If you're searching for the perfect gifts for loved ones, we have a thought: what if the perfect "gift" isn't actually something you can wrap up in a box?
Consider shopping around for something more experiential this year. According to insights from Deloitte's annual Holiday Survey, consumer spending on experiences is up seven percent year over year. In addition, Gen Z and millennials are more likely to purchase experiences in lieu of physical presents, according to a recent survey conducted by Ankura Consulting Group.
Whether you're shopping for someone who's short on space or already has everything they need, an experience is sometimes the best gift of all. To help spark inspiration, the Shop TODAY team has rounded up several experiences for everyone on your shopping list.
Arts & crafts experience gifts
Marbling is a fun and relaxing craft to do. This kit from Mercedez Rex — who makes incredibly beautiful marbled silk scarves, prints and more — has everything the artist in your life needs to make gorgeous marbled papers.
Join a crafting club from the comfort of your couch! CrateJoy's monthly kit lets you express your creativity with a variety of projects ranging from candles and terrariums to clay marbling and soap making. The kit comes with supplies and instructions, and each box can be customized.
We always get a little giddy when someone gifts us a subscription box. There's something so fun about looking forward to what you're going to get every month, after all. This paint-by-numbers kit makes painting easy and comes with everything you need to create a true work of art.
Know someone who loves to knit? This kit comes with everything they need to knit a beautiful blanket with heart embroidery, including knitting needles, a pattern and cotton. You can choose from 34 colors ranging from pastels to jewel tones.
Channeling your inner artist can really relax you, and this 90-minute class walks you through all the basics of painting to help you find a little inner peace. Beforehand, you'll get a kit that comes with six canvases, three paintbrushes, 24 acrylic paints and instructions. During the class, you'll get pointers for painting with acrylics and mixing colors, and get your hands dirty in the best possible way.
Entertainment and wellness experience gifts
Gift the fitness fanatic in your life a ClassPass gift card so they can try out some new exercise classes. They can use the gift card for virtual classes or in-person classes, depending on their preferences.
Movie theaters are like a home away from home for film buffs, but tickets don't always come cheap. That's why an AMC gift card will be much appreciated. This one comes in $25 and $50 denominations and gets sent directly to their email so they don't have to worry about misplacing a physical card.
Get ready to kick back, relax and let your troubles float away with a soothing spa experience of your choice. This gift card lets the recipient book a treatment at over 9,000 spa and wellness facilities in the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico so they can find some inner peace.
Not sure what your gift recipient likes to do with their free time? A Groupon gift card is a good bet! The site offers deals on a plethora of fun experiences in hundreds of cities, meaning they can use the card near home or while they're on vacation.
Theater fans can live-stream some of the world's top productions with this service that also offers full-length stage plays and musicals on demand. The library has more than 300 theater productions from around the globe, ranging from Broadway to the West End, and subscriptions are $12/month or $130/year.
Gaming experience gifts
There's nothing quite like the experience of gaming with your friends, and Microsoft's Xbox Game Pass Ultimate membership offers gamers the opportunity to sneak in a marathon session whether their pals are near or far. The subscription includes Xbox Live Gold and access to 100+ games, and lets gamers play on their console, PC, tablet or phone. As an added bonus, subscribers also get fun perks like game add-ons and discounts on some games.
Whether you're playing solo or with a group of 10, this party pack will bring hours of endless fun. It comes with five games that can be played on a phone or tablet, and includes the following titles: Fibbage, Quixort, Junktopia, Nonsensory, Roomerang.
From arcade games to air hockey and everything in between, Dave and Buster's has a game for everyone, both kids and adults alike. It's the perfect spot to channel your competitive spirit and chow down on tasty bar food. There's also an on-site bar for the big kids in your party.
Calling all true crime addicts! This three-part mystery subscription box keeps the fun going for three months as you receive new clues piece by piece. You and your pals can examine evidence, solve riddles and hunt for clues together over the course of three fun date nights. So fun!
Food & drink experience gifts
Gift this hot sauce making class and kit to all the pepper people on your list. After you gift it to them, they can choose the date they want to take the class, and then brag to everyone about the delicious hot sauce they made. Spicy!
Arrange a cocktail class for a group of friends or family that don't live in the same place as a fun "happy hour" experience to bring everyone together virtually! Packages range in price.
This hour-and-a-half on-demand class is led by Giulia Scarpaleggia, a cookbook author who was born and raised in Tuscany. The pasta lover in your life will learn how to make fresh pasta from scratch, no experience needed!
Cheese, please! This virtual tasting includes a live presenter walking you through a proper tasting experience. You can build your own board ahead of time with help from expert mongers, or you can choose from an array of pre-selected groups of cheese. There's also an option to add on meats, pickles, spreads...all the complimentary pairings you need for a good cheese board.
Serious at-home chefs love to pick up some tips from the pros whenever they can. With the gift of a MasterClass membership, they'll gain access to a year's worth of classes from top chefs like Gordon Ramsey, who shares 13 restaurant-inspired dishes in this four-hour, 15-part class. Members can watch the class (and others like it) on mobile devices and TV.
Learn to make sweet and savory pizzas during this 90-minute virtual class with vegan chef LisaMarie Falcone. On the savory side, you'll prep an eggplant parm pizza with a vegan cheese. You'll also satiate your sweet tooth with a dessert pizza made topped with fruit and a chocolate hazelnut spread.
It's not every night that you get to eat food from one of the hottest celebrity chefs around. Make dinnertime an experience with this family-style dinner that comes with eight pieces of fried chicken, macaroni and cheese, cornbread, collard greens, Carla's "Hoot n Honey" sauce and spicy oil. It's shipped to your house frozen and can easily be reheated when you're ready to enjoy it.
Anyone who's eager to get traveling again will flip for this thoughtful gift. It lets the recipient book one culinary experience for themselves and a guest, and they can choose from a list of 300+ options around the world. There's no expiration date, meaning they can use it right away or save it for their next big adventure!
Travel experience gifts
Getaway is a great gift for the outdoorsy person in your life who loves getting out into nature from time to time. They have cabins in different parks all over the country, and you can buy packs of nights to gift so they can choose the dates that work for them.
Amazon Explore has virtual experiences galore! The site offers hundreds of experiences for anyone who loves food and drink, culture, nature, shopping learning and wellness. Each experience lets you connect with an expert host and learn more about their area of expertise — without ever leaving your house!
Frequent travelers know how convenient Airbnb accommodations can be, so they'll be thrilled to receive one of these gift cards. They come in denominations ranging from $50 to $500 and can be used at Airbnb locations around the world, from the beach to the city and beyond. The card can also be used on Airbnb experiences!
Flights are often the most expensive part of planning any vacation, so a gift card that shaves a little bit off the bottom line is always a welcome gift. Available in denominations ranging from $50 to $500, these Delta gift cards have no expiration date and can be used on any Delta flight worldwide. You can also send them via mail or email!
Not sure what to get the wanderluster in your life? Let them choose their own adventure with this gift that lets them select one experience from a list of 1,500+ options. The activities are available in 100+ countries and range from food tastings to museum passes and snorkeling.