Friday, June 9, 2023


Give experiences instead of traditional gifts this Christmas

If you haven’t already completed your Christmas shopping, you’re likely screwed.

That might seem to be a bit of hyperbole. But it also may not be such a leap, considering what we’re hearing about busted supply chains, cargo ships bobbing around the ocean, and nobody willing to work at manufacturing the junk we usually cram under the Christmas tree.

Maybe it’s time to take a lesson from all we’ve learned as RVers, happily traipsing around the country: Real gifts are the memories we make along the way.

The whole “shop right now or forget about Christmas” line we are being fed by traditional retailers got me thinking. What if we all switched gears and made an honest attempt at giving “experiences” this year instead of just “stuff”?

Gift experiences, not “stuff”

I’m not talking about those corny homemade coupon books for “free hugs” or cleaning up the dog poop in the backyard. I’m talking about experiences that your loved ones might have talked about as a “maybe someday” dream experience that you know they would never buy for themselves.

All of this wondering naturally led me to Google, which led me to a website called Xperience Days. The company operates internationally, with websites serving the U.S., the United Kingdom, and South Africa.

What I found on the site was an astounding variety of ready-made, ready-to-purchase experiences that don’t require any shipping, assembly, or parts that might currently be floating around the ocean.

Got an airplane fanatic in the family? How about a flight in a 1942 warplane with the Texas Warbirds? ($399). How about a food tour of the Italian Market in Philadelphia? ($37). Got a NASCAR fan on your list? They can ride shotgun in a Sprint Cup stock car as it drives three qualifying laps at Daytona Speedway ($86). They can learn how to ride a standup paddleboard in Jacksonville, FL ($44)k or take a surfing lesson in San Diego ($85).

There are art lessons, city tours, dance classes, pottery classes, Segway tours … this list of experiences includes hundreds of fun things all over the country. You can search by location, experience category, or price. If you can’t make up your mind, just purchase a gift certificate in a desired amount and let the gift recipient shop on the site for their own experience.

If you’re worried about sending Aunt Edna paragliding, don’t worry. (Although she can go paragliding in Santa Barbara for $100.) There are many, many more passive experiences, too. There is really something here for everybody, and there are far too many to list here.

The Xperience Days company has been around since 2004, so they have plenty of, well, experience. So, whether it’s a gourmet food-tasting experience for Mom, or golf lessons with a pro for Dad, maybe this is the year to break away from socks and sweaters.

The best part? No wrapping.


Mike Gast
Mike Gast
Mike Gast was the vice president of Communications for Kampgrounds of America Inc. for 20 years before retiring in 2021. He also enjoyed a long newspaper career, working as a writer and editor at newspapers in North Dakota, South Dakota, Oregon, and Montana. He and his wife, Lori Lyon, now own and operate the Imi Ola Group marketing company, focusing on the outdoor industry.


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Leanne Hopkins
5 months ago

We always have a difficult time finding a gift for our 39 year old son who is physically handicapped. I wish we could find a list like in this article for those with comparable abilities to Jeff. He loves going parasailing at the beach. He’s fortunate that his brother in law can physically help him while they’re in the air. Jeff enjoys zip lining but many companies aren’t prepared for him. He enjoys steam trains. As he gets older it’s more difficult to physically handle him.
suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

The Lazy Q
1 year ago

How can we be screwed for Christmas? Everyone has forgotten what Christmas is all about. I will enjoy Christmas this year and people like you can’t do anything about it. But fyi, so far I have not found anything out of stock as I peruse what is out there, not that I’m looking to buy anything.

The Lazy Q
1 year ago
Reply to  The Lazy Q

Didn’t mean you…MSM and your politicians.

1 year ago

I’m giving gifts of charity for organizations that benefit vets and animals.

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