Stressed out and sick of braving the Christmas shopper crowds? Nothing beats an experiential gift. It’s a fantastic way to say, “Thank you for your friendship/love/work relationship. I hope that when you’re experiencing this amazing thing and creating wonderful memories you think of me, my affection for you, and my awesome gift-giving abilities.”
It’s also a great way to express other such sentiments as “You are impossible to buy for!”, “I really don’t know your tastes at all!”, and of course, “I ran out of time!” But, you know, in a nice way.
Experiential gifts are great because they’re actually a bunch of gifts in one: a fun new experience (obvi), something to look forward to, and great memories! Maybe it will even help them discover a new hobby! And if all goes wrong, they’ll at least be able to tell a funny story about the Christmas present from hell.
So take a break from the shopping centre, from online deals and other stresses induced by traditional gifts and take a gander through our guide for the perfect experiential Christmas gift!
Two tickets to paradise
Great Christmas presents come in all shapes and sizes, but there sure is something extra mysterious and sneaky about a present that can fit in an envelope. Whether it’s for their favourite band, comedian, musical or even to a dream destination, tickets for him or her and their favourite gift-giver in the world are the ultimate experiential gift.
If you need a bit of wiggle room when looking to whisk them away, Flight Centre offers gift cards ranging in value from $50 to $2000 to help out with flights, accommodation, car hire, tours and car insurance in any location they please.
Sometimes the location can even be in their own backyard, with wonderful experiential gifts like winery tours often only a stone’s throw away. Sirromet Wines at Mount Cotton offers a spectacular informative tour of the grounds and cellar, with accompanying cheese and antipasto, and delicious wine tastings to make for an enjoyable afternoon and a wonderful gift.
To everything, there is a season (pass)
When it comes to classical music fans, there are only so many CDs you can buy; sadly, Mozart, Beethoven and Tchaikovsky aren’t going to be pumping out new hit singles every year. The next best thing? Concert tickets to let them experience the pieces live and in the hands of seasoned professionals. Even better: make ticket-buying your forte with a season pass! Queensland Symphony Orchestra’s mini-subscription packages, allows you to choose between two to four concerts featuring the works of their favourite classic god, with discount rates of up to 30 per cent on each package. Don't be deaf to their pleas; you know they love some Ludwig.
For the drama queens (and kings), enter stage right with season passes for their favourite theatre companies. La Boite is set to thrill audiences with a season dedicated to re-envisioning old classics, while Queensland Theatre Company’s season is rife with fresh and topical drama. Smaller theatre companies deserve your love as well! No one could object to a Savoyards season pass with a production of Legally Blonde in the mix; Brisbane Arts Theatre is perfect for people of all ages with a collection of beloved fairy tales interspersed with productions the adults are sure to love. Present your gift and exit, pursued by a bear hug from a very happy theatre nerd.
If you're buying for someone who might prefer a bit more excitement and a bit less theatre, daaarling, you’ll be kicking goals with a season pass for the Brisbane Lions. Or give them the gift of happiness and adventure with a year-long pass to Dreamworld. We’ve been told these season passes get cheap around holiday time so get clicking!
Prescription for a subscription
We know what you’re thinking – a subscription? Really? But we’re not talking Men’s Health, Cosmo or Vogue (although a free Style subscription is always a great idea!). We’re talking subscription BOXES. A package delivered monthly, bi-monthly, quarterly brimming with all sorts of goodies tailored to their lifestyle.Whether it’s prepared meals, beauty products, skincare samples, fitness accessories, or even fresh produce, you’re bound to find a gift that literally keeps on giving.
If plugging “subscription box” into Google is overwhelming you with possibilities, head to Subscription Box to see a wide variety of Australian-based boxes all in the one place that will keep you from going postal. You can even get book subscriptions from sites such as The Willoughby Book Club, which will mail beautifully-wrapped works chosen according to the recipient’s taste in literature.
Gurl got class
Classes can give the recipient a new experience and new memories, and it might even introduce them to a new skill! Work-Shop Brisbane in South Brisbane offers classes on a range of skills from ikebana, resin jewellery-making, doughnut cooking, ukulele playing, mixology, photography, welding, weaving and… taxidermy? If they’re super keen for the last one, that friendship may need a bit of re-evaluation, #notjudging.
Another great skill you can gift your lucky recipient is that of kicking butt, with 10 sessions at Brisbane Boxing available for $100. (Remember to book yourself some as well so they can’t beat you up!) If you and other friends are keen to join in on the experiential goodness with a bit less intensity, treat yo’ selves and head to Cork & Chroma for some wine, instructed painting, general good times and, most importantly, wine.
Or why not send your beauty product obsessed bestie to a makeup class? Napoleon Perdis offers a one-day Paparazzi Ready course to teach you all you need to know to be ready for your close up.
For the thrillseeker
If you’re going to gift someone with an experience, make sure it’s one they’ll never forget. And the best way to do that is to make them FEAR FOR THEIR LIFE. Just kidding. Sort of.
It certainly doesn’t hurt to inject a little adventure in your recipient’s life, whether it’s with the Story Bridge climb, cable water skiing or skydiving. Warning: skydiving will definitely test the relationship you have with that person.
Take a walk to Kangaroo Point and find a wealth of activities that could each make a fantastic Christmas gift: kayaking, stand-up paddle boarding, rollerblading, rock climbing, abseiling, aaaaaaand segway tours!
Happy pamper, happy camper
If you need to make it up to your gift recipient for all of the exhausting adventure you put them through (especially the segway tour), a good old-fashioned pamper sesh can never go wrong. Many spas, such as Ella Baché, offer a multitude of indulgence packages, including facials, treatments, massages and body scrubs.
If it’s a foodie you’re aiming to please, how about buying a dinner voucher or package for them to indulge later? Libertine in the Barracks. Have prepared for this eventuality, offering the holy grail of experiential gifts in the form of a $99 voucher comprised of two seven-course “I’m Hungry” banquets (featuring crispy parmesan baby squid and crackling roast free-range pork belly) and a choice of a bottle of Lolarose Pinot Gris or Lolarose Syrah. Hello, sailor. Redeemable for use from January until March next year, these vouchers are valued at $152 and must be snapped up before Santa comes to town, a.k.a. by Christmas Eve.
But if you want a pamper sesh that does more than just treat, why not book them in for a makeup tutorial that offers product package deals? Or a session with a tailor? You can pay for a suit tailored from scratch according to the recipient’s wishes, or simply secure a session of much-needed alterations. Either way, there’s no better gift than ensuring your recipient looks dapper as hell.
Now just sit back, relax and wait for the awesome gift they have to get you now. MWAHAHAHAHA!
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