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Thinking Outside the Box: 33 Holiday Gifts that Can’t Be Wrapped

December 3, 2010

This is way better than anything that can fit underneath a tree.

There’s a simple joy in giving and receiving around the holidays.  We stop to think about the people we love.  We pick out a gift with care, hoping it will be just right.

And many of the best gifts don’t come from stores.  They might teach you something. Or entertain you.  Or take you somewhere you’ve never been before. They’re personal.  Thoughtful.  And hopefully above all, meaningful.

We’re here to help you find those meaningful gifts. So we bring you, 33 gifts that don’t come from a store and are sure to warm someone’s heart.


Sports League Fees

Playing sports is an experience that feels good in many ways: you’re getting exercise plus socializing with your friends. Whether you want to play in your own rec softball league or pay for your child’s soccer league fees, this is a great gift. 


Yes, you love your kids.  Yes, they love you (sometimes).  But, you need a break every now and then.  Just think of how grateful you’ll be for the gift of a quiet night without any distractions.

Plane Tickets

If you want to go somewhere far away, flying is probably a good option.  Let others help you get to that tropical island!

Language Lessons

One of the more rewarding experiences in life is being able to speak to another person in your non-native language.  With language lessons, you can open the door into a myriad of other cultures.

Cooking Classes

No matter how well you cook now, there is always more to learn when it comes to cooking.  Cooking classes are a great way to expand your palate and learn about new ways to make the food that you eat 3 times a day.  Then you can invite your friends over and impress them with your new skills!



Who doesn’t want a massage by a professional massage therapist?  Feel all the stress melt away while your muscles get kneaded into a state of bliss.

Exotic Tour

Rain forests, volcanoes, oceans, or ancient ruins: you decide!  There are all kinds of fun places around the world to take a tour, so why not let others help you out by paying for your tour costs?


This is about as close as you can be to becoming a bird.  It may be scary at first, but it will be a memory to last you a lifetime.

Romantic Dinner

Show your love to your significant other by going to a fancy restaurant and enjoying each other’s company.  This is the gift that not only satisfies the belly, but the heart as well.

National Park Admission

Be awed by the wonders of the natural world around you.  Whether you hike out on your own, or just pop in for a day trip, your visit to any national park is likely to be something that you won’t forget.

Concert Tickets

Going to see your favorite artist live is an experience that will be in your memory for a long time.  Let others help you get in and maybe even gift you the backstage pass!

Farm Share

If want to buy local and buy healthy food, buying into a farm share program is the way to go.  You’ll be thanking the gift recipient every time a new box of fruits and veggies shows up on your doorstep. 

Amusement Park Entrance

It’s hard to resist the fun of an amusement park, with roller coasters, games, and shows.  I know I can’t.   The child-like joy of going to an amusement park just can’t be beat.

Bus Pass

You’ve got to get from here to there and back again every day and that adds up.  Have your family and friends support your eco-friendly choice for commuting.

Race Entrance Fee

One of the most rewarding feelings in life comes when you’ve trained and finished a long race.  Get that extra vote of support from the people you know to accomplish your dream.


Bike Repair Class

Riding your bike is not only great exercise, but a great way to travel in an earth-conscience way.  But, you’d like to be able to change a flat tire in the case that you might get one in the middle of nowhere.  Fortunately, there are classes and people to help you do just that.

Gym Membership

It’s no secret that exercise makes you physically fit as well as mentally sharp.  When you get the gift of a gym membership, this is truly the gift that keeps on giving: you can feel good and look good in a healthy way.

College Fund

College is expensive.  Outrageously expensive, in fact.  Let others help you offset the cost of your or your child’s education to help make sure you are not too much in debt by the time you get out.

Money for Crazy Adventures

Drive across Mongolia in an old beater of a car.  Make your way from the Coast to the Himalayas in India with an auto-rickshaw.  Or explore South America with the help of a three-wheeled taxi.  With these guys, you can do just that.  You just need the money for the entrance fee.

Bill Payment

It’s not glamorous, but it’s entirely necessary if you want to keep the water flowing and the electricity surging.  You’ll thank the gifters every time you turn on your lights with this gift.


Sky Diving

Nothing says fun like jumping out of a perfectly good airplane at over 10,000 feet.  It’s surely going to be an unforgettable adventure.

SCUBA certification

Get closer to the nature under the sea with a lifetime SCUBA certification.  They can be quite expensive, but with the help of the people you know, it can put this dream into reach.

Yoga classes

Exercise your mind, body, and soul with the gift of yoga classes.  Feel the stress of the day melt away as you and your other yoga classmates chant “Om” in unison.

Down payment for a house

Home is where the heart is, but you need a little help getting there.  What an amazing way for friends to support your dreams by helping you out with a down payment for a house.  They probably can’t help you out with the whole thing, but every little bit helps.

Ski lift tickets

It’s getting cold outside which means that somewhere, it’s snowing.  And where there’s snow, there’s skiing.  Let others support your downhill addiction with the gift of ski lift tickets.


Photography Class

You have the vision and the creativity to be an excellent photographer, but you don’t know what all those buttons on your camera do.  Taking a photography class will open you up to a whole new perspective in life.

Mountain biking lessons

Barreling downhill on two wheels is probably not a good idea without a little instruction.  With mountain biking lessons, you’ll be assured that you will arrive at the bottom of the mountain in one piece.

Vacation Apartment Rental

When you’re traveling, hotels are great, but sometimes you like to be somewhere that has a feeling of home.  With a vacation rental, you can experience the local culture while living in a home away from home.

Surfing Lessons

From personal experience, I can tell you that trying to learn to surf on your own is not a good idea, unless you like spending a lot of time under water.  Let an expert teach you and you’ll be feeling the rush of riding a wave in no time.

Home Improvements

There’s almost always something that needs to be done to your house to make it better and considering you are there a lot, it’s important to keep it up. 


Museum/Zoo Membership

For you or your kids, a museum or zoo membership can be a rewarding and educational experience.  Expand your mind and get this gift that will be good for the whole year.

Doctor Visits

Going to the doctor costs money, which is why you haven’t had a check up in a while.  Let friends give you the extra nudge by chipping in with those doctor bills.

Historical Site Entrance Fee

If you want to go to Angkor Wat or Machu Picchu, it’s going to cost you money just to get in, but the pictures and experiences that you will come out with are priceless.  Let others give you that priceless gift and share your experience with them when you get back.


Inspired for Great Gifts?

When you think about gifts this year for the holiday, don’t forget to think about things you can get outside of the box.  Create memories, make dreams come true, and make this holiday season one where you get and give gifts that really count!

Try out our gift list creator, and share your meaningful gifts.  What would be on your list?

Photos:field, massage, concert, bike, skydiving, camera, museum.

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