Make the Holidays Sparkle With Experience Gifts

Not ALL Presents Come in a Box! Make the Holidays Sparkle With Experience Gifts

Parents want their children’s Christmas to be magical. Sometimes this means driving all over town or frantically searching online for trendy toys or gadgets only to find that children grow bored and banish them to the back of the closet or toy box after the holidays. This Christmas, why not give your child the gift of time by picking out an activity you can do together? Try one of these experience-gift ideas and pair it with a related fun item to go under the tree.


Is your child a budding van Gogh or drama queen? Here are some ideas for visual and performing arts experience gifts.

  • A membership or ticket to tour an art museum
  • A day at a paint-your-own pottery place
  • Acting classes
  • Parent and Child Painting class
  • Dance Lessons
Tangible Gift:
  • The book “13 Artists Children Should Know” by Angela Wenzel
  • Ed Emberley’s Drawing books
  • An easel
  • A table and chair that it is okay to drip paint on
  • Spirograph
  • Paint pens, gel crayons or oil pastels
  • Makeup kits for actors
  • Tap, jazz or ballet shoes
  • Leg warmers
  • A costume representing a favorite character
  • Microphone


Does your child like to create projects over time? Maybe you’re a maker-minded parent that wants your child to learn practical life skills. Here are some ideas to get your hobbyist started:

Experience gifts:
  • Knitting or crocheting classes
  • Home Depot free woodworking classes
  • Sewing classes at JoAnn Fabrics
  • Crafts class at Michael’s
  • Beginning jewelry making classes
  • Lessons in glasswork
  • Bath bomb, soap or lotion making lessons
  • Tangible gift ideas:
  • Knit or crochet kit for kids
  • The book “Woodland Crochet: 12 Precious Projects to Stitch and Snuggle” by Kristen Rask
  • Young Woodworker’s Project Kit from Lakeshore Learning (includes everything needed to build a small corner shelf, tool box and treasure chest)
  • Beginner Sewing Machine like the Singer Start 1304
  • Calligraphy Set
  • Origami or Craft Paper
  • Beads or jewelry making kit
  • Materials to make bath bombs, bath salts, soaps or lotions


Sports are not only a fun way for a child to get exercise, but they also provide an opportunity for parents to connect to kids.

Experience gifts:
  • Tickets to a professional sporting event
  • Tour a sporting stadium or Hall of Fame
  • Membership or admission to an ice- or roller-skating rink
  • Lessons with a private coach for a favorite sport
  • Batting facility membership
Tangible gifts:
  • Sports Equipment
  • Professional or college team jerseys or hats
  • Ticket stub diary to hold memorable sporting event stubs
  • Fitness tracker watch
  • Gymnastics or yoga mat
  • Over the door basketball hoop


You could be raising the next Pioneer Woman or Bobby Flay. Support their love of creating dishes with these fun ideas.

Experience Gift:
  • Cooking lessons
  • Kroger Chef Junior classes on Saturdays at participating stores
  • Dinner at a fine dining, gourmet or culturally diverse restaurants to explore different foods
Tangible Gift:


Experience Gifts:
  • Visit a storytelling venue
  • Attend an author visit or book signing of your child’s favorite author
Tangible Gifts:
  • Book ends
  • Booklight
  • E-reader, like a Kindle or Nook
  • Magnetic clip bookmarks
  • Reading tent
  • Comfy bean bag chair
  • Personalized book stamp
  • Magazine subscription


Clothes and accessories are always a hit at Christmas, especially if you have teens in the house. These ideas show your fashion lover you care about their style.

Experience Gift:
  • Go to a fashion show
  • Modeling classes
  • Mommy and Me mani/pedis
Tangible Gift:
  • My First Fashion Designer by Lakeshore Learning. This kit includes a miniature dress form, cloth swatches and buttons to create runway designs.
  • A mix and match fashion drawing set like Fashion Plates
  • A chic hat, scarf , gloves or ear muffs
  • Leather boots
  • Graphic tees
  • Bangles
  • Designer watch
  • Faux Fur accessories
  • Animal print scarf or leggings
  • FabKids subscription box
  • Gift card to favorite clothing store


Help your child find their inner interior designer with these gift ideas.

Experience Gift:
  • Consult with a local interior decorator and use your child’s ideas to design his or her bedroom or playroom makeover
Tangible Gift:
  • Klutz Design Your Dream Room. This portfolio lets your child explore with patterns, color, space, and 300 punch-out pieces to design a room.
  • Paint for a bedroom or playroom picked out by your child
  • Sheets, bedspread, curtains or designer pillows
  • Lamps, desk set or wall art


Boys and girls both enjoy quiet conversation over a warm cup of tea.

Experience Gift:
  • Book a tea time at a tea room
  • Plant an indoor herb garden from which to make herbal tea (try chamomile, lavender and peppermint)
Tangible Gift:
  • Tea pot and cup
  • Tea cozy
  • Costume necklaces, hats, gloves and purse to wear to tea time
  • Tea pot necklace
  • Scones and tea biscuits


If your child loves STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Math), the DMV provides a plethora of classes and camps.

Experience Gift:
  • Engineering Class
  • Membership at a nature center
  • Membership to a children’s museum
  • Computer camp or classes
  • Join a maker space
Tangible Gift:
  • Science subscription boxes like Groovy Lab in a Box and Kiwi Crate
  • Microscope
  • Composter
  • Telescope
  • Snap Circuits
  • Lego Master Builders Academy


Get outdoors and enjoy fishing, hiking, camping, canoeing or more with your child.

Experience Gift:
  • Membership in the Wild Explorers Club
  • Membership at a nature center
  • Whitewater rafting trip
  • Fishing Trip
  • Beginner SCUBA diving lessons
Tangible Gift:
  • Fishing rod and gear
  • SCUBA gear
  • Compass
  • Hiking gear
  • Tent
  • Binoculars
  • Canoe or kayak

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