Experience gifts that don't require purchasing a ticket

These novel ideas are low in cost and high in fun.

These novel ideas are low in cost and high in fun

left: a woman wearing an apron, tasting food she made; middle: a person in a silver parka looking at Christmas lights with their back to camera; a man dressed to play hockey, sitting on a bench and cleaning a skate.
(Credit: iStock/Getty Images)

The holiday season is here, and brings with it the pressure of finding the perfect gift for our loved ones. For those looking to break away from traditional presents, consider experience gifts as a unique and meaningful option. They not only ease the strain on your wallet — if done in the ways I'm about to suggest — and reduce clutter, but also offer a more personalized way to show your love. Investing in experiences lets you show you care, while making memories that could last a lifetime. 

Get in the game with amateur hockey classes and some rink time

Sign someone up for a chance to sharpen up their hockey skills. Many hockey rinks and community recreational groups offer drop-in stick and puck sessions. Take one with a pal to help raise the stakes for your next neighbourhood pick-up hockey game. Remember, it's never too late to learn. Additionally, you might be able to reserve your local rink to throw a few casual hockey games, which is also a great gift. Call up your favourite hockey-heads to enjoy some quality time carving up the ice. 

Embark on a holiday lights walking tour

Looking for a way to add excitement to your evenings this season? Invite loved ones and friends to join you in admiring the holiday lights in your neighbourhood or local park. Time will fly by as you get steps in, and you might get inspired to adopt a creative concept for your own home. If you'd like to get a little extra sentimental, plot your walk to pass by some of your favourite places and share happy memories. If you're in a competitive mood, turn your walk into a scavenger hunt by listing unconventional decorations to spot along the way. And if you're eager to see spectacular displays, consider visiting a local light festival.

Interpret the possibilities with a tarot reading

If you've got a deck of tarot cards, you can give the gift of self-reflection by learning how to give a tarot reading and offering one. If you're feeling crafty, creating your own deck can be a fun and personal experience. Start by focusing on the intention you want to set for your deck. Then, select an art style and plan the cards you want to create. Enhance the vibe by decorating your space with candles, incense and a soothing playlist. Your guests will be captivated. Remember, there is no such thing as a negative card in tarot; it's all about our interpretation of it. 

Make some holiday DIY decorations

If you want to make memories and beautiful keepsakes, there are plenty of satisfying DIY projects to attempt while watching your favourite holiday movies together. Preparing your materials ahead of time and selecting a movie that doesn't require your full concentration can make for a delightful evening of crafting and creativity. Velvet and beaded bows are a simple way to add non-breakable decor to your space. Get creative with wreaths, using unconventional materials to add a pop of personality to your door. 

Do a dinner swap

If you've been itching to improve your culinary skills but need some inspiration, a dinner swap with nearby friends could tantalize your taste buds. Plan a meal exchange with fellow gourmands using your favourite dinner recipe — or something new. Setting a theme can help everyone to acquire new tastes. Alternatively, baking holiday cookies to trade can be a great activity. 

Bring the silver screen to life with pop-culture cooking night 

Have you ever been tempted to try out an on-screen recipe? This next idea is like a double-feature gift, so to speak. Invite your giftee over to watch the movie and recreate the deliciously spicy hot dark chocolate from 2000's Chocolat, with almond milk, dark chocolate and your favourite spices. Cinnamon, cayenne, cardamom and a pinch of salt will transport you right into Lansquenet-sous-Tannes in 1959. 

Julia Roberts would approve of a pizza night, whether you're tuning into her 1988 classic, Mystic Pizza or 2010's Eat Pray Love. Keep it simple by picking up a pre-made pizza crust or dough to ensure your experience is a success. 

Who wouldn't want to treat themselves to a slice of Bruce Bogtrotter's chocolate cake from 1996's Matilda? This three-layer cake may take some preparation, but not a slice will be left behind once you've finished screening this classic comedy. Use a devil's food cake mix to speed up the process so you can relish each bite with Bruce. 

Meryl Streep and Steve Martin make baking chocolate croissants look like a breeze in 2009's It's Complicated. A little patience and a meticulous eye for detail will help you to create fluffy and delicious croissants for yourselves.

Even thrillers have fantastic recipes. Parasite (2019) could inspire you to cook up some Korean Ramdon, or Jjapaguri. This tasty noodle dish is easily made with basic ingredients such as broccoli, steak tips, ramen or udon noodles and green onions. 

Plan a hot chocolate hop

Appeal to your community's sweet tooth — enlist your neighbours to participate in a hot chocolate crawl. The idea is simple yet delightful: each participant prepares a unique hot chocolate recipe at their home. As you hop from house to house, everyone gets to sample a variety of hot chocolate creations. This experience requires some planning, but the joy of sharing and tasting different versions of hot cocoa will transform this gathering into a memorable culinary event!


Bryanna Collier is an astrology and fashion writer. Her work focuses on astrology, personal style, and how the two intersect. Follow her work at The Star Crossed.

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