Ahhh, memories… tastes, smells, sounds, sights, feelings of excitement and fuzziness, of bitter cold and warm breezes… laughter and too much wine. The holidays get us thinking about the years end and new beginnings and the people we care about and the times we have shared. We think about the relationships that define us and then we struggle with what in the world to get those people because they are so hard so shop for, and they have everything already, or they move all the time, or they live in a tent, or have kittens and children that can’t be around fragile and meaningful things… But wait! Think about what has really mattered between you and them. Tangible items or experiences? Do they keep chattering away about one thing or another that they have always wanted to try? Do they really have room for more stuff? Make memories, not garbage and give something they will remember forever and that won’t rust or go out of style.
Here are some local experience based gift ideas:
- Make memories by making time for the people you care about doing activities that you can enjoy together. Anything from a weekend excursion, to skydiving, to an afternoon winetasting or picnicking can be great gifts that really show care and thoughtfulness.
- If you know someone who has always wanted to be a painter or make pottery but has never gotten around to it, or someone who is just dying to learn Italian or make their thumb a little greener, providing them with the opportunity to take those classes could be the perfect gift. Maybe your brother has always wanted to tango but never had the guts to sign up. Sometimes a little push in the direction of a dream is all it takes to change a life. Give the gift of learning or making at DIYCave or Community College Continuing Education Classes
- With the Cascades at our doorstep, snow sports are a tempting but pricey activity, but a great way to enjoy the winter weather and not woe in it. Shower your loved ones with powder and they will be sure to shower you with thanks. Get to know the snow at Mt. Bachelor or Mt. Hood, and rentals to try out cross country skiing or snowshoeing fare better on the wallet too.
- Cooking should be fun and not a chore. If you have to eat, you might as well enjoy it. Bend is full of foodies and there are several ways to learn to make cooking fun. Cooking classes are the gift that keeps on giving. Encourage your friends and family to cook for you with local culinary instructorship. Who do you know that is itchin’ to get in the kitchen? Chef out Ginger’s Kitchenware and The Well Traveled Fork for classes and events.
- We live in a beautiful natural environment, and it’s only natural to want to be outside in it. Kids and adults can experience nature like never before at the Sunriver Nature Center & Observatory. They offer classes on everything from local animals to rocket science and astronomy. Your loved ones can learn about owls, wolves, reptiles and stick around at night to view the glittering night sky. Nature is the best toy for girl or boy, and owl bet your kids would love it!
- The Bend Science Station offers loads of fun experiences for kids to explore how things work and get excited about science. Your kids can expand their mind and have a good time conducting their own experiments, using traditional toys in scientific ways and going on adventures in and out of the classroom.
- Do you know anyone that bends over backwards for yoga? Offer to cover a membership or give some introductory classes. Central Oregon is loaded with Yoga studios. Ask questions to find out which studio they go to or help them get the yoga ball rolling if they haven’t found one yet. We like The Yoga Lab & Juniper Swim & Fitness.
- Sometimes it’s hard to relax, and even harder to justify pampering ourselves. A visit to a spa or a massage therapist will almost certainly never be forgotten as they forget everything else while finally having a chance to kick their feet up and get a rub down.
- Experience based gifts don’t have to cost money. If you are on a budget there are many other ways to offer your own talents and services. Babysitting, cleaning and organizing, picnics and self-catered evenings are all examples of things you can do to help. Everyone has a talent that can be shared, what’s yours?