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    22 Gifts For The Hard-To-Shop-For Friend Who "Likes Experiences, Not Things"

    It's hard to shop for experience-lovers this year, but these fun online classes, pieces of outdoor gear, craft kits, and more should do the trick.

    We hope you love the products we recommend! All of them were independently selected by our editors. Just so you know, BuzzFeed may collect a share of sales or other compensation from the links on this page if you decide to shop from them. Oh, and FYI — prices are accurate and items in stock as of time of publication.

    Hey! While we’re doing our best to make sure the products we feature will arrive in time for Christmas, shipping times are especially tricky this year and can vary depending on where you live, which product you purchase, and more. Shop early and be sure to double check the retailers’ websites for shipping information to ensure that your gift will arrive in time for the 25th!

    1. So You Want to Start a Podcast — a book to help them catch up with the rest of the world and start turning their personal experiences into #content. I'm running out of stuff to listen to, so tell them to get moving!

    cover of so you want to start a podcast
    Barnes and Noble

    This book is by Kristen Meinzer, co-host of one of my favorite podcasts By the Book. I would pretty much trust her with my life, so I would def trust her to teach your friend how to start a pod.

    Get it from Amazon for $9.79, Barnes and Noble for $19.73, or Bookshop for $20.23.

    2. A DIY hot sauce kit for the giftee who likes to live dangerously — in a culinary sense, that is. They'll be able to make their own sauces from cayenne, ancho, curry, and chili spice packs by following simple instructions and can even name them using custom labels. I'd call my first sauce "Devil's Saliva" — they can have that great idea for free.

    a variety of the different hot sauces created with the kit
    Uncommon Goods

    The kit includes gloves, sterilizing solution, a small funnel, bottle labels, and six glass containers for packaging.

    Promising review: "My boyfriend has recently been on a hot sauce kick. I came across this and got it for him for our anniversary. I typically get him watches or video game stuff. He was beyond thrilled. Loved it, very excited to create his own, name it what he wants and share his creations with friends. The kit included everything you could need including gloves, which he probably wouldn't have thought to use if it hadn't included them." —megans

    Get it from UncommonGoods for $40.

    3. A beautifully illustrated write-in menu book so they can record and remember all of their soirées through the years. Once we can all gather again, you just know they're gonna want to remember all the beautiful meals they prepared for friends and family.

    watercolor illustrated cover of the menu book

    I was gifted this book at the end of 2019 (LOL), so I haven't really gotten to use it to its fullest yet, but the illustration are gorgeous, the hardcover book itself is sturdy and looks wonderful out on a table or on the shelf, and the pages even *feel* nice. It's a perfect gift for a loved one you're looking forward to dining with again eventually.

    Get it from Amazon for $14.96, Barnes and Noble for $19.99, or Bookshop for $18.39 (originally $19.99).

    4. A We Are Knitters scarf knitting kit for crafting their very own winter-wear. Sitting by a fire stitching away will be a cinematic moment they'll enjoy, especially if they're just learning.

    We Are Knitters

    This beginner kit comes with enough wool yarn to complete the project, an instruction guide in English or in Spanish, and either straight or circular size 19 knitting needles. If they're already a knitting pro, check out the rest of their kits to give them more of a challenge, and check out my We Are Knitters sweater-making kit review here.

    Get it from We Are Knitters for $49.50 (available in 28 colors).

    5. An Udemy class so they can learn anything from photography to yoga to animation all in the comfort of their own home and on their own schedule.

    model aiming a camera

    There are so many classes to choose from (literally over 100,000), but some available classes *I* think would make great gifts are:

    Ultimate Beginner Guitar Masterclass

    Sewing 101

    iPhone Photography | Take Professional Photos On Your iPhone

    Natural Beauty: How to Make Lotions,Creams and Body Butters

    Get them from Udemy starting at $12.99.

    6. A Friends friendship bracelet making kit for the fan who loves to craft for their — say it with me — friends. Making these while bingeing their favorite sitcom is sure to fill many blissful, laugh track-filled hours.


