It’s gift-giving season, one of the most strenuous times of the year — and I’m not just talking about wallet strain. Every year it’s the same stressful decision-making process of what to buy for each person on our list. Every list contains the person who has everything or the person who is so fussy that nothing ever seems quite right. It’s time to retire the electronic gadget buying (yes, even the iPad mini) and put down the clothing and jewelry; this year we are giving the gift of the experience.
Do you really remember what you were given for Christmas or Hanukkah three years ago? I’m guessing probably not — I sure don’t. However, isn’t it true that our best memories come from new and exciting adventures? I’m proposing adventure-filled, activity-based, nonmaterial gifts this year. Below, see my curated list of the top five experiential gifts for everyone on your list. Spread your gift giving wings and expanding to this whole new territory of gift giving, and who knows, they may even take you along!
Cooking classes at Audrey Claire COOK
COOK | 253 S. 20th St., Philadelphia, PA 19103 | 215-735-COOK
COOK is a self-proclaimed part cooking class, part chef’s table. Give the gift of COOK and have your loved one learning from top chefs like Michael Solomonov of Zahav and Federal Donuts or mixologists like Christina Rando from Franklin Mortgage & Investment Co. Prepay for a class or order a gift certificate.
Warning to all foodies out there: These classes fill up quickly!
Classes priced from $65 to $225
Private lessons at Philadelphia School of Circus Arts
Philadelphia School of Circus Arts| 5900A Greene St., Philadelphia, PA 19144 | 215-849-1991
Have your loved one swinging from the rafters with a private lesson from the Philadelphia School of Circus Arts. With lesson options ranging from tightrope, Chinese pole and acrobatics to trapeze, juggling and unicycling, this experience is sure to leave lasting memories. Availability of these private lessons is based on teacher schedules.
Lesson options and costs: $70 for one hour with one or two people, or$150 for 75 minutes with three to five people.
Spa services from Juju Spa & Organics
Juju Spa & Organics | 728 S. 4th St., Philadelphia, PA 19147 | 215-922-3235
Give the gift of mind, body and spirit with a little pampering mixed in. This all-natural and organic salon and spa is the perfect treat for the on-the-go man or woman. With intriguing spa offerings including Thai massage, Japanese warm-stone shiatsu, men’s facials and acupuncture, this gift is the perfect way to say “I love you.”
Spa services are priced individually by the hour, and spa packages start at $105.
Art classes from Fleisher Art Memorial
Fleisher Art Memorial | 719 Catharine St., Philadelphia, PA 19147-2811 | 215-922-3456
Extract the artist within with the gift of art classes. Classes in Nigerian and Ghanaian pottery as well as classes on building terrariums, a type of sustainable ecosystem, are available at Fleisher Art Memorial. Of course, basic drawing and painting introductory courses are also offered. Most adult classes are offered from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m.
Classes are priced from $90 to $270 per term.
Rock climbing at Go Vertical
Go Vertical | 950 N. Penn St., Philadelphia, PA 19123 | 215-928-1800
For active loved ones, give the gift of a rock climbing class. This two-hour introductory class covers what one needs to know to climb in the gym without assistance. Start them off with this course, and if they enjoy it they can become certified in no time. Class fee: $65