Do you ever have trouble figuring out what to buy for the people on your Christmas list? (Raises hand.)
Do you say things like “what do you get for the person who has everything?” or, “so-and-so is so hard to buy for?” (Raises hand again.)
I have so much stuff.
So. Much. Stuff.
I dread Christmas. Not that I don’t love Christmas. I love the lights, the decorations, the cookies, the singing and the general feeling of goodwill. I just hate the idea of getting more stuff and adding to the clutter and stuff I need to dust (I hate to dust.)
I love that experiential gifts are a thing now. I love the idea of giving someone a memory so much more than I like giving them things. After an overly commercial, expensive Christmas last year, I made the commitment to myself to give my family experiences instead of giving them things that they’d break, outgrow or grow tired of. I don’t mind spending money on a nice gift (although I do love me a good deal) but I’d rather put my pennies toward making memories and giving memories.
I’ve put together this list of ideas for experiential gifts in San Antonio. This is by no means all-inclusive. There are 10 items on this list and it would probably be easy to come up with 100 or even more. If you’re stuck for gift ideas, sit down and brainstorm about things your giftee likes to do or wants to do. What have they always wanted to do that they might not be willing to shell out cash for? Some of the best gifts I've gotten have been experiences: theater tickets to shows I probably wouldn't have splurged on, theme park season passes and tickets to Disney on Ice (that was a good one!)
If you don’t live in San Antonio, this list will still give you some good ideas. I’ve listed venues specific to the Alamo City (along with links) but most of these things probably have a parallel in your city.
Theater tickets make great gifts. We love going to the shows at The Majestic but good seats can be a little pricey. If you’re looking to give a really nice gift and you’re stuck for ideas, check the box office and see if any upcoming shows appeal.
If you want to kick things up a notch, include a restaurant gift card and voila – you’ve given someone a really amazing night out.
For children, check out the Magik Children’s Theatre. The Magik brings children’s books alive on the stage. They also offer sensory friendly performances and “theatre for the very young” which is geared toward children under five. Single show and season tickets available.
- School of Rock
School of Rock San Antonio is for aspiring musicians who love rock n’ roll. School of Rock has programs for adults and kids of all ages so if you know someone who is looking to tap into the potential of their passion for music, maybe the best gift is making it possible for them to receive lessons.
- Love to Swim and Tumble
Love to Swim and Tumble has three locations in San Antonio. They offer indoor swim classes for all ages – from infants to adults. They have open swim, birthday parties, summer camps and various tumble programs designed to build self-esteem and improve coordination. Love to Swim and Tumble offers online registration, military discounts and an onsite shop.
Everyone should learn to swim. My kids have been to camp at Love to Swim and Tumble and they do great with timid swimmers.
- Sea World
If you’d like to gift a day pass or season pass to SeaWorld San Antonio, you can check out the different ticket options HERE.
For the ultimate experiential gift, give the marine mammal lover in your life with an encounter at Discovery Point.
You can have an incredible up close and personal encounter with a dolphin, Beluga whale or sea lion and you’ll come away with a deeper understanding for these awesome marine mammals. See also, you’ll be telling everyone you meet for the next several weeks that your Discovery Point Adventure was “pretty freaking amazing.”
I got in the water with Cisco, a 9-year-old Bottle-nosed Dolphin this past weekend. Typical 9-year-old. He had to be asked to do stuff twice and I’m pretty sure he rolled his eyes at me. We still had fun.
I got to spend 30 minutes in the water with Cisco and his amazing trainers. I got to pet him, feed him, kiss him and in return for all this attention, Cisco let me hitch a ride on his back.
Yep. Pretty freaking amazing.
I would do it again tomorrow if I could. I’m so grateful for SeaWorld Texas for including me as part of their media day. Also? This whole wetsuit thing? Holy cow, y’all. I managed to get in and out of this thing without assistance or injury but I SERIOUSLY DON’T KNOW HOW. There should be a prize for that – I'm thinking I should at least get cookies!
- Six Flags
Six Flags Fiesta Texas is AWESOME. They have new thrill rides in 2017 and their waterpark is first rate. They are open spring/summer and during Halloween and Christmas for Fright Fest and Holiday in the Park, respectively. 2017 will bring a Mardi Gras celebration for the very first time.
You can buy day passes, season passes or memberships.
- San Antonio Zoo
The San Antonio Zoo is open all year around. They have special events during Halloween and Christmas – aptly named Zoo Boo and Zoo Lights. With the relatively mild temps in San Antonio, the “colder” months are ideal for a visit to the Zoo. You can gift a day pass (great stocking stuffer) or purchase a membership.
My favorite San Antonio museum hands down is The Witte Museum. The Witte features scientific and historical visits for the whole family to enjoy. You can check out their website for current exhibits and activities. Memberships are available.
The Doseum is an interactive children’s museum. It has a ton of cool exhibits to stimulate interest in STEM as well as an outdoor play area and water play area. This is also a great place to have a kid’s birthday party. You can find out about what’s on at the Doseum HERE.
- Movie Tickets
Movie tickets make a great gift! Most theaters sell gift cards or movie passes for gift giving. You can also check out Fandago.com for gift-giving options. And, I’d be totally remiss if I didn’t mention the IMAX Theater and Rivercenter Mall. If you haven’t seen Alamo – The Price of Freedom are you really even a San Antonian?
If your experiential gift isn't kid-friendly, consider adding on babysitting or providing some babysitting as a gift on it's own. We use Time Out Sitters. They’ve been our go-to babysitting service for about a year and we can’t recommend them enough. Also, Angela D. is MINE and if you try to sitter swipe her from me, we’re going to have a small problem. But, if you’re in the San Antonio area and are looking to get out without your kids, these gals are THE BEST. An evening of babysitting would make an awesome experiential gift.
I hope this has given you some great ideas for experiential gifts. If you have a “gift ideas” or a “travel ideas” Pinterest board, please pin this.
If you’re not in my neck of the woods, I bet you can find things in your area that are along these lines. Also, come and visit me!
Thank you for reading!
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