Skip To Content

    19 Experience Gifts To Give People Who Say "I Don't Need Any More Stuff"

    Because the best gifts often are memories, not things.

    A lot of people don't want "things" for the holidays, but most people would be thrilled to get a present that gives them the chance to do or see a very cool thing, especially if they wouldn't think or dream of planning it for it themselves.

    I found a bunch of good ideas from the BuzzFeed Community, on Reddit, and in my brain that you can give to pretty much anyone you know:

    1. A National Parks pass:

    National Parks Service

    It's great, and honestly maybe better, even if they've never been to a national park before. The America the Beautiful annual pass costs $80, and grants holders free access to the more than 2,000 federal recreation sites. What's better than the gift of history and nature? Nothing!

    2. Tickets to see their favorite band or artist perform:

    Photo by Rachel Lynette French on Unsplash

    "I have the same birthday as Bret McKenzie of Flight of the Conchords and had always wanted to see them to celebrate but figured a tour would never happen, much less match up to anywhere near where I was on the day. Well, lo and behold, two years ago, they toured and were in my town just four days before my birthday. My sister dropped major cash to surprise me with tickets. I got a shirt at the concert and still get compliments whenever I wear it, and have to talk my sister up for taking me."


    3. A visit to a cat cafe:

    Vicky Lee Kai Wai / Getty Images

    "My husband told me he was taking me somewhere special on Valentine’s Day. I couldn’t guess no matter how many clues he gave me. He ended up taking me to a cat cafe! It was such a surprise and very thoughtful of him as he’s allergic to cats and we can’t own one. I got to cuddle with kitties to my heart's content!"


    4. An up-close and personal experience with their favorite animal or insect:

    "For Christmas, my grandparents took my brother to a safari bed and breakfast. He’s been obsessed with elephants since he was little. He got to interact and feed elephants and an elephant brought my brother breakfast in the morning. I don’t think I’ve ever seen my brother smile so big in a picture."


    "I'm an entomologist and I LOVE bugs and spiders. My then-boyfriend got me behind-the-scenes at the Chicago Field Museum's Insect Collection. I got to hold a very sweet tarantula and also put her on my head! I also saw so many specimens that I had never seen anywhere else, like gynandomorph butterflies (they have both male and female characteristics), and massive beetles. To this day, it's the best gift/date I have ever received."

    —Riva Letchinger, Facebook

    5. Tickets to a movie marathon:

    Getty Images

    "My sister knew how much I love the Lord of the Rings trilogy. She discovered that the local theater was going to play a marathon of the extended version of all three Lord of the Rings films in preparation for the first Hobbit movie to come out. Neither of us had ever seen the first film in theaters because our parents thought we were too young when they came out. So she bought us tickets to go to the marathon. We were let into the theater at 9 in the morning with the movies starting at 9:30 we didn't leave the theater until 12:30 the next morning. Aside from an hour and a half's worth of intermission scattered throughout that time frame we were watching movies. It was fantastic!"


    6. A road trip, especially if it's to someplace cool like an aquarium:

    Photo by Paula May on Unsplash

    "One year for my birthday, my husband arranged for my boss to let me off early and took me on a surprise road trip to the Monterey Aquarium. We got snacks and made a playlist and drove the scenic way. After the aquarium, he took me shopping and out to dinner. It was pretty much the best birthday ever."


    7. A wine tasting class:

    Photo by Kym Ellis on Unsplash

    A few years ago, I got two of my sisters tickets to go on a tour of Brooklyn Winery that included a tasting, and we had so much fun doing it that one of my sisters ended up getting married there the next year.

    8. Or, if they don't mind getting their hands dirty, a cooking class:

    Dragonimages / Getty Images

    "My husband just took me on a date to a cooking class and it was one of the best nights of my life. It's personal, something special, and something they most likely wouldn't get themselves. Just make sure it is a voucher with an open date and not for a specific date so they can choose what works best for their schedule."


    9. A membership to their favorite museum or art gallery:

    Syolacan / Getty Images

    In many cities, museums aren't cheap! Plus, memberships often come with perks like extended hours and sneak peeks at upcoming exhibits.

    10. Tickets to a play or musical:

    "I love theater and some of my best presents ever given to me were tickets to see shows. I especially love it when I go with the gift giver or when it is a play that I may not be super familiar with but they think I would like it."


    11. A voucher for a relaxing treatment, like a massage, manicure, or sensory deprivation tank:

    Photo by Kris Atomic on Unsplash

    Obviously, it depends on who you're getting it for, but no one will be mad about being given a way to chill out and feel pampered for a bit.

    12. Entrance into an amusement park:

    Photo by ckturistando on Unsplash

    "My brother and I have birthdays two weeks apart, so my parents were into joint gifts. I was ridiculously obsessed with a Harry Potter growing up, so when Universal opened up their Wizarding World theme park, my parents gave my brother and me stuffed animal owls with our Hogwarts letters telling us we were going there on a family vacation that summer. I cried for over an hour after opening the letter and again the entire weekend we were there. It was one of the most magical gifts and experiences of my childhood and I’m so grateful to have had that opportunity."


    13. A surprise visit from a family member or friend they haven't seen in awhile:

    Forgem / Getty Images

    "My husband surprised me with my dad visiting me when I hadn’t seen him in years! It was wonderful."


    14. Tickets to an escape room:

    Escape rooms are SO FUN, y'all. Most major cities have them by now, and anyone who's into puzzles or games will have a blast at one of these.

    15. Passes to a conference or convention they'd love:

    "My sister gave me and my husband two tickets to Con of Thrones last year. We are huge Game of Thrones nerds and had an absolute blast seeing all the cosplays and listening to the actors speak in open forums. 10/10 would go again."


    16. An arrangement for them to be a radio DJ for a day:

    Kjekol / Getty Images

    "My boyfriend and my mom gave me the gift of 91.5 minutes on KKUP 91.5, a little public radio station in San Jose, California. I got to play a bunch of awesome rockabilly and country songs and talk about some of my favorite bands. It was so much fun to support a little radio station and get broadcast on the air."


    17. Classes at a trapeze or circus arts school:

    Photo by Christina Boemio on Unsplash

    "My mom got me a gift card to a circus arts school, and it was absolutely something I'd want to get again. I got to take some classes for a while that I would never have been able to justify spending the money on myself. I tried something new and fun, and it was a great way to exercise!"

    —Austen Wright, Facebook

    18. Tickets to see a game of sportsball:

    Photo by Tim Gouw on Unsplash

    "Two tickets to Game 5 of the 2017 World Series! It was a surprise early Hanukkah/Christmas gift from my parents. Little did they know I would get to witness baseball history in a 10 inning, 25 combined run, back and forth slug fest that went into the early morning hours. This one will be hard to top!"

    —Alyssa Peppmuller, Facebook

    19. A plane ticket, whether it's purchased with money or miles:

    "I recently turned 50 and my mom used her airline miles to send me to New England in first class. I stayed with a friend from kindergarten and went exploring during the day while she worked. I had the most amazing time, just the right amount of people for my inner introvert, saw a beautiful part of the country I had never seen before. My days were filled with maple syrup farms, fall colors, country roads, covered bridges and lighthouses. I got to check Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts, and Rhode Island off of my bucket list."