(Gift Guide)

Time-Spent Is The New Great Gift, So Here Are 7 Experiences To Give Your Friends

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No one would blame you if you concluded, based on the information you’re provided in gift guides and everywhere else, that “stuff” is what you should give for the holidays. The real data, however, says otherwise. While it seems everyone in the world is touting products, sharing or providing an experience with your friend might just be the new great gift instead.

Yes, time-spent as a gift is on the up — and for good reason. According a survey by Adobe from 2021, nearly one-fifth (or 17%) of respondents said they planned to gift an experience rather than physical goods. Groupon research conducted in 2022 reveals similar findings: “While 31% of U.S. consumers plan to gift experiences this year, 40% would like to receive an experience gift,” reads its report.

It’s not hard to imagine why experience gifts might be trending. As Groupon stated, “People are readier than ever to get outside the house and have some fun.” Many are also, no doubt, craving human interaction — and what better way to ensure that than a gift that requires time together? On top of this, there are the never-ending supply chain issues. This makes something like a virtual class infinitely easier to give a friend, since you know there will be no delayed shipments or out-of-stock messages.

All of that said, it remains true that experience gifts (especially when for a friend, rather than a close family member or spouse) are definitely trickier to nail. So if you need a little help, continue on — TZR has rounded up some foolproof ideas for all kinds, ahead.

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A Language Class

Idlewild in New York offers classes for several different languages at varying levels, and makes it easy to gift them with its language course vouchers. In-person courses cost $325 for seven weeks and are offered in Manhattan and Brooklyn, and online courses cost $295 and can be taken via Zoom; thus, you can gift this no matter where your friend lives. Make this an even better experience by signing up for classes together — then, maybe next year you can test your newfound skills by gifting a trip.

A Maie Wine Subscription

Surprise your wine-curious friend with a monthly membership to Maie, which ships out eight bottles of single-serve wine per month for $65 a month. You can choose a mix, a white pack, or a red pack depending on their preferences, and a surprise-and-delight item will be included with each shipment. Just make sure to tell your gift recipient that your only requirement is that you drink them together.

A Butter Book Membership

Got a friend who’s obsessed with baking? Gift them a membership (you can choose a three-, six-, or 12-month subscription) and give them access to tons of baking videos led by professionals. Through the platform, they’ll be able to learn about baking croissants, éclairs, and so much more from renowned pastry chefs. And, let’s be real — you’ll definitely be benefiting from their learnings, too, by getting to indulge in some treats together.

A Coffee Subscription

If drinking coffee together is your ~thing~, a coffee subscription for the next year is a no-brainer gift. This one from Partners is a prepaid subscription for 12 months, and features several flavor and grind options so you can tailor it to the person who’s receiving it. After you give it, all that’s left to do is set a standing date to enjoy it together.

A History-Filled Trip

It may be a splurge, but giving your friend the gift of a trip will ensure memories that last a lifetime. This vacation to the Scottish Highlands provides an immersion into the area’s history and culture, if that’s your thing (and starts at $6,560 per person). However, if you’re feeling a different vibe, you’ve got options; Atlas Obscura offers countless other types of trips to choose from, based on your (and your friend’s) preferences.

A Relaxing Paint Class

A spa day isn’t the only gift option if you want to give your friend a soothing experience. This painting for relaxation class provides 90 minutes of self-care through an art class with an expert instructor. The experience also comes with a Paint by Shadows Kit, so no prep is required. They can just show up, tune in, and kick back — and, of course, leave with a masterpiece. (Also, if you’re not sure how to gift this class, instructions are included on its page.)

An Astrology Workshop

Most people have *that* astrology-obsessed friend who has everything zodiac-themed under the sun. For them, gift an experience instead, such as this affordable astrology workshop from Airbnb Online Experiences. Hosted by a professional astrologer, it’s an online meeting in which attendees learn the symbols in their birth chart maps. You can even book this as a group (prices vary), if you want to participate together or with multiple friends.