Updated: Aug 1, 2020
No doubt that our world looks drastically different than it did one year ago today. For me, one year ago today my husband and I were traveling home from a week-long family vacation with my parents, my brother, and his girlfriend. For those of you who have been following me or may have read my blog on 25 Experiences to Gift you know that in my family we don't give material gifts, we share experiences. This is a trend we started 3 years ago when we realized that we didn't need any more stuff in our lives.
Giving the gift of experience also has scientific proof to back it up. Research by Thomas Gilovich from Cornell University states that people derive value from anticipation, and that value is significantly increased with an experience versus a material item. He also goes on to share that in general people find more happiness from an experiential purchase. Combine that with some of the following facts:
The average American household has over 300,000 items
At least 1 in 10 people have a storage unit
The average family donates or throws away over 200 pounds of clothes each year
Couple these few facts with the reality that while the country was shut down for several weeks (for some even months) many of us spent time decluttering and organizing all the stuff that we already have!
Many donation centers like The Salvation Army and Goodwill have been reporting above-average donations since the pandemic began back in March.
As we begin to approach the biggest gift-giving season of the year, it's an ideal time to stop and reflect on our gift-giving habits and to see how we might incorporate experiences into the equation.
For our family, our annual vacations are on hold at the moment. So in light of choosing not to travel, I am providing some additional suggestions for gift experience ideas.
Gift Experiences for Quarantine:
Ideal for people who don't like to cook, don't want to grocery shop, and love the idea of an "easy button" solution for meals. There are so many companies to choose from and many of them provide options for vegan, small bites, and even wine! Check out Real Simple's article on 17 Meal Subscription Boxes that Make Cooking at Home Easier than Ever.
Another food-related option is an online grocery shopping subscription. As many of us try to limit our grocery store trips, you can up your game by avoiding crowds all together with home delivery of your groceries. I am in love with Imperfect Foods! Their mission is to help eliminate wasted food that would otherwise be discarded from grocery store shelves for reasons like a cosmetic imperfection or a packaging change. The best part is they offer up to 30% off of grocery store prices and it's free to sign up! You can also add items such as Dairy Packs, Snack Packs, and Meat Packs where you can choose 2-4 items in that category for an additional fee.
This is the perfect way to explore new wines without being overwhelmed with hundreds of bottles to choose from. When it comes to wine subscription services there are also lots of options. Winc, Cellars Wine Club, and Thrive Market all have great subscription offerings. But as a fan of Martha Stewart, I am definitely intrigued by her wine club. Martha Stewart Wine Club offers a six or twelve bottle selection every 6 or 8 weeks with each wine being selected by the queen of home entertainment herself. You can choose your preference for white wine, red wine, or a mix of both. And if you don't like your wine they will replace it for free. You are also able to skip shipments and change your preferences and Martha even provides tips of pairings with each bottle.
If you have a friend or relative who could use an extra set of hands to help around the house then Task Rabbit might be a great gift. Task Rabbit connects you with skilled "taskers" that can help you with anything from mounting a TV to moving furniture or planting flowers. Services such as contactless delivery and running errands are quite popular and available through this platform. You can schedule a service as early as the same day! You choose your "tasker" through reviews, price, and skill.
Streaming shows is pretty commonplace these days especially with well-known Netflix dominating the scene. I love their original content, the option to watch from just about anywhere, and their ability to recommend shows and movies based on my watch history. Sling TV is certainly making a name for itself with its live TV streaming option. With no contract and no cable box needed, Sling offers about 30 live channels for a fraction of the cost of cable.
Have you ever wondered what it would be like to learn from a pro? Perhaps someone like Wolfgang Puck for those of you who love cooking? For a yearly subscription price of $180, you can learn from 85+ of the world's best minds. From culinary arts to entertainment to business, and a variety of other subjects, video classes are designed for beginners to advanced students. You can learn from Stephen Curry, Jodie Foster, Steve Martin, and more. Video lessons are available online at any time and can be accessed from a smartphone, computer, or through a streaming device to your TV.
If you're missing workouts like I am then maybe check out a virtual fitness coach or online gym membership. Since it doesn't look like my Megaformer Pilates classes will be starting anytime soon here in Michigan, it's time to seek an alternative. My friend Laurie Moro, a certified athletic trainer works virtually with women over 40. Or check out Classpass where you can join fitness programs live across the country and enjoy live on-demand options for yoga, barre, HIIT, and more. Monthly memberships start at $9 per month.
I'm a huge fan of reading, and I love being able to actually hold a book. This is the one subscription on here that I will recommend even though it is a "physical" product that you don't consume. Book of the Month is probably one of the most popular subscriptions out there for books. Book of the Month has a large selection of titles available and you can choose from a variety of literary genres. You also get access to new releases before they are released!
Gift your favorite reader for 3, 6, or 12 months.