I know – it’s still November. But, it doesn’t hurt to start thinking about what presents you’d like to get for your friends and family. With lot of stuff to choose from, sometimes I think it’s better to offer someone a memory rather than a product. For that, look no further than a gift experience. I think these can be wonderfully thoughtful presents and where a product might not break for years, the memory of an experience will last much longer.
So what gift experiences do I recommend? Obviously it depends on the recipient – granny might not enjoy bungee jumping (or will she?) but I know some fathers who love a cheeky spa day. You’ll know the person you’re buying for best! Here are my top ten gift experiences for the person you love this Christmas:
- Afternoon tea for two – did you know that for under £30 you can send someone for a relaxing tea break with a friend? There are usually hundreds of locations to choose from (high-street shops such as Patisserie Valerie to many hotels and restaurants) and the voucher will usually have a year on it, so plenty of time for your recipient to book.
- Spa day – we don’t tend to give ourselves the TLC we deserve and therefore a spa day makes an excellent gift idea that your recipient will love. Be sure to check the small print – many gift experience websites only let you redeem spa day vouchers on a weekday which might not suit your recipient’s schedule.
- Theatre/concert/show tickets – one year I gave my boyfriend tickets to see his favourite band and my sister got tickets to see Wicked. These make great gifts! Most ticket sales sites don’t send actual tickets until shortly before the event (if at all) though, so consider making your own ‘voucher’.
- Paintball – you can purchase for an individual or a group to go paintballing and the voucher usually includes a number of paintballs. Most providers let you buy extra paintballs for a longer game or even add lunch! I think it’s an awesome gift to for a teenager and 3 of his or her friends.
- Ghost hunt – know someone who is really into ghosts and the paranormal? Naturally the perfect gift would be a voucher for them and a friend to go on an overnight ghost tour of a local haunted castle! There are lots of tours throughout the country, though most offer monetary vouchers. You could book a spot on a specific date but you’d need to know your receipent’s diary. It’s very unusual, but seriously cool for the right friend or relative!
- Overnight retreat – while a little pricier than the options above (around £100 on average per couple per night), this could be the ultimate gift; something someone really needed. Many places also include breakfast and offer spa services – maybe book them into a surprise massage for when they arrive? If you’re buying for a pair of friends rather than a couple, ensure the voucher can be redeemed against a twin room (unless they don’t mind sharing, of course!).
- Escape room – I love escape rooms. They can be great fun and a gift experience for two or four makes a wonderful present – best of all, they’re really flexible. Because they usually only take an hour or two, your recipient doesn’t need to worry about taking time off work or booking far in advance – they can do it at a time convenient for them. I can personally recommend the themed rooms at The Escape Hunt – our group of friends had such a good time, we did another one right after!
- City break – with more flights than ever serving regional airports and a surplus of hotel and AirBnb offerings, you’re guaranteed to find something affordable within a 2/3 hour flight time. Budapest, Venice, Barcelona, Amsterdam – you can easily bag a trip for under £150 per person to these destinations. Why not create a scrapbook afterwards filled with photos and memorabilia from the trip to give to your loved one as part of the gift? I gave my mom a photobook of our trip to New York City last year – during the week before Christmas, Boots Photo produced the book (which you can customise – their editor is super) within 24 hours at a bargain price of £25 with free click and collect!
- Holiday activities – is your recipient going on holiday in the new year? Why not arrange for some excursions for them to do while they’re abroad? Book them onto a rickshaw tour of Kyoto, an afternoon wine tasting in Tuscany, a ticket for the elevator up the Eiffel Tower or a square dancing lesson in the USA.
- You – it sounds really cheesy I know, but why not offer your friend or relative the ultimate gift; your time? How about a coupon book full of activities you can do together or ‘favours’ for your recipient to redeem? Cooking together, playing a board game, a shopping trip, babysitting for an evening or helping with the gardening!
I hope this list was helpful in getting you thinking about great alternatives to boxes of stuff under the tree this year. What do you think of these? Have you got any other recommendations for gift experiences for Christmas?