Experience The Holidays | Gift Ideas That Aren’t Wrapped

Being a geriatric millennial, I can both appreciate knobs/buttons on appliances and a good meme. I noticed one today that has now sealed my plans for this holiday season- side by side pictures of a full, floating cargo ship and the Grinch. Above the Grinch was the famous Dr. Seuss quote, “Maybe Christmas doesn’t come from a store. Maybe Christmas perhaps means a little bit more.”

For years I’ve considered giving only experiences for Christmas and I think it’s finally time to make the leap. There are hundreds of holidays between November to January, many of which involve gift exchanges. Keeping it local, festive, or as far away as you can get, makes it fun and new for both adults and kids. Here are a few gift ideas and festive activities…

NutcrackerMadison Ballet’s The Nutcracker runs from December 17-26. 

Moonlit hike– Check out this Madison Mom post about local parks. Most Wisconsin State and Dane County parks don’t close until 10-11pm.  

Date Night | Food Edition– There are so many great restaurants in the Madison area, but the Harvey House is a new favorite!

Snowshoeing– Check out all the great Madison area parks. Some parks rent, but otherwise look at the Memorial Union or REI

Children’s Museum membership– The new Wonderground outdoor exhibit opened in October. Give it a try!

Girls Night Out– Craft and wine at a few local favorites: Wine + Design, Revel, and Board and Brush.

Monthly box subscriptions for kids– There are ample choices out there that include STEM, cooking, solving mysteries, exploring different careers, book clubs, art, and on and on…

Zoo Lights– Stroll the lights from November 26- December 30. Check out this Madison Mom post with all the details.

Classes & Activities– Think ahead to what your kids might want to do in late winter or early spring and give them the activity as a gift. Horseback riding, ballet classes, ice skating, art classes, or any sport/event that interests them. There are local ‘learn to’ classes for adults too- rowing, skiing, new runner clubs. 

Gym membership or fitness app subscription– There are tons of local gyms that fit all budget ranges and quite a few new apps out there with the latest workout fads all from the comfort of your home. 

Vacation– Surprise your family with a trip to a new spot. Get books or supplies that you’ll need for the trip so they can be a part of the planning. 

Date Night | Activity Addition– Go skiing, rock climbing, dancing, to a game, cooking class, or start up a new hobby together. 

The possibilities to give fun experiences as presents or share in the festivities are endless. Happy Holidays!

Lyndsey Battaglia
Lyndsey was born and raised in New Orleans which instilled a deep passion for architecture, history, and FOOD. She and her husband James are proud graduates of UW-Madison. Go Badgers! They live in the Madison area with their 3 active children. Lyndsey is a freelance writer and Pediatric Nurse Practitioner. When not working, she can be found running her kids around to swimming, ballet, basketball, and skiing. They all love new adventures, travel, cooking, being outdoors, reading, biking, and trying to keep up with their new puppy.


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