The Foolproof Guide to Surprising Someone with the Gift of Experience

white balloon on a wood floor full of confetti
Whether it’s a gathering or getaway, use these tips to give them the gift of experience and pull off the perfect surprise.

Giving the gift of experience is one of the best ways to energize and inspire your loved ones. Concerts, talks, documentaries, exhibitions, and classes all make for meaningful gifts that leave an impact that lasts long after the event ends. But the gift of experience is not nearly as unexpected or exciting when your loved one sees it coming. Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered. Read on for our guide to finding the perfect experience for your next gift, and making sure it stays a secret!


Do your homework

Really think about your giftee. What are they passionate about? What music do they rave about? How do they spend their weekends? Even seemingly mundane details in your last conversation, such as a new cookbook they’re trying, can spark ideas for experience gifts. Don’t know your giftee intimately? Let us be the first to give you permission to spend too much time scrolling through their social media profiles for clues, or ask a mutual connection for tips.


Think outside the box

A pasta-making class that an Italian chef runs out of their kitchen, a craft brewery toura tarot card reading workshop—options for that one-of-a-kind experience are endless, and may seem overwhelming.   
But not to worry, you don’t need to have your finger on the pulse of what’s happening in your city to find a tailor-made, inspiring experienceConsider reaching out to local experts and creatives—such as photographers, cooksand bartenders—to see if they can offer a private lesson or tutorial. Even if they decline, they might be able to point you in the right direction.


Do some schedule scouting

The success of an experience gift hinges largely on whether they’ll even be available to enjoy it. Scheduling is where surprise experience gifts get tricky. You need to determine that your giftee is available at the required day and time, and that they won’t book plans that will interfere with yours. 
The easiest way of doing this is to simply invite them to do something ordinary and expected, like meeting up for a drink or coming over for dinner. If the gift is for someone you normally wouldn’t spend one-on-one time with, you’ll have to rely on a mutual friend to help create an opening in the giftee’s schedule.


Throw them off track

If you start to sense that they’re picking up on your plans, throw them off with a decoy gift or little white lie (“I was planning on taking you to that concert, but tickets were completely sold out!”). Just try to avoid a Chandler-and-Monica situation by leaning too heavily in the opposite direction—you know, when Chandler was planning a surprise proposal and pretended he was utterly anti-marriage to throw Monica off? Save the theatrics and keep it low-key!


Plan your big reveal

The best part of surprising someone with aexperience gift is revealing your plan. To make your recipient feel extra special, plan a gift reveal that goes beyond an envelope containing tickets. Hide those tickets in a balloon for them to pop. Create a scavenger hunt. Assemble a video or slideshow. However you give your gift, just make sure it feels momentous. 

Happy surprising! 

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