    The kit can make 10 bracelets and includes black and white alphabet beads, silver and gold beads, five enamel charms, round and pony beads in sky blue, red, and yellow colors, four yards of elastic, and a plastic case.

    Get it from Toynk for $15.99.

    7. A book on wilderness survival in case they want to test the limits of their ~experience~. You can't stop them from doing it, but you can try to get them to be as safe as possible!


    The book includes info on making your own tools, collecting food, protecting yourself from the elements, and more!

    Get it from Amazon for $10.39, Barnes and Noble for $14.99, or Bookshop for $15.63.

    8. A sketch book and charcoal pencil set so they can translate the beautiful world around them onto the page — not to mention look very cool and artistic while doing so.


    The charcoal set comes with three charcoal pencils, one graphite pencil, four charcoal sticks, four vine charcoal sticks, and a carrying tin.

    Get them from Amazon: the sketch book for $9.81+ (available in five sizes) and the charcoal set for $8.38.

    9. A set of Table Topics that'll help them start interesting conversations with their friends and family, even over Zoom! A good conversation is one of the best things about life, so anything that can help get one going is an A+.


    Promising review: "This is an awesome way to spark all kinds of conversation. My family played it on Thanksgiving and Christmas and it was so much fun. I thought I knew a lot about my family, but this helped me to know more than I ever could have imagined. It also helped me to know more about myself, as it makes you think about things you probably don't normally think about. I highly recommend this product." —hospicern

    Get it from Amazon for $25.

    10. Some daffodil bulbs they can get outside and plant *now* for a floral explosion come spring —something to look forward to!

    In some areas, the holidays may not be an ideal time to plant bulbs, but it totally depends on the weather! The 40–50 degree range is ideal for a good crop in spring. Check out this helpful article from HGTV for more info to decide if these could be good for your pal!

    Promising review: "These bulbs have their own 'power' song to launch in spring! 'I'm coming up so you better get this party started!' They arrived right on time in the fall looking plump and healthy. I planted about half of them right away. Then I had an unrelated injury and couldn't get back to the rest of them until much later than the normal planting window for our zone. I took a chance and planted them late anyway, and a few weeks ago they'd all pushed through and are still blooming like crazy! I've ordered bulbs from reputable nurseries and bought locally, and I think these are the healthiest bulbs I've ever planted. There is a nice variety of types of blooms and color combinations. Highly recommend." —KtN

    Get them from Amazon: a 20-pack for $18.25 and a 50-pack for $39.98.

    11. A wireless Bluetooth mic for your old karaoke bud who misses Sunday night singing sessions at the local dive. This should satiate them until you're able to belt "Born to Run" together again IRL.

    reviewer's black and pink microphones

    The mic is compatible with with any smartphone or tablet, lasts up to 10 hours on a single charge, and can even be connected to a device with a cable. Check out BuzzFeed's full write-up on this karaoke mic.

    Promising review: "Oh my gosh, I love this! I got mine in the mail yesterday and ended up playing with it for about five hours last night LOL. It connects via Bluetooth so you can connect it to your phone — the music and your singing comes out of the microphone's speaker. It has a volume control for your voice and for the music and also an echo feature. You can put an SD card into the bottom of it and record yourself, or connect it with an audio out to record on one of those karaoke apps on your phone. Between this and being able to find just about any song on karaoke via YouTube, you could easily have your own karaoke parties at home!" —Ferretocious

    Get it from Amazon for $30.99 (available in 10 colors).

    12. A LifeStraw personal water filter so you can always rest assured your adventure-prone person will have clean, fresh water to drink on their frequent hikes, as long as they bring this along in case of emergency.

    reviewer drinking from a stream with the lifestraw

    Promising review: "Used it on a hike recently; tried different configurations as shown, with the drinking straight out of the river, and out of a wide-mouth bottle. The flow-rate through the LifeStraw is a little reminiscent of drinking a really thick milkshake, which is understandable considering the filter basically gets everything. When I filled up my Nalgene with water from the stream, I could see the sediment start to settle; I even made sure to get some with the straw just to see. Worked like a charm. You just need to remember to blow into it afterwards to clear out the straw." —Kingston

    Get it from Amazon for $12.97.

