Table of Contents

A recent survey revealed a significant shift in consumer preferences, with a staggering 92% of Americans prioritizing experiences over traditional gifts. This trend underscores a deep-seated desire to create lasting memories. 

Experiential gifts have become increasingly popular as people seek more meaningful and memorable ways to celebrate special occasions. Unlike material gifts, experiential gifts offer unique experiences that create lasting memories and strengthen relationships. 

For example, Airbnb, known for its home rental services, expanded into experiential gifts with Airbnb Experiences in 2016. These curated activities, led by locals, range from cooking classes in Tuscany to guided hikes in Patagonia. The success is evident: by 2020, Airbnb Experiences had grown to offer more than 40,000 activities across 1,000 cities.  

The Rise of Experiential Gifts 

Experiential gifts are presents that involve an activity or event rather than a physical item. These gifts can range from concert tickets and cooking classes to adventure trips and spa days. The idea behind experiential gifts is to provide the recipient with an opportunity to create lasting memories and enjoy unique experiences. A shift in gifting preferences is being led by millennials, who are favoring experiential gifts over traditional material possessions.  According to Taylor Smith, CEO of Blueboard, a company specializing in curated experience packages, millennials are prioritizing unique adventures over material acquisitions. In a 2016 interview with CNBC, Smith stated, "Millennials are investing in experiences, not just things. We'd rather rent scooters and explore Vietnam, attend music festivals, or hike Machu Picchu." 

A 2019 consumer report by the National Retail Federation shows a significant rise in spending on and gifting experiences.  Nearly a third of all consumers, regardless of age, reported increasing their spending on experiences compared to the previous year. Interestingly, this trend is even stronger among millennials, with 29% having given an experiential gift in the past year and a whopping 83% expressing interest in doing so. This shift in preference suggests a move away from material possessions and towards creating lasting memories. 

Why experiential gifts? 

A study in the Journal of Consumer Research suggests that giving experiences, rather than material gifts, can lead to closer relationships. Experiential gifts have several advantages over traditional material gifts: 

1. Memories Over Possessions: Experiences create lasting memories that people cherish for years, whereas material gifts may lose their appeal over time. 

2. Strengthening Relationships: Shared experiences can strengthen bonds between the giver and the recipient, fostering deeper connections. 

Example- Sephora - Offers beauty experiences and exclusive events to loyal customers, building a loyal community. 

3. Personal Growth: Experiential gifts often involve trying new activities, which can lead to personal growth and new skills.  

Example- The North Face - Rewards adventurers with experiences like mountain treks, aligning perfectly with their brand identity too. 

4. Reduced Clutter: Unlike material gifts, experiential gifts do not contribute to physical clutter in the recipient’s home. 

25 best experience gifts for 2024 

We've curated a diverse range of 25 experiential gifts, from backyard adventures to city explorations, and even unforgettable journeys across the globe. 

1. Cooking Class 

Immerse your loved one in the world of a particular cuisine or cooking technique with a hands-on cooking class. They'll learn from a professional chef, get to cook alongside other food enthusiasts, and enjoy the fruits (or vegetables) of their labor at the end. 

2. Wine  Tasting Tour 

Get on a journey of discovery with a wine tasting tour. These tours typically take place at vineyards, where participants can learn about the production process, sample different varieties, and develop their palate. 

3. Yosemite Self-Guided Audio Tour 

For the adventurous people, download a narrated mp3 audio guide combined with a map detailing the area of your tour. The glory of the Sierra Nevada awaits you on this hike of the Panorama Trail in Yosemite National Park. 

4. Learn To Fly in New York 

Learn to Fly experience in New York is a great experience for everyone! After your safety debriefing, you'll climb into the pilot's seat of a Piper PA-28-181 Archer II and prepare for take-off. Your knowledgeable, experienced instructor will take you through the pre-flight inspection and prepare the plane for take-off. 

5. Sunset Sailing Cruise 

Set sail on a unique adventure with Florida’s City sailing tour. Explore the iconic landmarks of the Big Apple from a fresh perspective. Feel the wind in your hair and soak up the sun as you glide across the harbor. Choose from public sailing tours or a private charter for an intimate experience. 

6. Vintage Flea market tour in New York  

The High Line, Chelsea Market, and Meatpacking district are New York’s best food spots, exploring them with the local guide who shares the tips and navigation is worth going. The small group program offers you to visit the best food spots. While walking in High Line Park and Chelsea Market you can explore the architecture and food haunts of the Meatpacking District. 

7. Philly Sunset Heli Tour 

Enjoy a romantic Philadelphia sunset helicopter tour for two as you sip champagne and watch a sunset from a whole new perspective! 

8. The Original Immersive Van Gogh Las Vegas tour 

Experience the art of Vincent Van Gogh like never before with the ORIGINAL Immersive Van Gogh Exhibit, now at the Shops at Crystals adjacent to ARIA Resort & Casino in Las Vegas. Step inside a world of artistic wonder and witness Van Gogh's masterpieces come to life in an unforgettable and immersive way. 

9. National Parks Tour Las Vegas to San Francisco 

Enjoy your included 4x4 jeep adventure in Monument Valley, experience the real Wild West, indulge yourselves in the amazing Utah landscapes of Zion and Bryce. Hike in Arches and Canyonlands, and adventure into the heart of the mysterious depths of the Grand Canyon before heading back to Las Vegas. From there you will travel into Death Valley for a tour guide, soak up Yosemite and delight in a city tour of San Francisco 

10. Weekend Getaway to a National Park 

Immerse yourself in nature with a camping or hiking trip to a national park. Hike through breathtaking trails, spot wildlife, and experience the tranquility of pristine wilderness. 

11. Surfing Lessons 

Learn to ride the waves with a professional surfing instructor. Catch your first wave, experience the joy of gliding across the water, and soak up the sun at the beach. 

12. Scuba Diving in Georgia 

Explore the underwater world and its magnificent coral reefs and marine life. Learn about different fish species, vibrant coral formations, and the wonders of the ocean depths.  

13. Hot Air Balloon Ride 

Soar gently above the clouds in a hot air balloon above Napa Valley and witness breathtaking panoramic views of rolling hills, sprawling landscapes, or even a city skyline at sunrise. 

14. Rock Climbing 

Challenge yourself mentally and physically with a rock climbing session at an indoor gym or outdoor crag. Learn basic climbing techniques and conquer different routes with the help of a qualified instructor. 

15. National Parks Pass 

Consider a National Parks Annual Pass for an exceptional gift that fosters exploration and well-being. It's ideal for avid hikers, campers, and anyone passionate about the outdoors.  Beyond adventure, a study by the Yale School of Environment highlights the significant cognitive and emotional benefits associated with spending time in nature. This thoughtful gift offers the recipient a year of unforgettable experiences and a chance to connect with the natural world, promoting both physical and mental well-being. 

16. Bike Tour 

This personalized experience allows them to explore a new destination in an active and engaging way. Choose from bustling cityscapes teeming with cultural landmarks or scenic nature paths offering breathtaking vistas.  A guided bike tour provides a unique perspective and the opportunity to immerse themselves in the local environment, all while enjoying the invigorating benefits of fresh air and exercise.  This thoughtful gift is a perfect fit for active individuals who crave exploration and discovery. 

17. Archery or Axe Throwing Class 

Learn the art of archery or axe throwing from a qualified instructor in a safe and controlled environment. Master a new skill, test your aim and precision, and have a fun and unique experience. 

18. Trail Riding Horseback Tour 

This professionally guided adventure allows recipients to explore the natural landscape from a unique vantage point, atop a magnificent horse.  A trail riding horseback tour transcends a typical activity; it's a journey of discovery, environmental connection, and a touch of Western charm.  This professional gift option caters to both solo adventurers and couples seeking a romantic escape, guaranteeing a truly unforgettable experience. 

19. Concert Tickets 

Witnessing a beloved artist or band perform is an experience that transcends the ordinary.  The electrifying energy, shared enthusiasm of the crowd, and unforgettable melodies create lasting memories. It's a gift that ignites the senses, fosters connection with fellow fans, and creates a night (or day!) to remember for years to come. 

20. Meditation 

This practice, suitable for all ages and abilities; it's a journey of self-discovery and stress reduction. Through guided sessions or self-paced exploration, meditation fosters mindfulness, increases focus, and cultivates emotional well-being. Studies have shown it can improve sleep, reduce anxiety, and enhance creativity.  

21. Yoga Classes 

Give the gift of well-being with yoga classes. This ancient practice combines physical postures, breathing exercises, and meditation to promote flexibility, strength, and inner peace. Yoga classes cater to all levels, allowing them to find balance and relaxation in their busy lives. 

22. Spa Gift Card 

Unwind and rejuvenate with the gift of a spa gift card. This thoughtful present allows them to indulge in a variety of treatments, from relaxing massages and facials to invigorating body scrubs.  Let them melt away stress and emerge feeling refreshed and pampered 

23. Sewing Classes 

Sewing classes offer a delightful blend of practicality and artistic expression.  Gift them the ability to create custom clothing, stylish accessories, or heartwarming home decor. These classes provide the skills and confidence to transform fabric into beautiful, functional pieces. 

 24. Dance Classes 

From the grace of ballet to the infectious energy of salsa, these classes offer a fun and healthy way to express themselves, improve coordination, and boost their mood. 

25. Pottery Classes 

These classes allow them to explore the art of shaping clay into functional pottery or unique sculptures. Working with the earth provides a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction, while creating lasting pieces to cherish. 

Gift experiences that make a lasting impression with Xoxoday 

Xoxoday offers a departure from traditional, often impersonal gifts. It provides a curated selection of exceptional experiences, from exhilarating hot air balloon rides to intimate wine tastings. By leveraging Xoxoday's experiential gifting solutions, you can move beyond generic presents and create a more personalized and impactful gesture of appreciation for employees, clients, or partners. It's a win-win, boosting employee engagement or strengthening client relationships, all while offering a gift that truly resonates. 


Experiential gifts offer a unique and meaningful way to celebrate special occasions and create lasting memories. With the growing popularity of experiential gifts, platforms like Xoxoday make it easier than ever to find and gift unforgettable experiences. Whether it’s an adventure trip, a cooking class, or a spa day, experiential gifts have the power to strengthen relationships, promote personal growth, and provide cherished memories that last a lifetime. 

Kirti Kautalaya

Kirti Kautalaya