What can you give instead of gifts this Christmas? (13 experiences instead of gifts)

If you want to give experiences or services this Christmas – and not physical gifts, then you’ll find some inspiration in this concise list of 13 ideas.

13 Experiences to give this Christmas instead of gifts
Give Experiences and Services instead of gifts


I’m writing this during the Coronavirus Pandemic of 2020 so I understand that some of these experiences and services may not be suitable in your city or region or at this particular time. I’ve tried to give “pandemic alternatives” when I can.

What can you give instead of gifts this Christmas? 13 Ideas

Below are the 13 services or experiences instead of gifts to give to your loved ones this Christmas.

1) Movie Theatre Ticket Passes

Experiences instead of gifts - you could give movie passes
Image by Devon Breen from Pixabay

Going to the movies can be a great date night or just personal escape.

Pandemic Alternative:

If your local theatre is temporarily closed you could consider paying for your friends Netflix or Disney+ with gift cards.

2) Yoga class passes

Give experiences instead of gifts - yoga class passes
Image by AndiP from Pixabay

Yoga can be good exercise and fun for men, women, teens, kids and seniors. There are different levels and styles of yoga to match the people on your Christmas list.

Pandemic Alternative:

Check out some virtual yoga classes if your local yoga gyms are shut down by the pandemic

3) Fitness passes

Give experiences instead of gifts this christmas - gym passes
Image by David Mark from Pixabay

Giving the gift of fitness or gym passes is a great alternative to physical gifts.

Pandemic Alternative:

If your friends or family are having to workout at home now due to the pandemic you could consider buying them a fitness membership such as BeachBody On Demand so they can access hours of fitness videos for all fitness levels.

4) Passes to local climbing gym.

give experiences instead of gifts this christms with climbing gym passes.
Image by 272447 from Pixabay

Climbing gyms are a way to get some exercise, and even kids that don’t like traditional sports or exercise often love climbing.

5) Passes to local indoor playground (for kids)

What to give instead of gifts. Give experiences instead of gifts - passes to an indoor playground
Image by lantis007 from Pixabay

This one is particularly great for grandparents looking to buy something for their grandkids. If they don’t know what toys their grandkids like then buying passes to a local indoor playground is a great gift alternative.

Do you the little ones on your Christmas list like Paw Patrol? If so, check out these 15 Christmas Gift Ideas for Toddlers that love Paw Patrol.

6) Art classes

Image by Gerhard Bögner from Pixabay

A great way to support local artists or galleries is to attend some art classes.

And who knows, it may ignite massive creativity in your friend of family member.

Pandemic alternative:

Are there any outdoor landscape painting classes where participants can be at least 6-feet apart?

7) Sewing classes

Image by Willfried Wende from Pixabay

Not everyone was lucky enough to take sewing in high school. A useful gift alternative would be to buy our loved ones sewing classes so they can create, sew and mend their own clothes.

8) Furniture makeover class

Image by kissu from Pixabay

Do any arts and crafts store in your area put on furniture makeover classes or chalk paint classes?

This could be a fun hobby for your loved one to take up, and classes would help them get on the right track.

9) Outdoor adventure classes or rentals (kayak rentals or lessons, stand-up paddle boarding ,

Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay

Many of us spend way too much time indoors. Giving your loved ones an outdoor adventure experience can be a great alternative to physical gifts. “Go outside and play.”

10) Car Detailing package

Image by autowelt_2014 from Pixabay

It feels great to get into a clean car. And you can give that gift – and that feeling – by buying your loved ones a car detailing package. Is there a mobile car detailing company in their area? (Come right to them.)

11) Bicycle tune up pass

Image by Pexels from Pixabay

A well-tuned bicycle – where you know the brakes work well and it shifts smoothly – can instill confidence and may make them want to go for more bike rides.

  • And it helps support your local bike shop or bike mechanic.

12) Swimming pool passes

Image by adrit1 from Pixabay

Does your local swimming pool sell passes? Gifting swimming pool passes is like giving fun and fitness to your loved ones.

13) Home Cleaning Service

Image by pascalhelmer from Pixabay

Giving the gift of a home cleaning service is like giving time: the most precious commodity there is.

Another great experience you can buy instead of gifts is travel vouchers. It is a little tricky right now because of the pandemic and travel restrictions…but hopefully in future years this will once again be a viable experience to give instead of gifts.

I hope you’ve found some inspiring ideas in this list of 13 experiences and services to give instead of gifts this Christmas.

Many of these experiences and services will help improve the local economy too: you’re not just buying stuff made in distant countries.

Up Next:

21 Christmas Gift Ideas for a Teenage Girl


19 Great Gifts for Men under $20

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Thank you and have a great and safe holidays and Christmas.