Experience Gift Ideas
Need some experience gift ideas this year?
Experience gifts are a great alternative to traditional gift-giving. It's also something we, ourselves, have been doing for years because it addresses several concerns that we have during the holiday season. Here are a few things we love about experience gifts:
- They're the perfect gift for “someone who has everything”
- They're more eco-friendly & sustainable (we produce millions of tonnes of excess waste during the holiday season – and not just a few million!)
- They create memories that last a lifetime
- You avoid contributing to a collection of unused items in someone's closet
This kind of gift-giving is our absolute favorite because it not only addresses the list above, it also gives something more precious than any “thing”. Your time. The possibilities are endless when it comes to experience gifts but here are some ideas to get you started this season.
PRO TIP: Avoid printing coupons you've created yourself. It's cute, yes, but here's the problem. If you've created a coupon book with things like “movie date”, “dinner date”, “1 house cleaning”, etc the likelihood that your loved one will use it is slim. Why? Because many people will feel guilty redeeming these hypothetical gifts. We recommend actually purchasing the experience before you gift it. That way, it's already bought and paid for so they're far more likely to use it.
Disclaimer: Yes, we are in the midst of a pandemic! While we have fact-checked each of the experiences we're listing here to ensure they have proper protocols and procedures in place it's your responsibility to follow the guidelines. As you know, the information we have changes rapidly so the “rules” at the time of publishing could have changed. Stay safe, friends.
Experience Gift Ideas for Foodies
This topic gets a big section in our gift guide this year because, let's be honest, we talk about food A LOT. We love it, we know you love it, so why not weave this right into your gift-giving this year!
Never underestimate the power of a great meal. A few years back we started buying clusters of gift cards to our favorite restaurants and giving them as a “group gift”. For example, there are 8 of us on my Mom's immediate side so Brent & I will purchase 8 $50 gift cards (one for each of us). When we deliver the gift, we book it right away (and usually pick up the remaining tab if there is one).
This experience gift has become a tradition because sharing a meal with your entire family (depending on size) can be challenging. Particularly if your children are grown and all out of the house. Whether you're buying for a larger group of siblings or for your significant other, a date night is always well-received. If we're not able to gather in groups or dine-in at restaurants, consider ordering take-out and having a cozy night in.
If you're local to Halifax, we'd highly recommend checking out these restos:
Gahan House / 1615 Grafton St, Halifax
The Gahan House has one of our favorite patios in the city and a fantastic curbside pick-up program. Elevated pub fare and handcrafted ales. Do we need to go on?
Agricola Street Brasserie / 2540 Agricola St, Halifax
As residents of Halifax's North End, we're STOKED to be so close to the Brass! There are beaucoup reasons to stop by, but the best one is that you know you will be treated like an old friend while you enjoy the casual atmosphere and start your day (or night) off right!
Biana Apertivo Bar / 1584 Argyle St, Halifax
Smack in the heart of Halifax’s entertainment district on the oh-so-charming Argyle street lies a brand new restaurant and cocktail bar. Crisp whites, art-deco lighting, and thoughtful touches and textures create the perfect backdrop for evenings spent in good company. Bianca's menu features small plates that are big on flavor. Think modern Italian dishes sized perfectly for sharing and sampling.
Shuck Seafood + Raw Bar / 5120 Salter St, Halifax
If you love seafood – stop the scroll! The raw bar at Shuck features the freshest fish and shellfish with inventive flavors designed to complement, never cover-up. Starters and shareable's are the stars of the show, and the mains elevate favorite classics from down-home to downright delicious.
Food & Drink Tours
This year, we had the pleasure of jumping on several food and drink tours with Grape Escapes & Taste Halifax. They've got not only a great line up of regular tours but they also do custom tours for groups of 8 or more! Our personal favorites are the Wine & Lunch Escape, the Halifax Beer Bus and the Eat Halifax Tour.
You've heard us talk about Kitchen Door catering a time or two (or ten) before. Why? Because they're awesome. Chef Patty and her team host regular cooking classes covering everything from knife skills to Thai cuisine and everything in between (see what I did there). We LOVE the idea of giving the gift of a group cooking class this year!
Experience Gift Ideas for Travelers
We get it, not everyone has the time or means to take long-distance trips as regularly as they'd like. But who couldn't use a night or two away without having to take time off work? We're big fans of local destination travel! Whether you're booking something in your own province or “home adjacent” this kind of gift will be a winner with just about everyone.
We love the idea of taking this opportunity to explore a new place, close to home that you may have overlooked previously. Recently, we've started exploring places like the town of Barrington – just a couple of hours from us on Nova Scotia's south shore but FULL of amazing things to see and do!
