Inside: Focus on keeping Christmas simple with less clutter by giving more experience gifts this year!

Do you love the Christmas season? Fall rolling into the holidays is my favorite time of the year. I enjoy reflecting on the happy memories made throughout my life during this season. The traditions we do each year bring me joy and I love being able to share that with my kids.

The one thing I don’t enjoy very much is the stress that can come with buying gifts. Some of the things the kids claimed that they REALLY wanted were quickly forgotten. Sadly it felt like money wasted as they’d become clutter in our home.

No one wants to end up with buyer’s remorse or a house full of gifts that you don’t use, don’t need, and that you don’t really want.

Thankfully, a few years ago we decided to change gift giving in our home and it’s made a world of difference! When we focused on making memories and gifting experiences, it helped us to keep Christmas simple with less clutter.

keeping Christmas simple

What Is An Experience Gift

Experience gifts can include a wide range of options including adventures, opportunities, events, classes, or activities. These experiences make the best gifts because they outlast possessions, creating memories and moments that last a lifetime. 

Keeping Christmas Simple, Where Do I Start?

The holidays can be a stressful time of year. When you simplify the holidays, you’re able to experience more joy as you focus on what matters most.

Experience gifts for Christmas are about making magical moments and memories, whether for the whole family or just for that person. 

As you consider each person you’re ‘shopping’ for, think about what they like most and what types of things might be on their bucket list.

While some of those things may be out of reach for an experience gift, reflecting on their likes and preferences will help you to find an experience gift that is tailored to their taste. How fun is it to think you could be part of creating a once-in-a-lifetime experience for someone that they’ll never forget?

While I am very frugal in almost every area of my life, experiences are something I build into our budget because I think they are so valuable. For us, they are worth splurging a little on when we are able to.

This list was supposed to be the Top 10 Experience Gifts, and it is, with a twist. There are so many great ideas and options out there that it was impossible to narrow it down, so you get the Top 10 Experience Gift Categories! 

It was fun creating this list and thinking about how much the people in my life would enjoy some of these experiences. And, on top of that, there’s no after-Christmas chaos and clutter!

keeping Christmas simple

Will Buying Activity Christmas Gifts Really Make People Happy?

While opening an experience gift may be slightly less anticlimatic than opening a fancy physical present, that doesn’t make them any less special. It just means that the enjoyment of the gift and happiness that comes along with it happens later.

The joy that comes from the memories made lasts far longer than the temporary excitement over a new possession.

When you choose an experience to buy for Christmas, it is not only the receiver that will be thrilled, but it also keeps the clutter of discarded or impractical gifts out of your house. Win-win. There is no post-holiday gift guilt with extra stuff that you don’t have the space for.

Top 10 Experience Gifts For Keeping Christmas Simple

Do you want to make magic and forgo the mess? You’ll be surprised at some of the fantastic ideas you come up with on your own once you review this list. Plus, the idea of keeping Christmas “simple” where everyone gets something they genuinely love is even more exciting.

1. Entertainment Experiences to Buy for Christmas

You can embellish your experience gifts in several ways: combining a weekend away in the city with a performance. With a cinema pass, you can include candy or a gift card to cover the popcorn and so on. The options are limitless!

  • Comedy shows
  • Theater and Dinner
  • Yearly Cinema Passes
  • Murder Mystery Dinner
  • Annual Pass Amusement Park
  • Broadway Musical

2. Getaways for Keeping Christmas Simple

Have you been dreaming about taking a particular vacation for years? If you’ve been saving and have the funds set aside, Christmas is a perfect time to finally solidify your plans.

There are many options for getaways and also quite a range of prices. If you don’t have the budget for your ‘dream vacation’, no worries. You can scale back and come up with many creative less expensive options.

I personally enjoy driving when we go on trips. It saves us time and money and there are many beautiful places to explore without us having to get on a plane. We live within a couple of hours of both the beach and mountains and have made wonderful family memories in both places.

If staying overnight isn’t an option, plan a day trip to that town you’ve been wanting to visit. There are a variety of ways to get away even if for a day.

