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10 Gift Ideas That Are More Than Just A Box Under The Tree

Give the gift of an experience this holiday season with one of these not-so-ordinary presents that will have your loved ones filled with joy from receiving a ski trip, tickets to see their favorite performer, or a cooking class they’ve been dying to take. We’ll call you Mrs. Claus.

Sure, having a twinkling tree with loads of gift boxes all tied up with ribbon lying underneath it is a classic sight of Christmas but at the end of the day, we can all agree that those things are all just... things. This year, consider giving your loved ones the gift of an experience or service that will keep on giving, long after the wrapping paper gets scooped up into the trash. If you’re ready to ditch the traditional presents and Christmas shopping at the mall, here’s a list of inspiration as you prepare to make your friends and family unofficially dub you Mrs. Claus:

1. Take A Trip Somewhere
Everyone loves a good mini-vacay, so set up a weekend getaway with your significant other or bestie to a place they’ve been dying to visit. From quaint countryside stays to a ski trip in the mountain, nothing says surprise like a spur-of-the-moment trip. If you’re feeling really generous, book a full-on vacation and present the gift in a customizable ticket-template like this cute one from Simple Joys Studio on Etsy.

2. Event Tickets
There’s nothing like surprising someone with a pair of tickets to see their favorite artist live in concert for the first time, or a chance to see their beloved sports team play in the flesh. Whether you snag some killer broadway musical tickets or seats at a stand-up comedy show, your loved one will adore this gift.

3. Subscription Boxes
Truly the gift that will keep on giving, signing up your girlfriend or mom for an online personal stylist service, beauty subscription box, or a monthly jewelry delivery will guarantee that she’ll reap the benefits of your present all year long. You can also sign someone up for monthly deliveries of meal planning boxes, healthy snack compilations, and even a wine subscription box too. Yes, we said wine.

4. A Donation In Their Name
For your philanthropy-loving friends and family members, perhaps you want to consider donating to a cause or organization that is near and dear to their heart. Make the donation in their name, and bring the love and joy of Christmas back into gift-giving. We're obsessed with V-DAY, a gloabl activist movement to end violence against women and girls, and the Breast Cancer Research Foundation

5. A Star… Like In The Sky
Did you know that you can literally purchase a star? Yes, like the big bright thing in the sky. There’s no better way to immortalize your love for someone than by naming a star after them, which may just be the most romantic holiday gesture. *Cue A Walk To Remember* Visit this Star Registration site to get your star, naming certificate, and eternal love from your gift-recipient.

6. A Massage
For the person in your life who needs a little extra R&R this holiday season, give them a gift certificate to the local salon and pamper them with a massage. If you want to go all in, consider giving them the whole spa package with a manicure, pedicure, and facial all wrapped in a bow.

7. Stock In A Company
The financially responsible friend in your life may already be into the investment game, but this holiday season you can help them get even more invested. There are many ways to go about this, so do some research before purchasing the stock to get the best option for your loved one. If you’re completely clueless of where to begin, check out SparkGift or Stockpile to get started.

8. Sign Them Up For A Class
The best presents are gifts that we wouldn’t necessarily buy for ourselves but are so appreciative to have. For some that may be a smartwatch or a heated blanket, but for others that may be the opportunity to learn something new. There are tons of different classes you could sign your loved one up for such as cooking, wine & painting, jewelry making, photography, knitting or sewing, scrapbooking, and even self-defense. Whether they’ve been wanting to learn how to surf or how to play the piano—help them take the first step.

9. A Membership Somewhere
Another useful gift, you could get your friend or family member a membership to a place they’ve always been wanting to go, and then go again. Think of the local museums in town, the zoo and aquarium, yoga studio, or even our personal favorite: Amazon Prime. Perhaps try to steer clear from unwillingly signing your dad up for a gym membership though… that could get awkward.

10. The Gift Of Time
It may sound cheesy, but maybe your loved one really only wants an uninterrupted day of laid back fun with yours truly. Plan out a whole day of activities from movie marathons to a trip to their favorite store. If you’re wanting to stick to a theme, have some fun by gifting your beau a date night in a basket like this Cozy Night In variation from Christina of The DIY Mommy—filled to the brim with delicious snacks, a digital movie gift card, and a pair of cozy slippers.

Alexis Puebla

Alexis is a fashion-obsessed editor and former University of Iowa cheerleader. When she's not writing about fashion's latest trends she enjoys writing for her lifestyle blog, eating Thai takeout, and watching The Office reruns. She also finds great joy in dressing up her shih tzu puppy named Nola and taking Instagram-worthy photos of her.

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