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These days, it can feel like we skip right over fall and head straight for the winter holidays.

Even Toys “R” Us named its top 100 toys in September—likely before you even purchased an obligatory pumpkin.

Not to sound like a Scrooge, but for some, gift-getting means adding items they may or may not use to their homes, where they may or may not have room for them.

Then there’s the stress on the buyer.

Perhaps it’s because the person has everything, or maybe it’s the race to nab the best deals, whether on Black Friday, Cyber Monday, or some random Tuesday in December.

How about dropping out of the race and ditching the stress in the process?

Cue experience-gifting, the latest trend bucking the big box stores.

In 2019, Coinstar surveyed 2,002 U.S. adults and found that 51 percent reported feeling stressed about finding the perfect gift.

It’s no secret the holidays have become commercialized. Even with inflation, a forecast from Bain & Co. predicts a 7.5 percent growth in retail sales.

Gifting experiences instead of physical items has become popular in recent years, and some data indicates it might be a good idea. In fact, a 2017 study suggested experience gifts improved relationships more than material items.

According to Statista data, 78 percent of Gen-Z gift-givers said they gave an experience gift in 2018 because it would make for a special memory.

If you’re looking to hop on board with this trend, here are 17 ideas.

We independently researched and selected the experiences mentioned below based on:

  • organization reputation
  • appropriateness for beginners to advanced if applicable
  • cost
  • reviews

Pricing guide

$ = under $50

$$ = $50–$100

$$$ = over $100

Let our top picks for experience-based gifts whittle down your list so you can find a stuff-free present that’s perfect for everyone you know.

Best for music lovers

Concert tickets from Ticketmaster

Price: $ to $$$

Best for: Music fans

The live music scene came back in full swing in 2022 as artists took the stage for the first time since the pandemic began.

Ticketmaster has tickets for 2023 concerts for every taste.

Think legendary names like Bruce Springsteen, modern-day stars like Carrie Underwood, and classical performances like those from the New York Philharmonic.

Need inspiration or unsure who is coming to a stage near your loved one? Concert-goers and gifters to search by location, genre, and budget.

Best for divas

Spa day with a Spafinder gift card

Price: $ to $$$

Best for: Wellness-oriented types and busy people who deserve some self-care

Some people’s day-to-day lives are nearly as busy as the holiday rush. Others simply swoon over the chance to enjoy some pampering.

Spa days are a perfect way to treat these gift recipients. But if you’re unsure where the person regularly goes for a massage or facial, snag a gift card to Spafinder.

The service partners with spas in multiple locations so your pal can book a service or full day with any partner studio.

Best for sports fans

Sports tickets from StubHub

Price: $ to $$$

Best for: Sports fanatics and active people

Sports tickets are perfect for diehard fans of particular sports or teams. Plus, many organizations have made efforts to turn games into shows, where the action on the court or field is only part of the package.

Mascot races, food courts with sushi and salad bars (in addition to typical stadium fare), and halftime shows are all part of the deal.

StubHub has a diverse inventory from fans selling tickets they won’t be using.

If front-row seats to a pro game aren’t in your budget, consider local colleges and minor league teams that often offer fun times at a fraction of the cost.

Best for busy chefs

HelloFresh subscription

Price: $$

Best for: Home chefs and people who love to cook but dislike meal-planning

HelloFresh isn’t the same as a meal train. Your gift recipient won’t get ready-made meals.

Still, it takes the guesswork out of meal-making while still giving your beloved home chef the freedom to cook and be a little creative.

The food subscription service brings recipes and the ingredients to make them to recipients’ doors. There’s a good bit of variety, like reduced-calorie and vegan plans, so your loved one can cater meals to their personal preferences and goals.

If you know someone who’s always racing to get food on the table, this one’s for them.

Best for athletes

Live Peloton class

Price: $

Best for: Fitness enthusiasts

Peloton bikes were a popular pandemic purchase.

