At long last, the most minimalist of the gift guides: a little guide for giving the gift of an experience. An experience is a lovely thing to give whether the recipient is a minimalist or no and it’s a gift that you can make work for just about any budget. Yes, you can go all out and give the gift of a week-long trip to Paris (no complaints, here), or you can give the gift of a much more commonplace experience that you know someone might not otherwise treat themselves to (why, yes, I would love a pedicure).
Bonus for anyone who’s something of a procrastinator (or just terribly busy), the gift of an experience is one that you can pull together fairly quickly. Print out tickets, send a gift card in the mail, draw up your own voucher and tuck it into a pretty envelope with all of the necessary details, and you’re off.
Here are a few ideas:
A dinner out.
Hands-down one of my favorite gifts to receive. There are so many delicious restaurants within walking distance of our apartment, I’d be equally overjoyed to try something new or head to an old favorite. This spring James and I received a belated wedding present to a restaurant we’d been wanting to try but hadn’t been to yet. In the weeks before Faye was born we took a long walk to the restaurant and had a totally indulgent dinner out. It was just what we needed. NOTE: If paying for an entire dinner isn’t in your budget, you can choose a restaurant with a nice cocktail list and consider yours the gifts of drinks out. Ever since watching this, I’ve had a hankering for a drink at The Clover Club. Cocktails for two ~$30. A fairly affordable way to knock two gifts off your list.
A babysitting voucher.
If you’re thinking of giving new parents an experience, it’s especially generous to consider the babysitting component of the evening. You could offer to babysit yourself, or slip a little bit of cash into an envelope to help defray the cost of childcare. NOTE: This might depend a bit on the recipient, but if paying for the sitter or sitting yourself isn’t in the cards…I’d say don’t let that stop you. I think most parents would happily pay for a sitter in exchange for an evening out.
This might be a class at a cheese shop, a wine tasting, an evening of throwing pots. Whatever the activity is, it’s so lovely to have the treat of trying something new (and even better if it’s something that falls a little out of someone’s comfort zone). James and I were given the gift of going to a sourdough class last spring. It wasn’t something we likely would have thought to purchase ourselves, but we had such a blast and it spawned James’s bread baking habit. Win, win, win. NOTE: Depending on the context, consider buying two tickets so that no one has to go it alone!
A massage, a manicure, a pedicure; I really love treats like these ones, but they’re something that I don’t often indulge in. This could be a gift card to someone’s local salon (or a new one nearby that they haven’t tried yet), or a voucher to go somewhere with the person (on you of course).
Tickets to a play, tickets to a concert, tickets to a museum exhibit. Take a little time to see what’s happening locally and take the plunge. NOTE: Try your best to find open-ended tickets that someone can redeem themselves. If the only way tickets are available are for a specific date, check in with the recipient (or recipient’s confidant?) ahead of time.
A day out and about.
A bit more extravagant, but a fun treat to give a husband/wife/anyone-you-got-now is to plan a whole day of activities. Ice skating in Central Park, hot cocoa at Dean & Deluca, a tour around the newly opened Cooper-Hewitt. (You know, for instance.) You could draw up a voucher listing all of the treats planned for the day and present in lieu of actual tickets or a gift card. NOTE: This is easiest to pull off (and most fun) if you plan to do it alongside someone. (Easier to simply pay than pre-arrange lots of payments.) Either way: just make sure to schedule the day so that it actually happens.
A note on receiving the gift of an experience: Cash in. Don’t save the treat for sometime down the road. Use it now!
PS. My merry little stamp, HERE.
PPS. All of the other gift guides, HERE.
Hi! This are my favourite type of gifts. I have been doing this for some years, and started receiving some as well last year! Really enjoyed it
This is so great! I feel like the best presents we have received so far since living in a tiny apartment has either been super useful household gifts or gifted experiences. We have been gifted massages, hot air balloon rides and magic show tickets and those are unforgettable moments that will always make me think of the gifter. This year we have done the same to others by gifting a lot of spa days for the women.
love this so much. gift giving is always easier then we think. i posted some of my own simple ideas here… http://www.jacquiamidon.com
These are my favorite! I'm trying to decide between a year-long National Parks pass or a bunch of gift cards for the movie theater for my sister-in-law & her husband. They have a one year old, so I don't know if the parks pass will get as much use as it would have in the past? (or probably will later in the future)
You should definitely make a trip to the Clover Club. It is quite the experience.
I'm not always the biggest fan of gift guides but I really like yours. These are great suggestions!! Thanks for sharing. I may just use one of these ideas 🙂
I especially like the idea of giving the gift of a class; I've always wanted to take one of those cooking classes or pottery classes, but I can't afford them.
Great ideas! May I also suggest a tea party for you and the friend? 🙂
Such a great idea! And I love those envelopes with the wind up string, they are so fancy and make me feel like Im in some old-time movie!
would love to know where you picked up those envelopes!
They’re from a little Japanese company, but I forget which shop I got them from! Have you checked out the McNally Jackson stationery shop, Goods for the Study? So great! They might have something similar!
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