Give the gift of experience

This holiday season, let’s make it less about the material and more about the memory.
Published December 28, 2017

Do you remember every gift you’ve ever received? The answer is likely no. The gifts you remember are probably the ones that had a lot of thought behind them, and what you probably remember even more, are the experiences you’ve been given and the memories you’ve made with family and friends.

This holiday season, what if we all endeavoured to give each other great experiences and make wonderful memories, instead of focusing on material presents?

There are so many ways to give the gift of experience – the key is to make it personalized to the recipient. Think about what they would appreciate or what they like to do. What’s something they’ve hinted at always wanting to see or do, or what’s a secret dream you know they’ve long held? Brainstorm ideas for your parents, your kids, your significant other, your best friend, and then go about making it happen this holiday season!

Here are some ideas for how to give the gift of experience this year:

A Winter to Remember

What could be a more perfect holiday gift than a true winter experience? Organize ice skating – especially if you have a friend who’s never been – sledding, skiing, hot chocolate and mulled wine, and anything else you can think of to give someone the perfect winter experience. If you want to spend a bit more, try taking them to the amazing Winter Festival of Lights in Niagara Falls, and if you want to make it a really memorable gift, consider heading into Quebec City for a truly magical Christmas.

Restaurant Tasting Tour

If you’ve got a foodie or two in your life, why not plan a gift of experiencing a few restaurants? Plan a route in your downtown area and head to each place for a drink and an appetizer or two. You can create your own kind of tapas evening at multiple locations and wind up spending about the same or less as you would on a full meal at one fancy place.

Axe Throwing

Yes, axe throwing – because, why not? This is most definitely a gift of experience, and it’s bound to be one your friend or family member will remember. This is also a great idea for a group activity, so you can give the gift of experience to everyone on your Christmas list!

Library/Bookstore Crawl

Everyone talks about pub crawls, but if you have a bookworm in your life, you can bet this gift idea will go over well. Take your bookworm to a couple old libraries in your city (the older and more ornate, the better) and then head to used bookstores, antique bookstores, and even a major retailer for good measure. Make it all about what your bibliophile loves to do – browse through shelves upon shelves of books, at their own pace. Your bookworm will thank you!

The Perfect Day at Home

Remember, we’re talking about gifts of experience here. For some people, the most amazing present would be to have all their responsibilities taken care of so they can stay home and be cozy, doing whatever they want. Get all the chores taken care of, get the kids out of the house, provide an endless supply of hot drinks and good snacks, and let your recipient slip on a pair of fuzzy socks and enjoy a day of nothing in particular. Who wouldn’t want that?

A Night at the Christmas Market

Christmas markets, such as Toronto’s and Vancouver’s, are one of the most enchanting holiday experiences you can gift someone. They are perfect for date night and lend themselves easily to the making of wonderful memories – the time you kissed at the top of the Ferris wheel, the time you bought ridiculous mismatch ornaments, the time you shared a hot chocolate and got whipped cream on your noses… you see where we’re going with this. Head out to the Christmas market and create an amazing experience!

A Visit to the Ice Hotel

Canada has the only ice hotel in North America, and it’s definitely something that should be on everyone’s bucket list. You can visit the architecturally unique Hôtel de Glace in Quebec just for a drink, or you can go all in and spend the night for the full experience.