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Day 12 of 12 Days of Holiday Giving: The Experience

Some people prefer experiences to things. Gifting them for the Holidays can be more difficult than most other people. When you ask them “What would you like as a gift?”, their usual answer is… “I don’t know,” or perhaps a cheeky answer like, “A trip to Hawaii.”

The “Experience” gift can be anything from a private chef cooking a special meal at your home, skydiving lessons, or a spa getaway. These types of gifts can range in budget and time – the sky is the limit.

For those who are watching their pocketbook this year, my favourite suggestion is to prepare a full day of activities that doesn’t break the bank. Spending time together and creating fun memories is sometimes the best gift of all.

For example:

  • Start your day off early with breakfast at your favourite greasy spoon or coffee shop. Don’t skimp on a tasty treat – after all, this is a special day out.
  • Take a long drive into areas you don’t normally visit. Explore a different part of your city or beyond. Make sure to play good tunes!
  • Stop at spots that capture the interest of the person who you are gifting. After all, you are giving them the experience. If they want to pop into that antique shop in the small town you are passing through, do so!
  • Consider going for a walk in the woods. Natural settings are the perfect, stress-free spots for a good conversation.
  • Enjoy a lunch at a cafe known for its food – perhaps its specialty is locally-grown food, or artisan breads, cheeses etc. If the menu is pricey, consider sharing a few items between the both of you.
  • Visiting regional museums is a great way to learn the history of an area. It’s also usually less expensive than visiting key museums in the city (in some cases free, or more than 50% less than a visit to the Royal Ontario Museum).
  • Winter activities for two can be as simple as grabbing skates, cross country skiis or snowshoes and heading to well-known spots. A good thing to remember to bring with you is a thermos of hot tea or hot chocolate (mini-marshmallows make it even better).

If your budget is bigger, consider taking a trip to a winter festival such as Winterlude in Ottawa or Winter Carnival in Quebec City.

For bigger budgets:

  • A spa weekend for two: check out Ontario’s Finest Inns and Spas for ideas if you live in this province.
  • Head to Niagara-on-the-Lake for a winery tour and spa visit at one of the Vintage Hotels. 
  • A skiing weekend at Blue Mountain, with a side-visit to the nearby Scandinave Spa for a Finnish Sauna and “Nordic Spa” experience. A great way to relax in the midst of natural settings.

What would be your ideal “experiential” gift?


  1. I’d rather give/get an experience than a thing.