    13. Or a Sawyer Squeeze water filtration system for more thoroughly planned treks like backpacking trips and weekend hikes. It's adaptable and easy to use in almost any situation. I've encountered some pretty sad excuses for water sources and have still been able to get liquid into the bag to be filtered and consumed.

    Rachel Dunkel / BuzzFeed

    The set comes with the filter, two reusable 32-oz, BPA-free collapsible pouches, a drinking straw, one set of Sawyer Inline Hydration Pack Adapters, a cleaning syringe, and a mesh storage bag. It weighs three ounces. It removes bacteria, such as salmonella, cholera and E.coli as well as protozoa, such as giardia and Cryptosporidium.

    I adore this water filter for its ease of use, adaptability, small size, and zero wait time. To use, you just fill the bag, screw on the filter, and roll the bag to squeeze the filtered water into your bottle. You don't need to wait for it to be done like with water treatment pills or gravity systems, and there's no funky taste — just fresh, clean, crisp water. If even the quick bag filling situation sounds like it would take too much time, you can also screw the filter DIRECTLY ONTO A WATER BOTTLE and drink straight from it. Game changing. Either way, it's a quick, lightweight system that I completely recommend.

    Get it from Amazon for $29.97 or REI for $36.95.

    14. A Moleskine notebook for them to use as a journal of their current life and future journeys. They'll love this little artifact once it's full of their doodles, notes, and taped little mementos.

    black moleskin laid out on table

    The hard cover of the book will help its pages stay nice and safe. I have this notebook, and it's survived some rough treatment like a champ.

    Promising review: "I've traveled around the world and I've seen many notebooks, many imitation Moleskines, and really, the only notebook that stands up to Moleskine standards is the Moleskine. I know obnoxiously snotty people who refuse to use anything but the best, and they use Moleskines. I know ridiculously frugal artists and writers who have lived through the most mind-blowing situations, and they dare not record any of it in anything but the most sturdy and trustworthy of notebooks. They use Moleskine. It's a Moleskine. It's awesome. If you want one, you should get one." —slipslip

    Get it from Amazon for $19.16 (available in 15 colors and four styles).

    15. A kombucha making kit, because making their fave strange and delicious fizzy tea using a benevolent floppy bacteria will be — in a few words — an experience!, Amazon

    The kombucha kit includes a 1 gallon brewing jar featuring a place to write brew notes, pH test strips, a temperature gauge, a 16-page post-brewing guide, organic sugar, an organic tea blend, and a kombucha culture and liquid starter.

    Promising review: "It has everything you need to start a first batch of kombucha. It includes clear instructions on how to make it and continue your kombucha for the second batch. Now I’m making my third batch and loving it so far. After the first batch, you will need to find your own tea leaves and sugar but it’s fun trying different tea to see how differently it tastes. It’s also fun trying different fruits/spices for second fermentation. If you purchase this kit as your first kombucha investment, you can brew your kombucha forever only with additional tea leaves and sugar." —Meg

    Get it from Amazon for $44.99.

    16. An Instax camera that'll let them capture and store their memories IRL — a novel concept! They'll for sure appreciate being able to snap pics without being glued to their phone.,

    Promising review: "Instant cameras are making a comeback and the Instax is a great little camera to buy. Great for parties, weddings and other social occasions. I’ve bought this as a gift for parents and friends. The novelty of it is a lot of fun! Easy to load, and start using right away. It’ll give you the lo-fi, saturated, vintage look people try to accomplish through filters on Instagram at the click of a button." —Evahnsan

    Get it from Amazon for $58.99+ (available in 13 colors).

