention to the details, you can create a gift experience they’ll remember forever.
It’s actually been proven that gifts of experience work better than material gifts for improving the relationship between the gift giver and the recipient. According to Dr. Cindy Chan, an expert on consumer relationships, “An experiential gift elicits a strong emotional response when a recipient consumes it — like the fear and awe of a safari adventure, the excitement of a rock concert or the calmness of a spa — and is more intensely emotional than a material possession.”
So whether it’s for mom, dad, or your significant other, a hands-on gift is sure to please and earn you a few extra brownie points to boot.
Here are our four favorite choices for experiential gifts.
1. Gift The Gift Of Creativity
They’re more of an artistic amateur than a Michelangelo, but you’ve noticed how often they mention their childhood love of painting.
You can be the hero by purchasing a space for them in an art class.
Whether you choose pottery, painting, or drawing, tapping into their creative genius is sure to be a hit. And art has more than just entertainment value – research shows that visual art increases well-being by activating the body’s natural healing process and enhancing positive emotions.
Some painting classes are combined with wine tastings for a delicious and visually stunning pairing. Or, choose a local ceramic studio and let them sculpt their way to greatness.
2. Adventure In The Mountains Awaits
They’ve been talking your ear off about how much they enjoyed that trip to Vail last winter, so why not surprise them with lift tickets and dinner at your local ski lodge?
For an avid skier — or the friend who’s always wanted to learn how — there’s nothing more thoughtful than gifting them time in the mountains.
If you have a certain day in mind, you can buy them a date-specific ski pass and one for yourself to join in on the fun. Or, if you want flexibility, you can purchase a gift certificate and they can choose the day for themselves.
Fresh snow, adventure, and mountain air are some of the best gifts that money can buy. As the saying goes, “You can’t buy happiness, but you can buy a ski pass.”
3. Courtside Seats Are Pretty Sweet
For the sports fan in your life, the gift of a day at the stadium will be just the “ticket.”
They’ve probably already got the jerseys, caps, and other team paraphernalia piling up in their closet by now, but courtside seats? Now that’s a real treat!
Remember to pay attention to the small details to make the gift even sweeter. Things like tucking the tickets into some team-logoed gloves to keep their hands warm at the game or a gift certificate to a restaurant across the street from the stadium all show you’ve gone the extra mile.
4. The Luxury Of A Spa At Home
What could be more soothing than a day at your own home spa?
Creating a home spa experience is easier than you think, and with Zeel’s in-home massage app, wellness can be on the way within hours.
Carefully placing some candles, preparing essential oils in the diffuser, and setting up a bit of background music all make the atmosphere more soothing. When the professional massage therapist arrives, their muscle tension will ease and their stress will melt away.
You can schedule an individual or couple’s massage with a massage therapist in Zeel’s network, and they’ll come to your home on the day you choose.
If you don’t know their schedule or you’re sending it from afar, you can give the gift of a holiday massage Gift Certificate from Zeel and they can call to book their massage on their own time.
Margo Carroll is a marketing strategist and email funnel copywriter for online business owners. She has worked with many massage therapists and has been featured in Massage magazine, the Massage Business Blueprint and MindBodyGreen. Learn more about Margo at margocaroll.com and on LinkedIn.