Forget Practical Gifts: Instead, Give Great Experiences
From Skydiving to Food Photography to Wine, a Once-in-a-Lifetime Thrill
Finding the perfect gift for the guy or girl who's got it all can be a challenge. The last thing someone with everything needs is more stuff.
But there's always room for a great memory. This season, forgo the wrapping paper and give a gift that won't gather dust: An incredible and unforgettable experience. Here are eight fabulous ideas:
Send your favorite oenophile beyond the cabernet aisle of the neighborhood grocery and to the vineyard source. She can get her feet wet at a traditional grape stomp and then take part in a harvest workshop. Held in wine regions the world over, including Tuscany and Chianti, vineyard and harvest experiences range in length from a day to a week, and longer. Many experiential packages include harvest dinners, cooking classes, winery tours and day-long wine tastings, making this gift a total vino-immersion.
On Your Mark
Know a speed demon? Send him pedal-to-the-metal to one of the many race-car driving camps. Your motor-maniac will experience the curves and straight-aheads of high-speed driving and learn techniques that could take him from student to amateur racer in no time. Classes vary in length from three hours to two days, with series racing optional.
Share the Bounty
Sprouting all over the country, Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) programs let consumers support their local farms by buying seasonal "shares" of what's produced. With memberships offering weekly deliveries of fresh foods, such as produce, meats, eggs and even fish, your gift will please your favorite farm-to-table chef while supporting hard-working, local farmers in a wonderful way.
Don't Stop Believin'
Help your favorite closet rocker dust off that old Stratocaster with a journey that won't soon be forgotten. Rock and roll fantasy camps are sweet shortcuts to sharing a stage with real-life rockers, including Sammy Hagar, Roger Daltry and members of Cheap Trick. Camps offering 90-minute classes to five-day destination experiences are open to people of all skill levels.
Any aspiring artist who loves food will truly appreciate a workshop or retreat focusing on food writing, food photography or food styling . Offered all over the country and the world, day-long classes or multi-week courses on honing food-media skills are led by the best and brightest in each industry.
Outdoor Lover's Wanderlust
Walking tours offer stunning, guided high-end adventures that satisfy the wanderlust in nature seekers who also enjoy luxury travel. Wander through Shangri-La, the seaside towns of Italy, or just about anywhere you can imagine for hours or even days. Tours generally include lots of walking paired with three- or four-star accommodations and meals, so bring an extra pair of hiking boots, but leave the tent at home.
Bring out the boating mogul in your weekend seafarer with the gift of a yacht timeshare. Yacht shares eliminate the high costs of ownership, as well as the burden. Set sail for a taste of the elite!
Leap of Faith
Skydiving is on the bucket list of many thrill seekers. So why not give the adrenaline junkie in your life a push? Whether plunging into the sky from an airplane, a huge kite, or a sleek glider plane is the goal, you can make it happen.
Whether you're giving a gift of experience or want to cross an item off your own bucket list, the options for experiential gifting are nearly endless. A once-in-lifetime, experience is the gift that keeps on giving through never-ending memories.
Photo: Shutterstock | Ian Knauer is a journalist who has written for Gourmet Magazine, Men's Health, Bon Appetit and The Wall Street Journal. He's the creator of the PBS series The Farm and recently founded a cooking school.