Now, favorite instructors like Cody Rigsby of “Dancing With the Stars” fame and Jess Sims of ESPN’s “College GameDay” are back in studio, allowing people to sweat alongside a select group of fellow Peleton users.

The options range across class types from yoga to cycling, and are available for people in New York and London. Peloton Experience Tickets are good for one year.

If the recipient isn’t near a studio but is planning a trip close to one, consider this gift a perfect add-on to their itineraries.

Best for aspiring chefs

Sur la Table cooking class

Price: $ to $$

Best for: Home chefs and those looking to improve their cooking skills

Sur la Table sells top-notch cooking and kitchen supplies, but the retailer also has chef instructors on hand to show people how to use them.

Home chefs—and those looking to become home chefs—can learn how to make various dishes in themed classes. The date night class teaches participants how to make top-notch steak, Thai, or French cuisine, and is ideal for a romantic evening—or for planning one.

Kids’ Kitchen Classes allow little ones to learn and are perfect for the parent or kiddo in your life. Online and in-store classes are available.

Best for novice sommeliers

Winc Wine Club subscription

Price: $$ to $$$

Best for: Foodies

Give a gift that will have your friend toasting to you.

Winc Wine Club members fill out a palate profile by answering some questions, such as their favorite foods and wine regions. Then, Winc will send them a customized box.

Each package will have wine notes and suggested food pairings. Don’t worry, you don’t have to know your friend’s taste in wine.

Winc offers gifting options that allow you to purchase the membership. The recipient can fill out a profile later. You can gift one month, two months, three months, or a custom amount.

Best for lifelong learners

MasterClass membership

Price: $ to $$

Best for: Lifelong learners or people who hope to build new skills in 2023

For the new year, why not gift new skills and perspective? MasterClass has more than 150 video classes that people can stream on-demand on their own time.

Students can learn to cook from celebrity chefs like Gordon Ramsay and Wolfgang Puck. RuPaul teaches self-expression, and Nobel Prize-winning activist Malala teaches a course on creating change.

Monthly plans can be purchased for individuals or duos and families of up to six people so everyone can learn together.

Pro Tip: You may be able to simplify your list by buying a class as a gift for a couple or entire family.

Best for fashionistas

Rent the Runway subscription

Price: $$ to $$$

Best for: Fashionistas

Rent the Runway ships rental designer duds straight to your home. Membership is ideal for that person in your life who still reads print fashion magazines and considers Fashion Week bigger than the Super Bowl.

Three plans offer different shipment frequencies, and items range in value, from $350 for the lowest-priced plan to more than $3,000 for the most expensive one.

Your friend can pick their favorite styles based on their preferences and needs. From wedding and vacation attire to business couture, there’s something for any occasion and style.

Best for adventurers

REI Kayak tour

Price: $$$

Best for: Active types, outdoor enthusiasts, and adventurers

REI, the outdoor and fitness retailer, offers adventures where you can use said outdoor and fitness gear.

The kayak tours offer small-group, multi-day kayaking excursions around North America. Locations include Grand Teton and the San Juan Islands.

REI offers options for novice and more experienced kayakers, and gift givers can choose excursions from easy-active to moderate-plus.

These trips aren’t cheap—they’ll cost the gifter more than $1,000. Still, it’s impossible to put a price on lifelong memories in the great outdoors.

Best for mixologists

Shaker & Spoon subscription box

Price: $$ to $$$

Best for: Budding mixologists and tastemakers

Shaker & Spoon is the cocktail version of a meal kit.

Each month, subscribers receive three recipes and the necessary ingredients to make four of each cocktail for 12 drinks total. It can help wannabe mixologists and tastemakers learn how to shake and stir like a pro.

To turn it into more of an experience, Shaker & Spoon sends emails before each box arrives with playlists to pair with the sippers.

You can purchase a gift subscription for anywhere from one month to one year.

Best for wellness lovers

ClassPass subscription

Price: $ to $$$

Best for: Fitness and wellness enthusiasts

ClassPass is best known for helping people find studio classes near them, like barre and pilates.

