15 Experiential Gift Ideas That are Perfect for Your S.O.

Gosh, I love the holidays. It is the most wonderful time of the year, right? *cue Andy Williams*

Truly though, there’s nothing like spreading a bit of love during the cold winter months, whether it’s through the most lavish of gifts or even just a genuine smile. In fact, the next time I go to get my signature medium hot chocolate from Dunkin’, I’m definitely treating the next person in line…I’ve always wanted to do that! It’s the little things that make all of the difference during the holidays.

While we’re on the topic of giving though, let’s talk about the oh-so-dreaded act of finding a gift for your sig. other. Am I the only one who literally never knows what to buy? Holiday shopping is so tricky — I hate the idea of giving someone a gift that they won’t actually be able to use/enjoy. And, as much fun as it is to both gift and receive something super fancy and special (cough, cough R.), it’s a great idea to step back for a moment and get thinking outside of the box.

Sure, I’m plugging away on the holiday gift guides (see here & here) for you guys, but I kind of feel like experiential gifts are all the rage right now. I mean, how can you top a memory that could last a lifetime? I know I would be floored by any of these ideas:

1. ski trip

One of my roommates is taking her boyfriend skiing for the holidays, which I think is fabulous! It’s a great way to get outdoors and enjoy the season — plus you get to drink hot chocolate at the end which, let’s be honest, is always a #win. It’d also be super fun to up the anti and rent an Airbnb for the weekend if it’s within your budget.

2. concert/show tickets

I feel like concert/show tickets are the gift that just keeps on giving. Depending on the date of the show, your S.O. has plenty of time to soak it all in and get excited about it — plus, unlike a physical gift, the novelty won’t wear off after a couple of days. It’s something that can be super memorable too, especially if your person truly loves (or is borderline obsessed with) whatever artist/performance you’re going to see. And did I mention that it’s totally unexpected? So yeah, much love for this idea.

3. a class/lesson

Has your S.O. always wanted to try something? Or maybe you want to him to try something? Ha! I almost did this last Christmas for Richard, because I wanted him to learn how to ride horses with me. On a serious note though, classes can be the perfect way to learn something new together as a couple.

4. dinner at your favorite restaurant & ice skating

Sounds fun, right? I actually don’t like ice skating very much, since I always end up falling down, haha. However, this is still a cute idea to get out of the house and actually have a date night. I also like the idea of going to your favorite restaurant, since it’s somewhere special for you both.

5. movie gift card & snacks

I love going to the movies. Now that the theater near us has those awesome cushy seats, it’s always a treat to go and see a new film. If your honey likes going to the movies too, it’s so easy to set up a gift basket with a movie gift card, your favorite candy, and a blanket. It’s the perfect activity for a cold winter night!

6. subscription service

Subscription services are great gifts, because they keep on coming each month. It seems like they have services for virtually everything these days, but I think a meal service (i.e. Hello Fresh or Blue Apron) could be fun if you like to cook together. There’s also some cool wine subscriptions out there that could stock and inspire monthly date nights all year long.

7. a year worth of dates in a box

Talk about the ultimate experiential gift! Don’t get hung up thinking it needs to be super expensive though. There’s lots of at-home date night and budget savvy ideas you can come up with just by exploring Pinterest a bit. Since I’m doing this for Richard this year (shh…don’t tell!), here are a few of the ideas I’m using so far and what I’ve bought:

  • At-home movie night — popcorn, favorite candy (we have Netflix, so this date was literally under $10!)
  • At-home game night — prize for the winner (we already have games, so I just bought some Smarties, haha)
  • Dinner out — restaurant gift card
  • Bowling date — bowling alley gift certificate (Richard loves to bowl, haha)
  • Cooking Competition — secret ingredient card, two $10 bills to go shopping for ingredients
  • Indoor camping — small tent, blankets, s’mores ingredients
  • Amusement park date — passes to our local water park

8. homemade dinner (date night in)

Making dinner for your S.O. is a classic! Whatever they want to eat, you cook…and don’t forget to set up the table all nice 😉

9. spa day

I’ve never done a couple’s massage, but I’m sure there’s a pretty good reason why people like ’em so much. If you’ve got the change for it, book a pampering sesh at the nearest fancy hotel. It’s totally unexpected, and a great way to regroup after the holidays.

10. homemade coupon book

Kind of like the year’s worth of dates in a box, a homemade coupon book is another unique holiday gift idea that’ll last for much longer than a single tangible gift. Richard and I have both made these for each other before, and it’s nice because you can use the coupons whenever you want. Some of the coupons Richard made for me a few Valentine’s Days ago included shopping sprees for new outfits to wear on the blog and professional photoshoots sponsored by him. The customization is what makes this gift so special!

11. “open when” letters

“Open when” letters are another gift idea that can be used throughout the year. Basically, you write a series of letters that may only be opened in certain situations. Here are some examples:

  • “Open when”…you miss me.
  • …when you’re mad at me.
  • …when you’re bored.
  • …when you’re sad.
  • …when you’re stressed out

12. do-it-together kit

Instead of a DIY, make your S.O. a do-it-together. Basically, you buy everything that’s needed for an at-home project, and you make it together!

Which idea is your favorite? Are you doing traditional gift giving this year, or giving an experience? 

Also, before I hop off to study for my last final *sound the Hallelujah choir*, do you guys love this Christmas sweater or what? I found it for dirt cheap at T.J. Maxx, and it’s so fuzzy! I had to buy an size large, since all of the other sizes were gone, but I feel like it works since it’s a sweater. And if you’re wondering what’s in my Starbucks cup? It’s a skinny peppermint mocha! It’s not often I treat myself to specialty coffee drinks, but how can you pass up a seasonal favorite? I mean, was it even the holiday season at all if you didn’t snap a pic of that signature red cup?

Have a great weekend!

  • Alexandra Yargeau

    There have been lots of times that my husband and I get movie gift cards for different occasions. We love that because we are able to enjoy each other on a date!

    • Holly Habeck

      Yes, the movies can be so much fun! Getting gift cards is the best too, because the money has already been spent! xx

  • Lora Green

    I love experience gifts, especially since we are moving and accumulating "stuff" is not something we need to do right now. We’ve done classes together before, which have been a lot of fun!

    • Holly Habeck

      I know, I have way too much "stuff" too!! Richard and I haven’t done a class together yet, but it’s something I’m definitely looking forward to. Happy holidays!! xx