Finding the perfect gift this (or any) holiday season is no small task. It can be hard to decide what type of gift to get someone, especially someone who seems to have everything. We’ve already told you about gifts for every type of person on your shopping list – from the fitness enthusiast to the foodie. We even have gift roundups on things like the best TV show-related gifts and small, yet thoughtful, gifts for your co-workers.
But if you’re looking to give something that’s a bit more unusual, you’ve come to the right place. An experiential gift is the only type of gift guaranteed to last a lifetime. Items and products may fall apart or go out of style. People’s tastes will change and trends will come and go. But a valued experience stays with you for a lifetime.
So we’ve gathered up some of the best experiential gifts available this holiday season. From DNA kits that will tell you about your genealogy to online video classes with celebrities like Gordon Ramsay, you’re sure to find the perfect experiential gift for every person in your life.
23andMe Health + Ancestry Service ($139, originally $199; 23andme.com)
From now until December 25, 23andMe is offering 20% off both its DNA kits: the Ancestry Service ($69, originally $99; 23andme.com) and the Health + Ancestry Service ($139, originally $199; 23andme.com). With both kits, you’ll receive information on your ancestry composition and DNA family, but the Health + Ancestry Service is what sets 23andMe apart from other DNA testing kits. With it, you’ll get an in-depth report on how your genes affect various aspects of your life, from your risk of getting certain diseases to how well you sleep.
ClassPass ($35-45/month, classpass.com)
For the fitness fanatic, a ClassPass membership is the perfect gift. Not only is it a great way to make good on that New Year’s resolution to go to the gym more, but it’s a fun and exciting way to exercise. You can try out a range of different classes and studios to see what works best for your exercise preferences and goals. And it’s available in over 40 cities across the US, so you can try out classes that would typically cost the same price as your monthly membership.
The Complete Outdoor Photography Bundle ($39, originally $450; store.cnn.com)
For the aspiring photographer, taking a few classes can make all the difference. In these five courses that focus on mastering outdoor photography, you’ll go through multiple lessons led by several award-winning photographers who will show you how to master your art and equipment. And since you’re learning their specific techniques through varied teaching styles, it’s way more useful than anything you could pick up in a user’s manual.
Groupon is one of the most popular sites for finding huge savings on top-notch events, activities and even vacations, and you could find yourself browsing through the site for hours. Some top offers include up to 48% off skiing and snowboarding in Wisconsin Dells or over 50% off your stay at an idyllic bed & breakfast at a Kentucky winery. The site makes it a breeze to purchase an experience for a loved one.
Cratejoy Subscription Box (cratejoy.com)
While some subscription boxes focus on offering a range of products, many others contain products that provide you with an experience. Some of our favorites include Coffee and a Classic ($27.54/month), which features a classic book, beverage and other bookish treats, and Bath Bevy ($34.95/month) which includes six to 10 thoughtfully curated items to help create the perfect at-home spa day. Be sure to check out Cratejoy’s gift guide if you’re stumped on where to start. You’ll be able to find a box for anyone at a range of price points.
Rosetta Stone (rosettastone.com)
If you’re looking for a gift that truly has the ability to change someone’s life, the opportunity to learn a language could be just the ticket. We’ve written about Rosetta Stone before – it offers a fully immersive curriculum for over 30 languages, and has been trusted by millions worldwide for over 25 years. Its clients even include NASA and the US State Department. And this holiday season, it may be the most valuable present you could get a loved one.
AncestryDNA Kit ($59, originally $99; www.ancestry.com)
What differentiates the AncestryDNA kit from other similar services is how geographically detailed it is – you can trace your origins back to over 350 regions around the world. And right now, its holiday sale is offering $40 off your purchase. Other cool things included in the kit are the ability to trace your ancestors’ journey throughout time, and visualized migrations that explain why and how your ancestors moved around.
Scribd Subscription - 6 months ($45, originally $53.94; store.cnn.com)
For the avid reader in your life, you can give more than just another book this holiday season. A Scribd subscription comes with unlimited access to 40 million titles in the form of books, audiobooks, magazines, news articles and more. It’s a perfect gift option for people who travel a lot but doesn’t want to lug around books, since they’ll have the option to download reading materials for offline enjoyment. Even if you have an e-reader, a Scribd subscription allows you to access material from any of your devices, making it easier than ever to get back to reading as much as you want.
Hello Fresh Subscription (starting at $59.94; hellofresh.com)
For the person who keeps trying to learn how to cook, or complains about how it’s too difficult and time-consuming, a Hello Fresh subscription might be a major lifestyle changer. For $59.94, the aspiring chef can treat friends or family to three meals for two people. Each delivery comes with all the ingredients needed for simple yet delicious home-cooked meals.
You can search different experiences throughout the Gilt site, as you can with Groupon. It offers massive savings and different sales daily, so if you don’t find the perfect gift today, it might be there tomorrow. You can search by city to find specific deals, from 62% off salt therapy sessions in New York to 45% off a luxurious dinner in Los Angeles. Whether you’re searching for a gift for your next-door neighbors or loved ones across the country, picking an experience they’ll be sure to love is super simple.
MasterClass All-Access Pass ($180; masterclass.com)
If there’s someone if your life who is big into learning new skills, an all-access pass to MasterClass might be the perfect gift. Each class is $90, and includes on-demand videos that can be watched at any time. Also included with each class is a workbook with optional assignments and an online student community to help you along in your learning. But for the price of just two classes, an all-access pass gives the lover of learning in your life unlimited access to over 35 world class instructors for an entire year.
National Geographic Geno 2.0 Ancestry Kit ($59.95, originally $99.95; nationalgeographic.com)
For any history buff, the National Geographic Ancestry Kit is the way to go when it comes to learning more about where you come from. And right now, it’s $40 off as part of the holiday sale. The kit comes with a breakdown of your regional ancestry going as far back as 200,000 years. Through analysis of your DNA, the site also tells you which famous “geniuses” might be your relatives.