Every year when Christmas rolls around, it becomes pretty apparent that everyone has their thing. To Santa or not to Santa? Three gifts or Four…or Seventy? Want, need, wear…what was that other one?
Whether you approach Christmas makin’ the dolla dolla bills rain at Toys R Us like you’re in a music video from an early 2000’s rap song or you strategically pick and choose three and only three gifts and two of them are homemade and the other one is a goat from Heifer International, I think we can all agree that gifting experiences is worth every single penny.
So, I’ve compiled a list for you guys. Because I love you. And I love seeing folks adventure and make memories and cultivate experiences with their families. And also, Jesus is the rizzle for the sizzle.
Whether you’re looking for the perfect gift for your bestie, a spouse, or your kiddos…and whether you have a gifting budget of $25 or your bank account rivals that of Bill Gates, this carefully curated list of the absolute best experiences to gift on a budget should get those creative wheels spinning in that brain of yours.
Pottery-painting. You can make this activity as inexpensive or as expensive as you would like. If you’re not planning on joining the gift recipient, a gift card is probably your best bet. That way, they can choose their own piece and go sip on coffee and paint to their heart’s content. If you’re planning on joining them to make it a full experience, you’ll have a room full of items to choose from to fit any budget! If you’re local to the Clarkesville area, Splashe PYOP is the perfect spot!
A wreath-making class. We have a local florist here in Clarkesville who is incredibly sweet and crafty and she hosts super fun wreath-making classes. Groups of gals get together and stop by her shop, chat it up, get crafty, and leave with a super cute wreath for their doors. Dale’s classes are typically in the $35 range, all materials included.
An art class. If you have an art lover in your life, this one is a no brainer. No matter where you live, I’m sure you’ve got a nifty studio nearby or some sort of super crafty art store where creative folks will teach you things. Luckily for Clarkesville-onians (can that be a word now?), we have The Arftull Barn. They host classes and sessions and have a huge story full of toys and comic books and every art supply you could ever in your life need. They are amazing.
Manis/Pedis. The gift of relaxation. The gift of joy. The gift that is less than a mile from my house. But, seriously. Pamper the ones you love. And even if you can’t join them on this excursion, I promise they’ll still feel loved. Trust me on this.
A show at a local theatre. If you like to support local business and talent and art, then consider a show at your local theatre. And if your budget allows, you may even want to splurge on some season tickets to make it the gift that keeps on giving.
A ride on the Polar Express. If you have small children, go on and cash in on this one while things are still super magical. I mean, not that things won’t always be magical, but you know what I mean. They’re little and normal things seem so much bigger and imaginations run wild and Santa is king. The closest train station to our little mountain town is in Bryson City, but I’m confident that with a simple Google search, you can find something close to you.
A football/basketball/some kind of sports game. I’m not going to pretend to be a sports professional here, but I do know that no matter what team you’re rooting for or what sport you like, you can find tickets in a pretty wide range of budgets, depending on where you’re willing to sit.
A broadway-ish show. If you want to take things up a notch from the community theatre, a show at the Peace Center or The Fox in ATL or your area’s equivalent might be more your speed. We just saw School of Rock at the Peace Center in Greenville (as an early Christmas gift for our kiddos) and both of them were amazed and enthralled and entertained. We laughed and sang and have talked about it almost every day since.
An afternoon at Babyland General. Don’t even act like you don’t know why this is in the $50-$100 price range. I know it’s free to get in Babyland and walk around and look. But, if you’re walking in there with a six year old girl, it’s gonna cost you to get out. If you’re going for the full experience, stay for a while, watch a super
creepy entertaining babydoll birth, take it all in, and let your little one pick out a baby(doll) to adopt.
A zip-line adventure day. If you don’t live in North Georgia or somewhere in Costa Rica, I’m not sure if this is a thing. All I know is that we’re hashtag blessed to have Nacoochee Adventures up in our neck of the woods. You can book a zipline tour, rent ATVs, and even camp in a pretty legit treehouse. Now, it’s December, so expect to be chilly, but if you’re the type of person who’s in the polar bear club, you’ll be just fine.
Yoga class/membership. I mean, a gift card that covered my yoga classes for a month isn’t something I’d complain about. Also, I know a gal or two who could hook you up. They’re a couple of crazies. Rare birds, if you will. But, they know their way around a mat. If you’re not within driving distance of Rare Bird Studio, download the MINDBODY app to explore and find a yoga/fitness studio in your area!
A zoo/aquarium/amusement park membership (or one day pass). Depending on where you’re planning on purchasing a membership to, it may make sense to go on and go all in and purchase a long-term membership/pass for an entire year. Last year, we got our kiddos passes to Six Flags. And with their pass prices, if you’re planning on going at least twice, it just makes sense. We’ve also gone the zoo route, as well as a semi-local museum. And currently, my fam has just been gifted a combo aquarium/zoo pass that we’ll be using a lot this coming spring. Get creative! There are so many options!
A weekend camping trip to the coast (where it’s warm and you can actually comfortably camp). Y’all, I don’t like cold weather, so I’m not even going to pretend that I want to go outside and sleep in a tent right now. But, if you promise to take me somewhere warm and breezy, I’ll toss my tent and sleeping bag in the trunk with a quickness. Sunny Florida is full of state parks and reserves and beautiful coastal camping. Take your pick, find somewhere new, and pack up for a memorable weekend away!
Music lessons or dance classes (long-term). Around these here parts, music lessons and dance classes can run around $50 (give or take a little) a month. So, for months, someone you love will be able to express themselves creatively. They’ll be able to learn and grow and they’ll be thinking of you all along the way. If you’re local to North Georgia like yours truly, Clarkesville School of Dance is our jam.
A full-on vacation (cruise, skiing, Disney, beach house, etc.). You can keep this as budget-friendly or as extravagant as you like. But, the sky is the limit. Over the past couple of years, we’ve gifted Disney and a family cruise. This year, we’re taking a bit of a different approach and going on a short trip without the kids, then all four of us are going on a mission trip together. Use this holiday time as a chance to escape and make some lasting memories with your family.
Whoever you are, whatever you do, let this life you live be one that’s intentional. One that is lived well. One that isn’t known by the number of dollars in your pocket, but by the amount of love in your heart. This life doesn’t have to be fancy, it just has to be memorable.