Memories are really the most precious gift that can be given, but have you ever tried to stick a memory in a box and put a bow on it? It’s darn-right impossible. So let us turn to experiential gift giving this holiday season, because gifting experiences is fun for everyone and the best bang for your buck. It also comes with the guarantee that your carefully thought-out gift won’t be re-gifted or end up stuffed in the back of the closet behind dusty VHS tapes.
Tickets to ‘The Nutcracker’ — Chicago’s renowned Joffrey Ballet will be putting on The Nutcracker throughout December. Make this an early Christmas present for family or friends and get in the holiday mood with one of the most cultural Christmastime classics. Get 10% off tickets to “The Nutcracker” performances and other ballets across major U.S. cities by using the promo code BLACKFRIDAY10 Cheaptickets.com.*
Seats at a Big Ten basketball game — Winter is great time to hunker down and watch some basketball. College teams play nearly every night of the week, so there are plenty of dates to choose from, and tickets are usually pretty affordable. Ohio State plays Illinois in Columbus on Jan. 3 at 5 p.m. Tickets start at $32 on Cheaptickets.com.
A trip to the tropics — Forget the gift giving and put that money toward a tropical getaway for you and your bae this holiday season. All-inclusive resorts can be quite affordable and typically include food and some excursions. An all-inclusive trip to the Grand Park Royal Cancun Caribe resort through Cheaptickets starts at about $144 per night, for example. Deals are constantly changing, and holiday sales are burstingwith them right now**, so keep your eye out for a dream destination.
Pass to a yoga studio — Or really any sort of gym membership, depending on who you buy for. Plenty of people are desperate to spend some time on themselves, be that through the calming effects of yoga or relieving stress at, say, a boxing gym, but don’t want to fork out the extra $100 or so per month for a membership. Gyms in every city offer varying membership packages so you can choose what would work best for your gift receiver.
Tickets to the first showing of Star Wars: The Force Awakens — This may be the perfect gift, assuming, of course, that the person you’re buying for is into Star Wars and this isn’t just some scam to get them to the midnight premier with you. Buy tickets ASAP though–some theaters are already selling out.
Distillery tour — A trip along the Kentucky Bourbon Trail might be exactly what your gift receiver needs to warm up this winter. Tours at any of the most well-known distilleries run between $5 to $30 and typically include tons of rich, bourbon-soaked history and lessons on how to get the most flavor out of your bourbon.
Sugar Bowl tickets — Since tickets to the Super Bowl are a little unattainable (think upwards of $4k), nab up a pair of tickets to the Sugar Bowl in New Orleans. Isn’t college football more exciting anyway? The game is scheduled for New Year’s Day, so these tickets come with the added perk of ringing in the New Year in the Big Easy. Tickets start at $166 on Cheaptickets.com. Prices will spike once the teams that will actually play in the Sugar Bowl are determined, so throw your allegiances aside and get a head start on your shopping.
Laser tag — Insert a little competition into your gift. Laser tag has the potential to provide hours of good ol’ fashioned, competitive fun, and it is usually very affordable. It’s only $8.99 per person for a round at the Blazer Tag Adventure Center in Austin, Texas, for example. So find the nearest laser tag center near you and have at it.
Flying lessons — Giving flying lessons could also mean making someone’s dream come true. You can choose the extremity of this gift as well, opting in for the whole nine yards and giving the beginnings of a flying career, or gifting a pass for a one-time trip up into the air. Companies all over the country offer different packages. Windy City Flyers in Chicago offers a “Discovery Flight” package for $225 that includes an hour flight in a Cessna 172 and pre- and post-flight briefings. Twoadditional passengers can ride along for free.
Cooking class — A cooking class is the gift the keeps on giving, especially if you plan on gifting this to a roommate. Take your pick of food and type of class, because these offerings span the spectrum. Learn how to make desserts or ethnic foods, or dishes that pair well with certain types of wine. Learn to prepare four courses or just an appetizer, vegan or meat-focused. Some cooking classes are even diving into the BYOB trend so you can get your buzz on behind the counter.
*Use promo code BLACKFRIDAY10 to get 10% off all event tickets Nov. 23-30, 2015.
**Use promo code RIBBON to get 20% off qualifying hotel stays Nov. 23-30, 2015.
Also, get up to $20 back in CheapCa$h with any flight booking of $100 or more Nov. 23-30, 2015.