Christmas Gift Ideas That are Experiences Rather Than Things

It is so easy to get caught up on having new “things” during the holidays. I feel that pull every year, and although there is nothing inherently wrong with that, sometimes we get so stressed out about affording and purchasing those “things” that we forget to go out and have fun with the people we love.

To keep from losing sight of quality time with loved ones I specifically try to give the gift of experiences during the holidays, especially to my partner Brandon and my niece and nephew.

In fact, Brandon and I have a tradition that my gift to him every year is planning something fun for us to do during the day of Christmas Eve. I’ve taken him to the Descanso Gardens, on a bike ride to the beach and one year instead of doing something on Christmas eve I planned a trip for a few days the week after to a campsite with hot springs.

Here are some ideas of experiences you could gift divided into three categories: experiences that cost money, experiences that are free and experiences that are free and located specifically in the Los Angeles area.

Experiences that cost some money:

  1. A date to the movies (bring your snacks from home of course)
  2. Reserve a couple of nights at a campsite for a future date
  3. Roller rink skating
  4. Ice skating
  5. Rock climbing at an indoor gym
  6. Tickets to a show (concert or theater)
  7. Tickets to a sporting event: I personally love going to Women’s basketball games and they are super cheap. It is usually easy to get tickets for around $10 each.
  8. Escape Room (Not my cup of tea but some people love these)
  9. A date at a nice restaurant they have been wanting to try
  10. Massage (this is a treat for you too if you go together!)
  11. Mani/Pedi’s together (or save by just doing one or the other)

Experience gifts that are free:

  1. Hike
  2. Picnic
  3. Bike ride together in a specifically scenic area
  4. Spend an afternoon creating vision boards together and plan your vision for the next year. (Brandon and I did this for a date one afternoon and it was so much fun!)
  5. Offer your babysitting services to parents so they can have a night on the town
  6. A homemade meal with candles and a movie night at home (they get to pick the movie)

Los Angeles Specific Free Places to Take People as a Gift:

  1. The Old Zoo in Griffith Park (this place is kind of creepy and awesome at the same time. It is small but a fun afternoon place to visit)
  2. Watts Towers, great for a fun photoshoot
  3. Venice Canals, a beautiful place for a walk, bring some hot chocolate with you
  4. Walking tour around some of the “Secret Stairs” in LA. Look them up online and you will find a few different areas where you can check them out. Many of them provide a great place to watch the sunset (fun fact: Brandon proposed to me by our favorite set of Secret Stairs while the sun was setting, with tacos of course!)

This is a small list of ideas. Be creative about it and spend some lovely time enjoying each other’s company. These are the memories you will share forever.

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