by Susan Caplan McCarthy
This article includes affiliate links, which mean that as an Amazon Associate, I earn a small percentage from qualifying purchases with no additional cost to you.
If you’ve been decluttering your own possessions, chances are that you’ve become more aware of the things that you give to others as well as the things that you’ve received as gifts. While you can discuss with friends and family that you would rather opt-out of exchanging gifts, you’ll encounter more than a few people who insist on exchanging gifts.
You may then consider giving an experiential gift, but many suggestions offer ideas like museum and zoo memberships as well as tickets to professional shows that could be either out of your budget or cost far more than you’d spend on that person.
At the opposite end of the experiential gift spectrum are things like gift certificates for homemade meals, edible treats or gifts of time, like walks in nature, that someone who is expecting a tangible gift may find disappointing.
So, how do you incorporate experience gifts with tangible gifts? When I was looking for gifts to bring to a Yankee Swap last year, I decided to go with an herb garden kit and a mushroom grow kit because they gave the recipient something to do (an experience) that also came in a box.
My husband liked the mushroom kit so much, that he snagged it during the Swap. We got three grow cycles out of our kit, enjoyed watching the mushrooms sprout in a few days and then added them to our dinner.
Of course, if you don’t want to give a tangible object, there are always gift certificates or you could propose to pay for a class offered by your town’s recreation department (usually reasonably priced) or take someone out for a meal at a restaurant within your budget.
Experience Gifts for Teens and Adults
I don't normally include links to so many products in my articles, but I thought these would get you thinking about gift items that provide an experience. No, these aren't the hot air balloon ride variety of experience gifts, but they do give the recipient something to do as opposed to setting a dust-collecting tchotchke on a shelf.
Did you read a book this year that you’d love to share with someone else? Pass along your copy or buy several copies for people on your gift-giving list.
Less expensive than a fruit-of-the-month club while still giving a gift that lasts the year.
Movie Night in a Box
Give an Amazon gift card to cover the cost of a movie rental and then add in some sweet treats and salty munchies or a gift certificate for a pizza or Chinese food from a local restaurant.
Journal and Pen
Combine a blank journal with a nice pen.
BBQ Sauce Making Kit
For the person who loves grilling, this kit helps them craft their own sauces.
Hot Sauce Making Kit
Know someone who loves hot sauce? This hot sauce making kit lets them create their own taste bud torture devices.
Gin Making Kit
Make a small batch of gin with this kit.
Beer Making Kit
If you know if the gift recipient likes pilsners or IPAs, there's a beer making kit for their drink, so look around at your options.
Hard Cider Kit
Make your own hard cider and enjoy the results.
Root Beer Making Kit
I made a batch of root beer years ago and it's simple to do. This root beer making kit is also fun to do with kids.
This kombucha kit lets you make this tangy, refreshing drink.
Tea Blend Starter Kit
Use the loose teas in this starter kit to create your own tea blends.
Teach a Skill
If you knit, crochet, decorate cakes or any other art or craft that someone has commented that they'd love to learn, purchase a simple starter kit of supplies and spend some time showing them how to build a bird house, fold an origami crane, or bead a bracelet.
Do you have suggestions to add to this list? Leave them in the comments below.
Susan Caplan McCarthy
I'm a professional organizer-coach with 26 years' experience as a teacher. I believe that an organized home isn't your destination but a step on the path toward the life you want to create. I teach decluttering and organizing skills through articles; books; and speaking engagements; as well as virtual coaching sessions.