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Consider Gifting An Experience This Holiday Season: Thinking Outside The Box (Literally)

The holiday season is finally upon us, which means it’s time to get on top of that holiday gift shopping. While I love giving gifts, I can’t deny that finding the perfect item for each person can be a challenge. Do they already have it? Do they even want it? Will it inevitably be re-gifted? 

The older I get, the more I appreciate having experiences with people over having material things. Actually experiencing something can be so much more memorable than just accumulating another piece of clothing, candle, makeup, etc. While I love that stuff as much as the next person, I challenge you this holiday season to think outside the box (figuratively and literally) and consider giving a loved one an experience. Here are a few ideas to get you started:

Concert / Play / Sports Ticket

Some kind of ticket was the first experiential gift that came to mind. I am a huge concert fan, and I’ve personally received concert tickets as gifts in the past. Concerts are way more fun with friends or family, so your recipient is sure to love this. Check around to see who’s performing in your area in the near future. Alternatively, if you are shopping for a theater fan, tickets to touring musicals or plays would be so much fun. For the sports fan in your life, tickets to see a game are a great option also. 

Cameo Video

If you aren’t familiar, Cameo is a website that allows you to buy video shout-outs from certain celebrities. You can personalize what you want to be said in the video, for an even more unique and hilarious gift. Cameo hosts a wide range of stars, including niche internet celebrities, reality tv stars, athletes and everything in between. For my high school graduation, I received a Cameo message from the star of one of my favorite shows (hint, the show’s on TLC), and I laugh about it to this day. A Cameo message from someone funny is a gift they definitely won’t forget.

Theme Park Tickets

For fellow UCLA students, this could be Disneyland, Universal or Six Flags. No matter how old someone is, I truly feel that everyone can appreciate a good theme park day. If you want to jazz it up a bit, you can even gift the ticket along with a pair of Mickey Mouse ears or something similar depending on the theme park. 

Universal Studios
Jocelyn Hsu / Spoon

This idea can take multiple forms. Subscriptions to a streaming service (like Netflix, Hulu, Disney+, Peacock, HBO Max, and many more) are gifts that keep giving throughout the year. Though this is slightly more materialistic and less experiential, I think monthly/quarterly subscription services could work here too. I’ve had subscriptions to different “boxes” in the past, and it’s always so exciting to wait for the packages to arrive each month. Book of the Month is perfect for readers and Ipsy or Birchbox would be great for makeup fanatics. 

Holiday shopping can definitely be tricky when it feels like everyone already has everything. I hope these ideas give you some inspiration and help you think beyond the typical material gift. It sounds cheesy but do remember, it is very much the thought that counts. Happy shopping and happy holidays! 

Lily is a second year Political Science major at UCLA from Sarasota, FL. In her free time, she loves binge-watching sitcoms, listening to music, and finding new coffee shops.