More and more of us prefer gifts that won’t clutter up our homes. It wasn’t until my sister gave me an envelope filled with movie tickets that I realized how much nicer it is to give experiences instead of “regular” presents.

Much like the coupons we made for our moms as kids, giving someone an experience for Christmas could be as simple as slipping a few scratch-off tickets in with a card. By giving someone something to do instead of something that will collect dust, you can start a new tradition of useful, intangible gifts. While websites like Cloud 9 Living can help you find gift-worthy experiences, here are some ideas to get you started.

1. Restaurant Gift Cards

Even if you can only afford some small-balance Starbucks cards, a free hot drink is always a nice treat. If the card is going to someone with kids, don’t forget the local pizza places to sponsor their next family takeout dinner. If you can’t cover the whole tab, it’s still the thought that counts.

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2. Movie Tickets

Most people love going to the movies and rarely feel like they have enough time. By giving someone a movie gift card, you can cover tickets and snacks, even if just for a matinee.

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3. Cleaning Services

This is a great one if you have a friend with a big event coming up. A two-hour session can be a huge help after your buddy’s New Year’s Eve rager.

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4. Scratch-off Lottery Tickets

These make great stocking stuffers as well as much-appreciated office white elephant gifts. The best thing about scratch-offs is that you can get them pretty much ANYWHERE, even at the last minute. Don’t forget to include a coin to help with the scratching!

5. Babysitting 

If you’re really low on funds, make a silly coupon redeemable for a three-hour babysitting session. That’s just enough time for the recipients to have a nice dinner out and for you to spend some quality time with the kids. 

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6. Spa Services

Manicures, pedicures, massages, and facials are not just limited to Mother’s Day. Pretty much everyone I know, men included, would be ecstatic to receive a fully-funded trip to a spa. A simple manicure can start at $20, so this puts some spa services on the cheaper end of the gift spectrum.

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7. Car Detailing

I’m not talking about a regular drive-through car wash, but the super-fancy kind with people dabbing at your car from all angles. The hard-to-buy-for car aficionado will really appreciate this gift, especially now that snow and salt season is coming up. Wrap up the gift card with one of those giant peanut sponges and watch them swoon.

8. Lessons

Look around your area for cooking lessons, dance lessons, art lessons, or even photography lessons. There are plenty of experience gift sites, including Cloud 9 Living, which can help you find the perfect activity or lesson to give to the adventurer in your ife.

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Do you have an activity-based gift you like to give at the holidays? Something that people really like that won’t clutter up their homes? Let us know in the comments below.

 

Feeling a bit crafty? Here are some easy DIY Christmas gifts!

 

 

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