Gift Experiences

To me, the holidays are about family and friends. Spending time with each other. Cooking together. Eating together.

To the big industries, the holidays are about making big cash off of the gift giving sales.

To rebels, this means boycotting the whole holiday season. That makes me sad. Giving and receiving well thought out gifts makes everyone happy. The act of giving is cathartic and the act of receiving fills us with gratitude.

Why not join the act of spending time together and the act of giving? My suggestion this holiday, give experiences. Better yet, give experience that you can share together!

  1. Paint nite - Visit the site, choose a painting you like in location near you, get there early to get a good spot and order some nibbles and drinks. You don’t have to be particularly artistic to make a beautiful work of art! Pro tip, check out the Groupon deals.

  2. Escape rooms - For the puzzle lover on your list! In Ottawa, we have a lot of different options like Escape Manor (gift certificate deal) and Room Escape.

  3. Axe throwing, Archery tag, Flying squirrel, SkyZone trampoline dodgeball - Some of these take more physical fitness than others but not necessarily!

  4. Dinner date -  At their favourite restaurant! If they’re vegetarian, they might like a vegetarian restaurant like Chickpeas in Trainyards, The Table in Westboro, The Green Door on Main, Pure Kitchen in Centretown and Westboro, or Cafe my House on Wellington W. Honestly, the list of amazing food in Ottawa goes on.

  5. Cooking class - at C’est bon for the amateur chef on your list!

  6. Yoga or fitness class pass - Find out what their local or favourite studio or community centre is and purchase a class pass. Better yet, go with them! Friends who move together, stay together! Did you know the City of Ottawa offers really affordable class passes 10 fitness classes for $76, that’s $7.60 per class! Best price in town!

  7. Movement workshop - The movement industry is booming! There are workshops out there for every conceivable issue. From shoulder pain relief to pelvic floor health. A simple google search will render a ton of results, but feel free to contact me for suggestions!

  8. Art classes - Try painting, drawing, or my personal favourite but expensive, pottery classes.

  9. Tickets to a hockey game - I’m clearly Canadian for assuming everyone watches hockey. Perhaps just tickets to their prefered sporting event.

  10. Show tickets - To a play, musical, concert at the NAC, or for more affordable prices, check out the local small theatres like GCTC, Ottawa Little Theatre,

  11. Comedy show - Everyone needs a good laugh!

  12. Plan a picnic or homemade evening (pair it with hiking in Gatineau Park or skating on the Canal)

  13. Rock climbing - I mean, this one is here because it’s on my wish list! I love to climb and everyone can do it to their capacity! Check out the classes, workshop, membership, or class options at your local climbing gym (i.e. Cayote, Altitude, or Vertical Reality)

If you feel odd giving experiences, you can always pair it with something tangible. Paint night with a canvas, paint, and paintbrushes for their at-home masterpiece. Climbing pass with climbing shoes, harness, or chalk & chalk bag. Cooking class with some rare ingredient food basket or cool kitchen gadget. Yoga or fitness class with a new yoga mat, yoga tune up balls, or yoga prop. You get the idea?

Most of all this gift giving season, I encourage you to resist getting caught up in all the hussle and focus on being present, because after all, the present is a gift!