Holiday gift giving can be stressful sometimes, especially if you are trying to get something for that person who doesn’t really need or want anything (like me – I’m the worse). Instead of buying things and more stuff, how about buying what I call Experience Gifts? I also like to do this for my kids to introduce them to new cultural experiences, hobbies and sometimes just to get them outdoors and off their devices.
Experience Gifts can be tailored to the person’s interests and can be as creative as you want. Combine tickets or a gift card with a small basket of related items or attached it to something that will remind them of the experience later. It also shows them that you really put some thought into them and their gift.
My motto is “Less Stuff, More Fun!”
Here are some ideas for fun Experience Gifts.
State Parks Pass – This is one of my favorite gifts to give. They can use it all year long and it will inspire them to take a few road trips and explore our beautiful Texas State Parks. You can also pick up a State Park guide at Barnes n Noble to go with it. A Texas State Parks Pass only costs $70 and is issued to one person (the card holder). You can buy a second pass for someone who lives at the same address for $25 more.
Wine Tasting – Purchase a wine tasting gift card along with a bottle of wine at Bent Oak Winery in Cedar Park or plan a whole day trip for them with a scenic drive to Flat Creek Estate Winery in Marble Falls with wine tasting and lunch or dinner at the Bistro on site. Give them a guide with all of the Texas Hill Country Wineries to explore or set a date to go together. Reserve a B&B in Fredericksburg and make a whole romantic weekend of it.
Foodie Gifts – Artisan food gifts are always well received. It’s something people may not splurge on themselves, but they will enjoy and savor when given as a gift. They might even get hooked and continue supporting local as a treat for themselves! Make a basket of locally made Ecuadorian Chocolates at The Ecuadorian Chocolate Factory. The Sweet Shack Candy Shop can make a custom basket for you or you can have some fun going in and handpicking your own sweet treats. Have a fresh charcuterie board delivered by one of these local food artisans, like You & Brie or Millers Table. Support local restaurants too and pick up a gift card for your foodie friend. Need some ideas, check out Cedar Park Foodies on Facebook.
Tickets to a Play, Musical, Comedy Show, Concert or Symphony – There many options in the Austin metro area to see a live performance of some sort. Look for upcoming performances and book them a ticket to see something you know they would enjoy. Here are some resources for finding upcoming concerts and live performances; Ticket Master, Austin Symphony, Esther’s Follies, Hideout Theatre, Scottish Rite Theatre, Long Center for Performing Arts, Bass Concert Hall, Zach Theatre, Broadway in Austin, Fallout Theatre,
Movie and More – A gift card for movie tickets is always welcomed, but you can also do a little extra by combining it with a gift card to a favorite restaurant. Or just dine-in at Alamo Draft House, Moviehouse & Eatery and iPic at the Domain.
Tickets to an Event at HEB Center – We have an amazing venue right here in Cedar Park, H.E.B. Center, where you can get tickets to see an exciting basketball game with the Austin Spurs or an exhilarating hockey match with the Texas Stars. There are also many upcoming concerts and events for 2020 at the Center, like Trolls Live, Mark Anthony, Paw Patrol Live, and Greater Austin ComicCon. Combine tickets with a small item such as a toy, hockey puck or basketball item to create a unique gift.
Live Music – There are no shortage of live music venues in Austin. There are tons of concerts coming up next year. Right here in Cedar Park we have Haute Spot, an outdoor live music venue with a wide variety of artists coming to play.
Artsy Gifts – Do you have a crafty, artsy, creative type in your family? Don’t just do a Hobby Lobby or Michael’s card. Give them an art experience. There are several cool places nearby to give the gift of creativity. Try Board and Brush, Painting with a Twist, and Cedar Park Pottery You could even sign them up for art lessons at Cordovan Art School or, Art+ Academy.
Cooking – Faraday’s Kitchen Store in Bee Cave, Central Market Cooking School and Sur La Table at the Domain all offer fun cooking classes. Here is a nice list of Austin Cooking Classes. This would be a cool couples gift of an experience you can do together or with a friend.
Museum Membership – Memberships are very affordable when you average out the cost for multiple visits, discounts and events at the museum that come with it. We have some nice museums in Austin to visit. You could even just buy a one day ticket to a few different places, along with a local museum guide and give that as a gift. Here are some museums to support; Blanton Museum of Art, Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, LBJ Presidential Library, Umlauf Sculpture Garden, Thinkery Children’s Museum, Austin Aquarium and Bob Bullock Museum where you can also add an iMax movie too.
Outdoor Activities – One of my favorite things to do with out of town guests is paddle boarding downtown or on Lake Travis. There are many board, canoe and kayak rental places on the lakes. You can also give the gift of boating with a day rental of a boat on Lake Travis. Or try a bat cruise or duck boat tour downtown.
Adventure Seekers – For the adventure seeker get them a pass for Zip Lining over Lake Travis or fly with indoor skydiving at iFly. They can also get their thrills with extreme rock climbing at Crux Climbing Center or learn high flying trapeze moves at Sky Candy
Hopefully this list gave you some creative gift giving ideas. If you have some more Experience Gift ideas, I’d love to hear about them! My family and I are always looking for more fun things to do together. Enjoy!