7 experiences to gift your friends, from language lessons to astrology workshops

No one would blame you if you concluded, based on the information in gift guides and everywhere else, that these “things” are what you should be giving for the holidays. The actual data, however, says otherwise. Although it seems like everyone in the world is raving about the products, sharing or gifting an experience with your friend just might be the new big gift instead.

Yes, time spent on gifts is on the rise – and for good reason. According to an Adobe survey as of 2021, almost a fifth (or 17%) of respondents said they plan to offer an experience rather than physical goods. Groupon Search conducted in 2022 reveals similar results: “While 31% of US consumers plan to give experiences as gifts this year, 40% would like to receive an experience gift,” reads its report.

It’s not hard to imagine why experience gifts might be all the rage. As Groupon stated, “People are more ready than ever to get out and have fun.” Many also, no doubt, crave human interaction – and what better way to ensure that than with a gift that requires time together? On top of that, there are the endless supply chain issues. It does something like a virtual classroom infinitely easier to give to a friend, since you know there will be no shipping delays or out-of-stock messages.

That said, it remains true that experience gifts (especially when it’s a friend, rather than a close family member or spouse) are definitely harder to nail. So if you need a little help, carry on – TZR has rounded up some foolproof ideas for all sorts, ahead of time.

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A language course

Idlewild in New York offers courses for several different languages ​​at different levels and makes it easy to offer them with its language course vouchers. In-person classes are $325 for seven weeks and are offered in Manhattan and Brooklyn, and online classes are $295 and can be taken via Zoom; so you can gift it no matter where your friend lives. Make this experience even better by signing up for classes together. Next year, you may be able to test your new skills by gifting a trip.

A Maie Wine subscription

Surprise your wine-loving friend with a monthly subscription to Maie, which ships eight single-serve bottles of wine per month for $65 per month. You can choose a mix, white pack or red pack depending on their preference, and a surprise and delight item will be included with each shipment. Just be sure to tell the gift recipient that your only requirement is that you drink them together.

A butter book subscription

Do you have a baking-obsessed friend? Give them a subscription (you can choose a three, six, or 12 month subscription) and give them access to tons of professionally-led baking videos. Thanks to the platform, they will be able to learn how to cook croissants, éclairs and much more from renowned pastry chefs. And, let’s face it, you’ll also benefit from their learnings by indulging in treats together.

A coffee subscription

If drinking coffee together is your ~thing~, a coffee subscription for next year is a no-brainer gift. This one from Partners is a 12-month prepaid subscription and has multiple flavor and grind options so you can tailor it to the person receiving it. After giving it away, all that remains is to set a date to enjoy it together.

A journey steeped in history

It may be a splurge, but giving your friend a trip will ensure memories that will last a lifetime. This vacation to the Scottish Highlands offers an immersion in the region’s history and culture, if that’s your thing (and starts at $6,560 per person). However, if you feel a different vibe, you have options; Atlas Obscura offers countless other types of trips to choose from, depending on your (and your friend’s) preferences.

A relaxing painting lesson

A day at the spa isn’t the only gift option if you want to give your friend a soothing experience. This painting for relaxation class offers 90 minutes of self-care through an art lesson with an expert instructor. The experience also comes with a Paint by Shadows kit, so no preparation is required. They can just show up, connect and relax – and, of course, walk away with a masterpiece. (Also, if you are unsure how to deliver this class, instructions are included on his page.)

An astrology workshop

Most people have *that* astrology-obsessed friend who has everything zodiac-themed under the sun. For them, provide an experience instead, like this affordable astrology workshop from Airbnb Online Experiences. Organized by a professional astrologer, it is an online meeting during which participants learn the symbols of their birth charts. You can even book this as a group (prices vary), if you want to participate together or with several friends.

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