Regardless of where in the world you live, consider looking to your local resorts & accommodations for your gift ideas. If you're here in Nova Scotia, we've got some ideas for you here.
Tidal Bore Rafting Resort
Did you think a rafting resort is only for summer? Wrong! It's true, booking when you can also experience the incredible tidal bore by raft is epic but we're also VERY partial to winter getaways in these cozy cottages. We've been, many times, and we love it!
White Point Beach Resort
White Point Beach Resort literally has something for everyone. With an onsite restaurant & bar, games room, endless events, pool, trails – you name it, they've got it. Oh, and the beach! If you want to know why we've been guests of White Point so often, check out this post we published about our recent visit.
If you're looking for luxury vacation rentals – you've found them. Oversea is really unique company that we met a couple of years ago and we love what they're about. They manage more than 100 vacation rental properties in Atlantic Canada and they've got some doozies in their roster. Looking for a waterfront oasis? No problem. How about a luxury flat in Halifax's downtown? Yep, they've got that too. Check out their listings and get dreaming!
AirBnB Oceanfront Cottage Retreat
We recently stayed at this gorgeous AirBnB on Cameron's Beach, Nova Scotia and were blown away. It's steps (like 10 steps) from the water and is surprisingly affordable for a 3 bedroom, luxury oceanfront cottage. Check out all the details here and use our code to save $45 on your first booking.
While giving away a trip might be a little lofty, there's also the option of giving the chance at a trip (or 12). Travelotto is an amazing program in support of Big Brother Big Sisters in Colchester County and they make great stocking stuffers. Each ticket is $25 (with 2 tag options) and gets you entered into 12+ trip draws over the year! So, your “little” gift could result in a big win (or multiple wins).
Experience Gifts that Pamper
Two words. Self-Care. Ok, it's hyphenated but still! Self-care gifts are BRILLIANT because, as a society, we're still guilty of feeling guilty about doing things for our own well-being. It's crazy, but it's true. So anytime you can take the pressure off and give someone permission to relax, unwind and practice a little self-care it's a good day.
As a former RMT (that's registered Massage Therapist) I can tell you with 100% certainty – EVERYONE can benefit from regular massage. But, not everyone prioritizes body care so why not give 'em a push! When it comes to massage, I'm always an advocate for RMT's above all else and can personally vouch for Well Within Chiropractic as a great choice (I actually use to work there)!
Need I say more? 99% of people LOVE spa services. In fact, a few years back I forced my father to join me for a pedicure and since then he's been enjoying one every month! Pick a service, buy a gift card to a local spa and make a day of it with someone in your life.
Be sure to check out services beyond the usual suspects like mani's & pedi's. They're great (obviously) but there are SO many other unique options like Indian scalp massage, flotation tanks, dermaplaning and so much more.
Adventurous Experience Gifts
Dinners, spa days & retreats are fan favorites for basically everyone. But, if you've got someone (or a group of someone's) on your list who enjoy a little adventure we've got some experience gift ideas we think you'll love. We ADORE introducing our peeps to something new and this was one of our favorite gifts to give last year.
We've been to the timber lounge a few times now and we always have a blast. So, last year we rented a whole lane for our family! It was a SMASH HIT! All four of them were first-timers, and all four of them loved it!
We've listed some of our favorites but if you're still struggling to come up with something epic, here's a rapid-fire list of even more experience gift ideas:
- Memberships: Museums, Gyms/Fitness Studios, Yoga or Dance, Music Venues, Golf clubs, pools, nordic spas (yes please), infrared saunas, flotation centers, etc. The list goes on. Think about the person your buying for and consider all the memberships that they might enjoy!
- Adventures: This one has a sub-list and totally depends on the person but here's a few we can personally recommend:
- OnTreePark (tree top adventures)
- White Water Rafting
- Tidal Bore Rafting
- Hot Air Ballooning
- Laser Tag
- Go Cart Racing
- Kayaking Tour
- Glamping / Camping
- Theme park
- Zip Lining
- Escape Rooms (so fun)
- Private Chef's Dinner
- Tickets: Events, Movies, Concerts, Comedy Clubs, Shows, Dinner Theatre
- Cleaning services – be careful, you don't want to insult anyone but if you know that your bestie is HATES cleaning the house, do her a solid and hire a professional cleaner for her!
- Guided Tours: city tours, ghost tours, brewery/winery/distillery tours, historic tours, boat tours
- Photoshoots: we all love meaningful photos but lots never pull the trigger – book it for them!
- Chocolate workshops – yes, it's a thing
Still stuck? Here are some more gift guides you might like: