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As the holiday season quickly approaches and gifts are top of mind, you might be wondering how you can give gifts that can be easily shipped for those family members you won’t be seeing in person this year. While a check in the mail will likely be a welcome gift for many, we’ve compiled a few experience gifts—gifts that can be consumed rather than adding to the clutter—to consider in 2020. (P.S. There’s research that shows experiences lead to more happiness than material possessions.)

Whether you know your gift recipients well or aren’t quite sure what to get them, here are a few experience ideas for everyone on your list.

  1. The most requested gift of 2019—gift cards and certificates. More than 60% of survey respondents listed gift cards as the most desired gift on their holiday wish list. Send a gift card for friends or family to enjoy a meal from their favorite restaurant.
  2. Give them a season pass. Whether they love visiting the zoo, fancy themselves an art critic or something else entirely, gifting season passes lets them experience their favorite museum, state or national park, zoo, etc. as many times as they’d like. Bonus points that every time they visit, they’ll think of you fondly. This is one gift they won’t forget!
  3. Tickets to an event. Many event organizers are getting creative and offering virtual events, or events with COVID-19 precautions in place. Check out your loved one’s favorite band, sports team, theatre, etc. to see if there are any event dates listed and consider purchasing a ticket as your gift this year. Note: Since refund policies vary by vendor, be sure to check with your friend or family member to make sure they are available that day.
  4. Gift them a day out. Look for attractions near your gift recipient that are either open year-round or offer seasonal excursions to socially distanced experiences, such as a trip to the apple orchard or local holiday lights drive-thru events.
  5. Give them a special day at home. Since we’re all at home A LOT more than in previous years, think through some activities or places your loved ones would typically go throughout the year and make them an at-home version. Some ideas include a carefully curated home spa kit, a DIY arts and craft kit you put together or purchase from a local art studio, a bird-watching starter kit, craft beer tasting package, coffee sampling home tour, or lots of non-perishable baking supplies.
  6. Help them learn something new. Great for loved ones of all ages is the gift of learning. Maybe they’d love to learn a new language, how to play the guitar, master bread making, dance the salsa or code a website. Many instructors offer virtual or socially distanced learning opportunities.
  7. Give them something that doesn’t cost you a thing. Give them handmade gift certificates for a free car wash at your house (when it’s warmer, of course!), breakfast in bed or a manicure for someone in your household, or something else that taps into your skillset.

Looking for other family finance tips? Check out our monthly blog posts.