For the holidays, you may be ready to try a truffle class, learn to make Magnolia’s famous banana pudding, or book the family photo shoot you’ve been putting off for years (literal years at this point, we get it). Something new for the new year could mean escaping to a secluded cabin in the woods or mastering a new skill a la Masterclass. If you’re seriously craving adventure— join a city scavenger hunt, book a jaunt to Paris or finally plan that quick-trip to Iceland.
Some of these experiences are great solo. Others are meant for you to grab a bestie or partner. A few are even for you and the kids. Bottom line, have fun, get outside your comfort zone, and do something exciting. Grow your mind, grow your circle of friends, grow your heart. And please have some fun for all of us!
Best virtual experience gifts
What are you doing next weekend? Don’t say “nothing” when there are virtual experiences like these to choose from. Starting at barely $25, you and your friends/family can learn all about how to read tarot cards, make truffles from scratch, create clay earrings, paint a portrait of your pet, learn astrology, and mix smoky cocktails. Plus too many others to list. All we’re saying is this is how to plan something fun, at home, and learn a new skill that you’ve always been interested in learning more about.
For anyone who has not yet tried Masterclass, get on it! This all-access pass brings you up close and personal with 100+ instructors who are each the best of the best in their field. You can get schooled in writing with Judy Blume, home design with Kelly Wearstler, conservation with Dr. Jane Goodall, and more.
Amazon Explore lets you travel the world virtually. But if you were hoping to get the gang all together for an adventure, guess what? You can! With Amazon Explore’s group experiences, you can use up to seven different devices to connect over incredible adventures like Empanada making in Argentina, learning about Mexican coffee from a traditional family roaster and getting up-close with wild animals in Costa Rica at the Toucan Rescue Ranch.
You’ve always wanted to be speaking a second or third language—well, here’s your chance to learn with a native speaker! Portuguese, Korean, Russian, you name it, can be learned by the hour during a 1:1 with teachers in 190+ countries. The levels of learning vary, and there is even an ‘instant lesson’ option if you’re ready to get started right now. (Some of us may be signing our partners and children up for this as we speak.)
When you need to get away, how good does a cozy cabin just a few hours drive (with no WiFi) sound? So, so good. Take that well-deserved getaway in an outpost near you. From NY, for example, there are outposts in the Eastern and Western Catskills in 2+ hours. From Seattle, you’ve got barely an hour plus ride. Getaway’s tiny, superchic cabins are full of the amenities we all need to rest and recharge. Leave your phones in the Cellphone Lockbox and just chill, for once.
We’re pretty sure the word “experience” came from Disney, and they don’t disappoint. In fact, to celebrate their own 50-year anniversary, they’re offering a 50th Anniversary VIP tour that takes a group (up to 6 people) on a behind-the-scenes tour of multiple parks including the all new Tri-Circle D Ranch. The magical experience is a must-do for die-hard Disney fans (admit it—you’re one of them!).
Think of anything you have ever wanted to do, and just do it, with Airbnb Experiences. If you want to do it remotely, you can try anything from a forest bathe in Kyoto’s Sacred Mountain to visiting a rescue goat sanctuary in NY State. If you’re ready to do an adventure IRL, the world is your oyster. Dog sled near Reykjavik, brave the waterfalls of Empress Canyon in Australia or hike the wilderness of Patagonia. These adventures are the real deal.
Live the life you always wanted to— for a few days, a few weeks, or even longer. Hobbit lovers, your treehouse in the Shire awaits at Lost Pines.
Christmas experience gifts
Commemorate any holiday trip, family gathering or special moment with real photos by a real photographer. Book a free 30 minute session at your nearest city and pay for only the photos you love. You make all the choices from a digital photo gallery just days later. Upgrades include custom sessions and retouching for photos that were *almost* exactly how you wanted them to look.
There are some places your family goes back to year after year— they are just that special.
One of our favorites is the oceanfront Coronado in San Diego where they do up the holiday experience! Ice skate oceanfront, watch holiday movies in the sand, and enjoy s’mores and bonfires. Other hotels we love for holiday tradition include the French Quarter Inn in Charleston, The Four Seasons in Maui (which was where White Lotus was filmed!) and The Breakers in Palm Beach.
Why not give the gift of delicious meals, right? We love the experience of making great, healthy dinners without having to plan it out, or even go food shopping. HelloFresh offers restaurant-worthy menu options in their Taste Tours category which brings food from around the world straight to your kitchen. Think Chicken Ramen in a Shoyu-Style Broth, Sweet Heat Shrimp Tempura Bowls, and Italian Sunday Supper.
There is nobody who won’t love the experience of custom curated wines. After a quick quiz (red, white, rose?), Winc will learn your taste (honey or currant?) and your preferred wine region and pack you up a box of select wines. They cut through the thousands of wine brands and types to suggest wines that pair up with your specific palate.
Does today feel like a HIIT or barre kind of day? Do you want to do it at home or in a gym? Should you scrap that and go for a massage instead? All those things can be booked through ClassPass. This app connects you to thousands of online and in-person activities in your area, all of which are booked by using credits based on your membership plan.
Experience gifts for men (and honestly, anyone)
Goldbelly is known for their amazing food boxes, but their new Live! series brings America’s most acclaimed chefs, pizza makers, bakers and more right into your home. Now who’s ready for a cook-along with Michael Anthony of Gramercy Tavern or Bobbie Lloyd of Magnolia Bakery? Open your meal kit, gather your basics, and join them in real time via Zoom to create a chef curated meal like none other.
Spend the day driving the car you always imagined yourself driving. Choices range from a 1970 Bronco to a 1967 Mustang to a 1983 DeLorean and everything in between. Just because these cars may not be practical for your lifestyle, doesn’t mean spending the day in them wouldn’t be so much fun!
Pick a city, pick a scavenger hunt! Learn about the city by running around, making discoveries and earning points. You can do it ‘couples style,’ with a group, or even as a team building activity. See the sights, solve riddles, answer trivia, learn fun facts, conquer challenges, and have a great time in your own city or one that you’ll be visiting soon.
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