Selecting An Experience-Based Gift For The Holidays

The holidays are an exciting time; they signal family, togetherness and cheer. While we find joy in preparing for the holidays and picking out presents for our partner, this can also create a great deal of stress.

Selecting the “perfect gift” can be a challenge, because after celebrating a few occasions with our partner, we may not know what else to get him/her. If we already covered all of the standard classics such as clothing, jewelry and perfume/cologne, what else is left?
A great deal of importance is placed on the gifts we give our partners, therefore, we want it to be meaningful and an accurate representation of how we feel about our loved one. It’s not what we give, but what it means that matters.

Rather than stress, I suggest you choose an experience this holiday season. Choosing an experience allows you and your partner to spend quality time with one another, as well as build memories to last for a lifetime. Below are some suggestions for experienced-based gifts perfect for your holiday celebrations.

Take a cooking class

If your partner has a favorite cuisine, select a cooking class focused on that food. The class will allow you to spend time together, learn a new skill, and take home some (hopefully) delicious food. You will also be able to recreate the menu items together in the future.

Plan a weekend trip

Spend a weekend away from the stresses of your everyday lives, focusing only on each other. Look for weekend getaways within 1-2 hours of where you live, so you can zip off after work and enjoy your adventure together. Consider picking a location that allows you to enjoy fun seasonal activities. For the holiday season, you may want to spend a weekend skiing, ice skating, or just sipping hot chocolate by the fire. Also, take some time to think about what types of activities your partner enjoys. If he/she doesn’t enjoy the great outdoors, a weekend snowshoeing may not be best.

Take lessons

This heading is intentionally vague, because you have to select something that would be meaningful to your partner. Is there a sport that your partner particularly enjoys? Perhaps getting him/her a lesson with a pro (e.g. golf lessons), may help him/her fine-tune his/her game. Is there a sport that your partner has always wanted to learn? Now may be the time. Buy yourself lessons too, as learning a new sport/skill together can help strengthen your bond.

Food/Drink related event

Are the two of you wine connoisseurs or mac and cheese aficionados? If so, look up any food related events, festivals, tastings in your area. These are often seasonal, so set a reminder if you already missed the event so you can catch it the next time around.

Pick an experience that is meaningful to your partner and use it as a way to create new memories together. Happy shopping and happy holidays!

Marisa T. Cohen, PhD is a psychology professor, relationship researcher, and relationship coach. Learn more about Marisa at

Marisa T Cohen
Marisa T. Cohen, PhD, is a psychology professor, relationship researcher and relationship coach. Learn more about Marisa at

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