8 ‘Experience’ Gift Ideas for Adults

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I find it hard to come up with ideas when people ask, ‘What do you want for your birthday?’ I mean, what do I really need that I can’t just go out and buy myself?

Personally, what I really want is time and a little indulgence. Time to relax, time to catch up with friends, time to do nothing even when there are jobs to be done. The indulgence part is perhaps even harder to come by as who really buys the massive piece of chocolate cake at an eye-watering expense just ‘cos? Or who goes to the movies on a mid-week afternoon just ‘cos?

These are the sort of gifts I am looking for and if the gift giver would like to join me on an indulgence than all the better.

1. Dinner or Lunch with a Friend
One of my favourite gifts is having dinner with friends. I have several times had friends surprise me by picking up the tab at the end of the night and saying ‘Happy Birthday’ or even ‘Happy Engagement’ one time. My sister recently couldn’t attend the party of a good friend’s milestone birthday so instead she took the friend out for lunch and was able to spend a good couple of hours with her. The tangible gift was lunch but the true gift was being able to spend uninterrupted time together.

2. Bring-Your-Baby Movie Gift Voucher
My most amazing find as a new mum was that there were movie sessions at cinemas specifically for mums and their babies, this blew my mind. However, when I had Miss Logical I felt guilty relaxing at the movies while Mr T was hard at work and only went twice. When I had Master Mayhem I kicked myself for not going more often when I only had one baby. Now, with number three, my Tiny Man, I go as often as I can and realise that this total decadence does not last forever. So, for the new mum take the guilt away and give her a Bring-Your-Baby movie gift voucher. Go one step further and go to the movies with her, it can be really daunting going somewhere for the first time with your first tiny baby and an extra pair of hands and company would be the most valuable part of your gift.

3. Manicure/Pedicure Voucher
Another good one for the new-mum or the mum-to-be. Nothing worse than feeling like a whale and knowing that your toes aren’t up to scratch and there is not a thing you can do about it. Having your toes painted with a foot massage thrown in for good measure when you are at the spiky end of pregnancy is bliss. For the new-mum throw in a voucher from yourself offering your babysitting services while she gets her pampering done.

4. Movie Gift Card
When I was in my twenties going to the movies was a regular thing, weeknights, Saturday afternoons, Sunday mornings, whenever there was something worth seeing. Once my little family and other commitments came along my taken-for-granted trip to the movie went out the door. The silver lining is that I now see going to the movies as a really special treat as I did when I was a kid. Movie gift card prices range from $8 for a trip to the candy bar right up to $98 for the ultimate indulgence of Gold Class. Every present is covered here from the office Kris Kringle to a birthday to a wedding.

5. Adult Learning Gift Voucher
For the person who has everything what about giving them a new skill? Each state has their own adult learning centres, for SA it’s the WEA in Adelaide where I have spent many happy hours learning useless skills such as Scandinavian Felt Making, Guitar and Face Painting to name a few. Your happy gift recipient can choose anything from Computer Awareness to Tap Dancing to Didgeridoo For Beginners. Why not join them and create some happy memories.

6. Ice-cream or Cake Indulgence
It sounds totally dorky but why not make up your own voucher? A simple document stating that the recipient is entitled to one outrageously, indecent ice-cream sundae, (mmm, think Royal Copenhagen Dessert Bar) or coffee and cake that they would never dream of eating in everyday life. You would of course join them on said indulgence!

7. Massage and Pampering
The ultimate indulgence that we never give ourselves – the massage. I know myself I only go for a massage if a.) something is wrong and my body is crying out for it or b.) someone has given it to me as a gift. When I have a massage gift card I can use it whenever I want, not when I need it but when I want it, something I never do in normal life. Pure bliss. Again if you’re gift receiver has kids or other commitments offer to take care of them/it for them, sometimes the gift is more about helping them to find the time to indulge than the indulgence itself.

8. Red Balloon Voucher
If you are still stuck for ideas head to Red Balloon for some amazing experience gifts. If you don’t like the idea of just handing over a voucher to spend on any experience or think it’s too impersonal, pick something out with them and join them, if you can’t afford it just be there on the day, be their chauffeur, chief photographer, high fiver. It’s all about spending time together.

What do you think? Would you prefer a happy memory or an actual gift?

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