  • Alaskan Whale Watching Adventure
  • European River Cruise
  • Disney Dream Vacation
  • Trip to the coast
  • Vacation in the mountains
  • Explore a new town in your area

3. Hobbies As Activity Christmas Gifts

Do you have a loved one who has been wanting to hone a particular skill or take up a new hobby? An experience gift is a perfect opportunity to help them do that.

  • Photography Classes
  • Couples Dance Classes
  • Writing Class
  • Annual Subscription
  • Art or Craft Class
art class

4. Sports Experiences to Buy for Christmas

Have a man in your life who is a sports fanatic? Think how exceptionally pleased they would be with tickets to an event like that! Or, make it a buddy’s weekend that he can enjoy with his friends.

  • Meet n Greet w/Sports Hero
  • Tickets to a Game
  • Play-Off/Super Bowl Tickets
  • Pro Golf Session
  • Daytona 500 Tickets

5. Keeping Christmas Simple with Self Improvement Gifts

Is this the type of experience you’d like to receive? Help out the man in your life by letting him know what places you like or what type of services you’d be interested in.

This may sound like it ruins the fun and the surprise, but clear communication helps you both win. You get the gift you want and he doesn’t have to stress out over it.  

  • Infrared Facial
  • Day at the Spa
  • Gym Membership w/Personal Trainer
  • Professional Makeup Session/Photography

6. Activity Christmas Gifts to Buy for Foodies

Do you or your spouse enjoy cooking? You could take a class together and learn how to make a new type of cuisine. Or maybe a wine or beer tasting is more your style. There are plenty of great experience options for everyone.

  • Chef’s Table Experience
  • Kitchen Cook-Shops
  • Virtual Cooking Classes
  • Knife Skills/Care Class
  • Wine Tasting
  • Brewing Company Tour

7. Adventurist Experiences to Buy for Christmas

Love the thrill of adventure? There are a variety of options out there with varying levels of adrenaline rush associated with them.

  • Race Car Driving Experience
  • Snow Tubing
  • White Water Rafting
  • Cross Country Skiing
  • Hot Air Balloon Flight
  • Skydiving
  • Ropes Course
  • Horseback Riding

8. Musical Experiences to Buy for Christmas 

Have you checked out Groupon lately? That can be a great place to find discounted tickets to concerts or festivals in your area.

  • Concerts
  • Music Festivals
  • Backstage Passes
  • Guitar or Piano Lessons

9. Practical Gifts for Keeping Christmas Simple

The last couple of years especially have been hard on people financially. A practical gift could provide much-needed financial relief instead of that knit sweater that no one really needs. 

What about someone who’s toyed with the big-box store idea but just won’t take the plunge on the membership fee? And Nana keeps saying she wants to visit her sister, but something always comes up; it’s kind of hard not to go if the plane ticket is paid for already. You get the idea.

Practical gifts are a great option that helps with keeping your Christmas simple!

keeping Christmas simple

10. Keeping Christmas Simple with Clutter-Free Gift Ideas

Do you have any of those people on your list who don’t “want or need” anything? There are some great ideas for clutter-free gifts that they can enjoy without it adding to the stuff in their home.

Check out more clutter-free gift ideas here. And there is a list of clutter-free stocking stuffers too!

Keeping Christmas simple is easy once you decide to find experiences to buy for Christmas gifts! 

When it comes to experience gifts, the options are endless. If you want even more options than what was listed here, check out my list of 100+ Experience Gift Ideas For Tween Boys & Girls; I think you’ll love it!

As you’re keeping Christmas simple with less clutter and more experiences, you get to give the gift of fun memories that no possession could replace, without having to store anything extra.

I hope you are inspired by all the opportunities out there to simplify your holidays by giving your family the best Christmas experience gifts.

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  1. This year our province experienced severe flooding. Our farmlands were devastated. Our major roads were closed due to extreme damage. Vancouver was completely cut off from road routes to the rest of Canada.
    Our family decided to have a gift free Christmas and donate to the Red Cross helping those areas.
    I was sorry to see your suggestions did not include any charitable gifts.

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