12/11/2015 04:55 EST | Updated 12/14/2015 07:59 EST

How To Gift Experiences And Look Like A Genius

Woman Phoning From a Train
Fuse via Getty Images
Woman Phoning From a Train

You've heard time and time again that when it comes to Christmas gifts, people don't want more stuff in their lives — they just want something small to show you're thinking of them. But honestly, we think that's only half true.

Sure, no one wants more crap they won't use in their house, but if you wanted to get them, say, the chance to have Serena Williams teach them tennis, they wouldn't exactly say no.

And that's why the experience gift is one of the best you can give. It's a combination of thinking about the recipient's interests while also giving them something to do — a new hobby to try or skill to improve.

We've pulled together some of the greatest experiences you can give as gifts this holiday season — check them out and see if there isn't something there for someone on your list.

  • Go To The Experts
    Go To The Experts
    This site is offering up big names teaching hot topics, like Annie Leibovitz on photography, Serena Williams teaching tennis and (soon) Kevin Spacey teaching acting. The time investment varies depending on the topic (and celebrity), but each class is $90, and easy to give as a gift.
  • Learn To Drive
    Learn To Drive
    If you have teens in the house, unquestionably they're already eyeing the keys to the car. This program from Toyota gives kids access to a go-kart track, along with instructors, to instill a love for driving starting at age 10. It also teaches safe ways to act behind the wheel (but you don't have to tell them that). Programs are $79 + HST for a half day.
  • The Gift Of Calm
    The Gift Of Calm
    You may not be too excited about giving an app as a present, but Headspace has gained accolades for helping even the least mindfulness-oriented people get into meditation. A yearly subscription is $7.99 (U.S.), and gives access to all of the courses, including those specific for pregnancy, creativity or generosity, to name just a few options.
  • Get Crafty
    Get Crafty
    The Woven Wolf
    Here's a chance to do two great things at once. The Make Den, a Toronto craft studio, is running a Kickstarter in order to offer sewing and craft tutorials online — and if you donate a minimum of $25 to it, you'll receive one of the tutorials for free — perfect for the wannabe crafter in your life.
  • Sweet Treats
    Sweet Treats
    Alright, this does technically qualify as giving something, but when it's food, we consider that an experience in and of itself. This new online marketplace for bakeries is currently live in Toronto, but spreading to other cities very soon. It offers delivery of baked goods from a variety of shops within 90 minutes of ordering — or you can pre-order for the future.
  • Explore Your Country
    Explore Your Country
    Train Ride
    Sure, you can snag a Via rail gift card for that last-minute weekend trip to Quebec City, but if you want to spend some big bucks, opt for a card that will cover one of these all-inclusive train packages, like the Trans-Canada Experience that takes you from Vancouver to Toronto over the course of 12 days.
  • Make Your Own Perfume
    Make Your Own Perfume
    Unique Fragrance
    This site offers the chance to create a personalized scent based on a number of characteristics (and ingredients). While you could do this for someone, wouldn't it be nice to give them a chance to make their own individual fragrance? Just be sure to buy a gift card that will cover it — $100 should be enough.
  • Take A Hike
    Take A Hike
    Parks Canada
    The hundreds of sites across the country on offer via Parks Canada can be experienced through a gift certificate, whether it's a family pass ($136.40) for up to seven people going to a national park, national marine conservation area or national historic site, or a season's pass to a favourite national park (prices vary).


Naughty Elf On The Shelf 2015