    17. A pair of binoculars so they can spot landmarks, animals, and more on their long, meandering hikes.

    model holding small black binoculars

    Promising review: "Bought these for my boyfriend before heading on an Alaskan cruise. They were perfect! We loved using them for whale spotting and seeing the beautiful blue colors of the glaciers in Glacier Bay. They’re very lightweight and compact but also work very well. Highly recommend!" —Lora

    Get them from Amazon for $22.99.

    18. And an Audubon Society bird field guide so they can figure out which creatures of flight they're actually seeing. No more being like "it's......a blue one?"


    Get the North American Eastern Edition from Amazon for $20.66, Barnes and Noble for $21.95, or Bookshop for $22.03 *or* the North American Western Edition from Amazon for $17.11 or Barnes and Noble for $20.95.

    19. A pair of Altra Lone Peak 4.5 trail runners perfect for running and hiking, and are even the preferred shoe of many backpackers thanks to their wide toe box, zero drop, and gaiter attachment points. A shoe worthy of any adventurer's feet.

    model running in red altras

    Promising review: "I prefer to do most hikes in trail runners rather than hiking boots (as the ankle portion typically irritates my joints) and these are my absolute favorite pair of shoes I've bought. They're cushioned enough to provide comfort from rocky trails, have exceptional traction, and the wide toe box makes long hikes more comfortable as your foot swells/expands." —Immoore

    Get them from Amazon: $89.84 for women's (originally, available in sizes 5.5–12 and five colors) and $88.95 for men's (available in sizes 7–16 and five colors). Or get them from REI: $83.93+ for women's (originally $120, available in sizes 5.5–12 and three colors) and $89.93 for men's (originally $120, available in sizes 8–15 and three colors).

    20. A Sur La Table online cooking class so they can mix up their quarantine menu and learn a few new skills along the way. Bonus points if it's a gift for your roommate so you *also* get to benefit from all the tasty dishes they make!

    model's hands kneading dough
    Sur La Table

    The classes range from 90–120 minutes and are interactive, so they can feel free to ask all the questions they like! Prior to the class they'll get a prep packet with s shopping list and any "homework" to do before class. Current classes include "Prep Now, Eat Later: Holiday Tamales," "Perfect Profiteroles," "Steakhouse at Home," and "Dumpling Basics."

    Get them from Sur La Table starting at $29.

    21. An ENO double nest hammock to help them commune with nature in the form of an outdoor nap. Naps are always good, but with a gentle breeze gently rocking their cozy cocoon? Heaven., Amazon

    Reviewers recommend also getting the ENO Atlas straps for simple set-up!

    Promising review: "My most treasured item! Has seriously changed the quality of my life! I use it for backpacking, day hiking, taking naps, car camping. Fun to go backpacking with friends who all have ENO hammocks, too! The Atlas straps are a must! Comfy with my boyfriend in it, too." —--

    Get it from Amazon for $69.96 (available in 39 colors).

    22. Some trekking poles for anyone who's always on the move and looking for their next big trek. They'll love these when hiking for the assistance going up and perhaps even more for the relief on their joints going down. Even on flat hikes, they help with rhythm, pacing, and all-around getting in the ~groove~.

    REI, Rachel Dunkel / BuzzFeed

    I was one of those people who always thought trekking poles were kind of dorky...then I finally used some and my eyes were opened wide to just how helpful they are. Going up, they help you pull yourself up the trail, which is fantastic when your legs are so dang tired, and going down they let you ease into drops, which greatly lessens the stress on your knees, feet, and ankles. But I've also found that they're helpful for so many other things! I stuck them in the ground and used them as a "drying rack" after doing some trail laundry (wetting my shirt in a stream). You can use them to push through brush to make sure there aren't any critters hiding where you're about to step. You can hold them out in front of your face when you're hiking early in the morning to catch the new spiderwebs before you walk right into them. I will never go on a long hiking trip without them again, and honestly, maybe ANY hike without them again.

    Get them from REI for $96.93 (originally $139)

    Hope the giftees enjoy these experience and experience-adjacent presents!


    The reviews in this post have been edited for length and clarity.

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