Many studies have shown that experiences can make us happier for longer than material items, as we feel joy before, during, and long after the event takes place.
And with the COVID-19 pandemic still lingering, these virtual experiences were purposely chosen to be enjoyed at home. We’ve curated a list of exceptional experiential gifts for this holiday season that includes something for everyone, from the wine connoisseur to the art lover and the lifelong learner.
1. A MasterClass membership
MasterClass offers courses in thought-provoking and popular areas, from screenwriting to negotiation, taught by masters in their field: Gordon Ramsey serves up cooking advice. Malcolm Gladwell offers writing tips. Anna Wintour teaches creativity and leadership. The list goes on and on. With this gift, subscribers can dive deeper into a skill they already know or pick up something new that they’d never considered (wilderness survival, anyone?). $180 for a one-year subscription, masterclass.com
2. Cooking classes
Give the gift of fun and experimentation in the kitchen as well as instruction from top-tier chefs with cooking classes like the ones from Sur la Table. Plus, Sur la Table’s live Zoom classes are fully interactive, with 90- to 120-minute classes during which participants can ask questions as they follow along step by step. Fresh pasta, classic cocktails, and much more are on the menu—all from the comfort of your kitchen. Starting at $29 per class plus cost of ingredients, surlatable.com
3. A virtual wine tasting
For the oenophiles on your list, Wine.com offers live virtual tastings—from the acidic tastes of Germany to the bold flavors of Argentina—hosted by winemakers, wine critics, and other experts spanning the globe. There is no cost to join the tastings, but for a more interactive experience you can buy the bottles that will be discussed in the class beforehand—with prices ranging from around $10 to $60 directly from Wine.com.
4. An art subscription
A truly unique gift for the passionate art lover, Saatchi online art gallery offers an art subscription. First, the gift recipient collaborates with an expert art curator to identify their tastes, preferences, and styles. Then they select original pieces, which they will receive monthly over the course of a year, from a curated collection to hang in their home. This gift is an experience the recipient can feel, see, and appreciate every day. Starting at $30,000, saatchiart.com
5. A digital fitness subscription
If someone on your list would like to focus on their well-being in the new year, an online fitness program may be just the motivation they need. Much more than just spinning, a Peloton digital subscription provides access to thousands of classes, from yoga to strength training and outdoor running, all taught by its world-class, famously positive instructors. You can stack classes into themed workouts according to difficulty level, instructor, or even your favorite music. $12.99 per month plus tax, onepeloton.com
6. A Rosetta Stone lifetime membership
Give the gift of 25 languages, from Greek to Hindi, with a lifetime Rosetta Stone membership. Members can learn any (or all) of the languages in the Rosetta Stone program at their own pace. It’s the perfect present to give in anticipation of (or in addition to) a trip to Istanbul, Paris, or Stockholm. And it’s not only a gift of language, but also of confidence and connection. $299 for lifetime membership, rosettastone.com