5 Experiential Gifts to Give for the Holidays

No gift wrap required.

November 25, 2016

By Stacey McLachlan

It’s the age-old dilemma: what holiday gift do you give your best friend who lives in a 600-square-foot apartment with no closet? Or your mother, who just read Marie Kondo’s book and is in a strictly-no-clutter phase of her life? Or the little brother who throws out everything you give him anyways?

While the joy you get from handing someone a big ol’ box is part of what makes the season so magical, the reality is, most of us have enough stuff to last a lifetime. But that doesn’t mean you have to give up on giving. Just steer your shopping towards experiential gifts: things your loved ones can do (maybe even with you in tow) that won’t take up any precious square footage or ruin the feng shui. Below, five Vancouver-based gift ideas for you that are literally outside the box.

5 Cool Experiences to Give Someone This Holiday Season

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1. Wellness Warrior Yoga and Massage Package

We tend to tense up a little bit around the holidays (one VanMag editor just pulled her neck opening her lunch Tupperware today, so clearly, xmas stress is already running high). Our recommended remedy? YYoga‘s new Wellness Warrior package, which doubles down on the relaxation, pairing one of the yoga studio’s signature classes with a 60-minute massage at the in-house Vida Spa for just $90. And if you’ve somehow still got some tension in your shoulders after stretching it out in Flow session and getting an intensive Ayurveda massage with customized oils, just pop into the infrared sauna. $90 per person; couples massages available

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2. Dirty Apron Cooking Class

Everyone knows the old saying: “Give a man a plate of spaghetti, he’ll eat for a day; teach a man the basics of Italian cuisine, and you’ll be feasting on homemade goat-cheese-and-arugula ravioli in walnut sage sauce for a lifetime.” The four-hour hands-on cooking classes at Dirty Apron will empower the home chef in your life to go gourmet in the kitchen: this one’s really a gift that keeps on giving. $170 per person, various classes available

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3. Brewery Tour

Though there are companies that will chaperone you from brewery to brewery (and let you bypass the lines), it’s easy enough to plan your own crawl—or stumble—through either Mount Pleasant’s beer hub or the East Van cluster that incorporates Strange Fellows and Parallel 49. Our advice: skip the official tour so you can go at your own pace, and save your cash to treat your giftee to a taxi home. Map here.

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4. Secret Supper Soiree

This annual Dine Out festival event sells out every year, so scoop up tickets and you’ll be a hero. The speakeasy themed dining adventure takes guests to three different venues for cocktails, canapes, dinner and (naturally) trolley transport. Wear your finest flapper beads. January 20, 21, 27 and 28, and February 4 2017. Early bird rate of $99 plus tip and tax before December 31. 

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5. Fashion Design 101

Give the fashionista in your life the chance to prove their style mettle with The Cutting Room‘s eight-week design course, where students get the quick-and-dirty intro to creating a capsule collection. There’s sketching, mood board creation, pattern drafting, and in the end, a game plan for five outfits—the seeds for Vancouver’s newest fashion empire. $650

What cool, giftable experiences should we add to the list? Let us know in the comments!

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