Be honest; how frequently do you happen upon an item in your home that you’d love to discard, but feel obliged to keep simply because you received it as a gift?
It’s more than you’d like to admit, isn’t it? And if it happens to you, you can be pretty sure it happens to everyone you know as well.
Well-intentioned presents often languish on shelves, gather dust on bedside lockers or ultimately make their way into another person’s home with the help of a little sneaky ‘re-gifting’. (And we hate to break it to you, but it is very likely you’ve been the victim of a re-gifting in recent years!)
Whether it’s Christmas, a birthday, or an anniversary, choosing (and receiving) a gift can be tricky, and with many of us becoming increasingly more conscious of the amount of material goods – both wanted and unwanted – which we accumulate year on year, it’s perhaps no surprise that ‘experience gift-giving’ is becoming ever more popular.
Choosing the perfect gift experience
‘Experience gift-giving’? Let’s go ahead and unwrap that term, shall we? Put simply, instead of choosing a physical item in honour of a particular occasion, you give the gift of an experience.
Not only are you helping to create incredible memories for a loved one, you have the opportunity to enjoy the experience with them. And if that’s not a win-win, we don’t know what is!
From Europe to the US, let’s take a look at the travel experiences guaranteed to capture the imaginations of even the pickiest person in your circle!
For the foodies
There exist two types of foodies; those who relish the idea of a food-focussed event, but don’t harbour any desire to get hands-on, and those who want their experience to be as tangible – as palpable – as possible.
If a friend or loved one falls into the latter category, it’s likely they love nothing more than getting acquainted with ingredients, learning the tricks of the trade from experts in the field and familiarising themselves with the history of certain cuisine.
Whether it’s learning how to make pasta, paella and pizza from scratch or mastering the art of the perfect gelato, we have an experience that will delight all dedicated foodies.
From Italy to Spain, there are so many experiences available which are guaranteed to earn you a few brownie points!
Rome Pasta Making Class: €85.00
This pasta making class in Rome is the ideal treat for an Italian food aficionado. Taking place on a rooftop in the centre of the city, the hands-on experience sees guests challenge themselves by making two different types of pasta (including a tricky truffle ravioli!) before celebrating a job well done with a delicious home cooked meal and a glass (or two!) of wine! Perfect for couples, families, friends, beginners and fully-fledged foodies alike, it’s a gift that’ll make memories to last a lifetime… Just make sure you ask for a demonstration when they’re home!
Rome Food Tour with Pizza-Making €79.00
This food tour with pizza-making class is the perfect experience for anyone who believes the essence of a city lies in its cuisine! With less than 12 people per tour, guests sample small plates at trattorias, and tuck into the produce sold at local delis, butchers and cheese shops – all the while chatting with the fascinating characters behind the counter. The experience culminates with a pizza-making lesson and a stroll through Italy’s capital!
Italian Pasta and Gelato-Making with a Local Chef €85.00
Moving from Rome up to Florence now, this pasta-making class is the perfect way to familiarise yourself with Florentine cuisine! In the home of a local chef, guests work with fresh ingredients and learn how to make pasta and gelato from scratch – the latter of which actually originated in Florence! After being taught how to recreate these dishes at home, participants take a breather before pairing the dish with the perfect wine and relaxing over their meal!
Dine Around Florence: An Authentic Evening Wine and Food Tour €75.00
If your loved one thinks a city’s food scene is one of the most intriguing aspects about it, then this wine and food tour is the perfect travel experience! Taking place in Florence, guests eat as the locals do; moving from neighbourhood to neighbourhood, sampling the delights of the city’s gastronomy scene and learning more about the tales behind the tastes!
Barcelona Cooking Class: Paella Making Dinner Party with Expert Local Chef €79.00
OK folks, we’re moving from Italy to Spain for a paella-making dinner party in Barcelona! With the help of a chef who has worked in a Michelin-starred restaurant, guests learn how to make paella from scratch! After starting with a drinks reception, it’s onto the main event where guests get hands-on with ingredients before lingering over dishes created for a picture-perfect Spanish evening.
For the wine enthusiasts
Learning all about wine while sampling the best a region has to offer sounds like an idyllic type of day, doesn’t it?
And whether your friend or loved one is keen to learn about wineries or already considers themselves somewhat of a connoisseur, there are very few people wouldn’t jump at the chance to soak up the unique atmosphere of a wine tour!
From Paris to San Francisco, this is one gift experience that will not disappoint!
Luxury Small Group Champagne Day Trip from Paris €169.00
This luxury champagne tour from Paris really is as decadent as it sounds. A thoroughly immersive experience, this gift will be savoured at the time and (hopefully!) remembered for years to come. From visiting the Benedictine Abbey in Hautvillers to meandering the nearby town of Epernay, the experience is devoted to the champagne-making process, focuses on the many ancient traditions of champagne making, and is an absolute must for anyone who enjoys the finer things in life!
A Day in Wine Country: San Francisco Wine Tour in Napa and Sonomo Valleys $229.00
Who wouldn’t say yes to a chauffeur-driven tour through the Napa and Sonoma Valleys? No one, that’s who. With private transport, tastings at three separate wineries and a mouthwatering picnic to linger over, this is the ideal gift for anyone who wants to savour the sights of San Francisco’s sleepy valleys while treating themselves to the fruit of its famous vineyards!
For the film fan
Everyone has at least one film buff and one TV fanatic in their life, right?
Young or old, male or female, TV captures the imagination of millions on a daily basis while cinema’s draw is as beguiling as ever. And yet, it’s not often that die-hard TV and films fans get a chance to visit the locations of their favourites movies and TV shows…. until you treat them to a TV and Movie Tour, that is!
TV and Manhattan Movie Locations Tour with NBC Studio Tour $84.00
Don’t just spring for a boxset or treat a pal to movie tickets, bring their favourites mediums to life in Manhattan instead, with a gift experience they will be talking about for years to come!
On this TV and Movie tour, guests will visit filming locations from Sex and the City, Gossip Girl, Home Alone 2, Ghostbusters, The Godfather, Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Elf and more. Oh, and the best part? They’ll even get to film their very own segment in NBC Studios – Just make sure they promise to remember you when they’re rich and famous!
For the big kids at heart
Exclusive Disney on Broadway Tour $72.00
Let’s be honest, very few of us are immune to the magic of Disney. Some people, however, are self-proclaimed die-hard Disney devotees. The films, the soundtracks, the characters; there’s nothing about the stage and screen productions that fails to enchant them, and that’s why this Disney on Broadway Tour will be right up their street!
Guests will learn about the history of Broadway, visit the New Amsterdam Theatre and – perhaps the best bit – try on costumes and props from past and present productions! Whether they’re a fan of Broadway or a long-time Disney enthusiast, this is undoubtedly the gift experience they’ll remember for years to come.
For the true crime lover
Stories from the Dark Side: Criminals, Gangs and Mafia Tour of NYC $59.00
Whether it’s through documentaries, boxsets or podcasts, we all know that interest in true crime has been rising steadily in recent years. And while some people may be happy to keep it at arm’s length by learning about it from the comfort of their own homes, others would be eager to get a little more hands-on, so to speak.
And who better to give a true crime tour than a retired NYPD officer or a detective who knows the ropes when it comes to the Big Apple’s dark side? We mean, how cool would it be to take a step inside New York’s underworld with the folk who know its stories inside and out?
Guests will delve into New York’s criminal underbelly and learn how it shaped the city’s history and culture before toasting you (and your gift!) over coffee and a doughnut – naturally!