Group makes bruschetta on a table as part of an experience holiday gift

Tips & Guides

Shopping for a Digital Nomad? Why Experiences Make for Great Holiday Gifts

By Bri Hand | Nov 30, 2021

When I was a kid, my parents always told me that I was supposed to value “experiences” over “things.” This particular piece of advice was likely a direct result of my interest—nay, obsession—with Toys R’ Us catalogs and Barbie commercials come Christmastime, but the lesson stayed with me nonetheless: Things come and go, but experiences and their resulting memories will last forever. 

However, over the past two years, I have found myself trending in the more—ahem—materialistic direction. It’s no surprise, considering the fact that the very concept of going out and doing things was ripped away once the COVID-19 pandemic hit. Additionally, the fact that I was now endlessly holed up in my home meant I needed to find some comfort, and even solace, in the physical items I had on hand (shoutout to my electric blanket and TV!). 

With the world ever-so-gradually returning to normal, experiences are now back on the table—and make for the perfect holiday gift for your loved ones. If you’re looking for present ideas for friends or family, here are five reasons experiences make for fantastic holiday gifts, as well as some of our favorites: 

1. It shows you really know the person and support their interests

What better way to show that you’ve been listening to your loved one’s stories (*cough, rants*) about a particular artist they’re obsessed with than to buy them concert tickets? Or, if they’re super into fantasy football, you could buy them tickets to their favorite team’s game! These types of gifts are a great way to both recognize their interests while simultaneously supporting them and providing them with a one-of-a-kind chance to bring their hobby to the next level.

2. It’s more sustainable and less materialistic

Young professionals, in particular, may value experiences over physical presents due to their amount of living space. With more and more people now living in apartments these days, they just might not have the space to store larger presents. Plus, if they’re planning on moving in the future, it’s worth it to not have a ton of extra boxes to haul around. If your loved one doesn’t want to accumulate a bunch of “stuff” at their life stage, buying them something as an experience may be a better fit. 

To top it all off, experience gifts tend to be better for the environment (and think of all the wrapping paper you’ll save!). Score!

3. It’s something for you to do together

Pre-COVID, it was a tradition every year in my family to buy theatre tickets for myself, my mom, and my grandma as Christmas presents. Sometimes these events were six or more months in the future, but it was a great way to secure time for us to spend a day together, and have something to look forward to. Things like tickets to shows, concerts, classes, or games are a wonderful opportunity to spend time with loved ones over a shared experience (and a way to prolong the holiday spirit). 

4. It lets them decide what to do with it

Even if you aren’t planning on attending an event with your recipient, you can still buy them something like a restaurant gift card or movie theatre gift card for them to use as they see fit. They’ll have control over how and when they put the gift card to good use, and they’ll think of you when they make it happen! 

5. We’re in need of more experiences these days! 

If you’re anything like me, these past two years of pandemic life have been hard, and I will gladly take any excuse to (safely) participate in activities that used to bring me joy. By giving someone the opportunity to get out of the house and engage with something fun in the world for a change, you’ll be providing them with a gift that just might not have been possible for quite a long time. And there’s nothing better than that! 

Examples of holiday gift ideas for experiences

If you’re thinking about giving your loved one an experience as a holiday gift, here are some of our favorites: 

Tickets

  • Concert tickets
  • Theatre tickets
  • Sports tickets
  • Plane, train, or bus tickets
  • Museum tickets
  • Tour tickets
  • Escape room tickets
  • Boat tickets (bonus points for whale watches!)

Gift cards

  • Restaurant gift cards
  • Movie theatre gift cards
  • Fitness class gift card

Classes

  • Cooking classes
  • Pottery classes 
  • Music lessons
  • Dance lessons
  • Crafting classes 
  • Photography classes 
  • Calligraphy classes 
  • Language learning classes or online subscription
  • Cocktail making class
  • Floral arrangement class

Other: 

  • Spa day
  • Massages
  • National Park or State Forest passes 
  • Wine or beer tastings 
  • Personal chef for an evening
  • Gym membership fees
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About the author

Bri Hand

Bri Hand is Landing's Content Marketing Manager. She currently lives in Salem, Massachusetts, with her partner and dog, Arlo, but relishes any opportunity she can to travel so she can try new foods, see gorgeous sights, and daydream about living somewhere new after visiting there for less than 24 hours.