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2019 Holiday Gift Guide: The Experience Edition

How to buy less stuff and make more memories this holiday season

Do you ever feel tired of giving, receiving, and eventually getting rid of stuff? We sure do. This holiday season, think outside the gift box and give your family and friends experiences instead. Because toys break. Clothes go out of style. Gadgets are soon replaced by the next best thing. But memories of an amazing experience with the people you love? Those will last forever.

Consider this the Marie Kondo-ing of your 2019 holiday gift guide. Does that new tie for dad really “spark joy,” for you or for him? Why not give him an unforgettable experience instead? Dad — and everyone else on your gift list — will thank you.

Trust us, your perfect holiday is just an experience away. Check out our gift suggestions below.

Events Like Concerts, Plays, and Movies
Tickets to events are an easy way to give an experience that you know the recipient will love. Look for concerts nearby from their favorite musicians and get tickets. See if there are any interesting plays or musicals performing in your area for the theater lovers on your list.

Got a movie buff you’re shopping for? Look for tickets to a special movie showing — like an indie classic that’s not in theaters often, or a special movie screening in a park. A membership to a local theater is a great option, too.

Events are the perfect experience to give all the mega-fans on your list. As long as it aligns with their interests, it’s sure to be unforgettable.


Activities Like Escape Rooms, Spa Outings, and Classes
Activities are great for trying something new and for bonding, too! Tickets to an escape room or the zoo are a great idea perfect for family and friend groups alike. Vouchers for a spa are a great option, because who doesn’t love a little pampering? If you’re feeling extra generous, you can also gift a membership to somewhere like a museum!

Another fun activity to gift is a class. There’s the perfect class out there for every interest — from art, to exercise, to cooking! Or, pick something totally new and exciting to try.

Interactive activities like these make perfectly personalized, memorable gifts — especially for the curious and adventurous people on your list.

Trips Like Family Vacations and Romantic Getaways
Planning a trip is a great gift option for those closest to you. A casual road trip is a fun and low-stress way to plan a trip with someone. Bonus points if you combine a road trip with an event or activity! Take a drive to an out-of-town concert or a museum in the next city over. Or, turn your road trip into a weekend-long getaway. It’s less commitment than a whole vacation, and makes a great gift for a partner (hello, whirlwind romance!) or a close friend.

If you want to go all-in, you can plan an entire vacation for your family or friends. Do keep in mind this will be more expensive and difficult to coordinate. If you’re an uber-organized planning extraordinaire, this could be the right choice for you.

A trip of any kind is the perfect way for you and your loved ones to escape for a little and spend quality time together.


With all of these ideas in mind, we hope you feel motivated to give gifts that’ll never break or go out of style this holiday season. Whether you choose a trip, event, activity, or something else, there’s the perfect experience out there for everyone on your list. And when you’re part of the experience too, you’ll get to spend quality time with the people you love — and isn’t that what the holidays are all about?

For a truly unforgettable experience to share with family and friends this holiday season, try a Hornblower holiday cruise! Hop on board, see the unbeatable views, and make memories you’ll treasure forever.

Book your Hornblower holiday cruise here.

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