It also helps connect people with spa services, from prenatal massages to cryotherapy and meditation classes, allowing users to take a holistic approach to wellness.

Each class “costs” a certain amount of credits, and monthly memberships range from around $20 for eight credits to $200 for 100. That means you can pick a plan that matches your recipient’s schedule and your budget.

Not sure your recipient is ready to commit to a membership? Gift cards are also available.

Headspace subscription

Price: $

Best for: Wellness enthusiasts and someone who could use self-care

Stress is common around the holidays and can affect people every day. Luckily, meditation can be a useful tool in for easing holiday overwhelm.

Headspace offers meditations for beginners and advanced users. There are options for people who literally feel like they have no time to breathe—some are as short as 60 seconds.

There are also longer versions for people who want to dig into a practice. They also offer sleep stories for your friends and family who toss and turn.

You can gift one month or purchase an annual membership.

Best for nature lovers

USGS America the Beautiful Pass

Price: $$

Best for: Travelers and outdoor enthusiasts

If “travel more” is your recipient’s 2023 resolution, a USGS America the Beautiful Pass may help them meet their goals.

The pass covers entrance fees for the pass holder and up to three guests ages 16 and older (people 15 and under are free) at national parks and refuges.

It’s good for a full year from the date of purchase, so the person can use it on a big tour of national parks or break it up into several shorter trips.

If you know someone who wants to cross Grand Teton, Yellowstone, and Zion off their bucket list, this gift will get them one step closer.

Best for theater kids

Theater tickets from Goldstar

Price: $ to $$$

Best for: Theater and music fans

Broadwaydraws much of the attention for live theater, but all the world truly is a stage.

If you have a current or legacy theater kid in your life, you’ll be speaking their language with tickets to their favorite show—or one they’ve never seen before!

Regardless of where your recipient lives, there’s likely a theater where they can catch everything from off-Broadway versions of “Wicked”to “The Book of Mormon” by the creators of South Park.

Goldstar allows you to search by location and filter by date and price, so finding shows near your or your loved one is a cinch.

Best for superfans

Cameo video

Price: $ to $$$

Best for: Loyal fans of athletes, musicians, and other celebrities

You used to have to know someone in the know to get a special shoutout from a famous star. These days, you just have to go on Cameo.

Actors like Tom Felton of “Harry Potter” and musicians like former NSYNC members Chris Kirkpatrick and Lance Bass will go on camera and send tidings of comfort and joy to your recipient.

There are even athlete options. Any fans of Netflix’s “Cheer” in your life?

Some stars will even do it on 24 hours’ notice, but no promises there. Prices range from under $30 to more than $300.

Best for personalization

Songfinch personal Song

Price: $$

Best for: Music fans, romantics, or the person you’re proposing to

Marilyn Monroe, Harry Styles, and Jack Gyllenhal have inspired songs over the years, though some may have preferred not to.

Not everyone can read their name in liner notes, but you can give that special someone in your life the chance to reach Marilyn status with Songfinch.

The service allows you to choose an artist who will create an original song from scratch based on your anecdotes about them.

From funny to heartfelt to knock-your-socks-off romantic, this is a meaningful, personal gift that will be sure to leave an impression on the recipient for years to come.

Experience gifts are a unique, personalized option.

These gifts allow you to gift someone a unique encounter rather than an item, reducing clutter and perhaps even strengthening a bond.

Go ahead, gift a memory.

Ready for a calm and stress-free holiday? Check out Healthline’s Season of Self-Care, your go-to destination for the latest must-have health and wellness gifts for your loved ones – and you!

Beth Ann Mayer is a New York-based freelance writer and content strategist who specializes in health and parenting writing. Her work has been published in Parents, Shape, and Inside Lacrosse. She is a co-founder of digital content agency Lemonseed Creative and is a graduate of Syracuse University. You can connect with her on LinkedIn.