Experience Gifts 411

July 27, 2012    |    By +
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Does Giving an Experience Gift Make a Lasting Impression?

“Experience Gifts” are extremely popular gift ideas on Gifts.com. To give us the scoop on what an “experience gift” actually is, we recently chatted with Ashley McCredie from Cloud 9 Living.

Ashley is the online content coordinator for Cloud 9 Living, an “experience gifts” company based in Boulder, CO. She helps with Cloud 9’s online marketing, blogging, social media and writing “experience gift” product descriptions. Some of her favorite experiences are scuba diving and snowboarding, and she hopes to skydive some day! Here’s what she shared with us:

Q: What exactly is an experience gift?

An experience gift can be anything from skydiving and flying a plane to taking a food tour or glassblowing lessons. Rather than a material gift, it is intangible but the memories and new skills or lessons last a lifetime.

Q: So experience gifts by definition are unique…in your opinion, why are experience gifts so special?

These gifts cater to the gift recipient’s personality. Experience gifts also prove that the gift giver put some time and thought into them. For example, your friend who loves the outdoors will be ecstatic to receive a rock climbing experience gift. And many times the gift involves an activity the recipient has never participated in, which alone makes them unique.

Q: What kind of experiences can one give as a gift?

At Cloud 9 Living, we offer more than 1,700 experience gifts. For the romantic, hot air balloon rides or a gondola cruise for two. For the water-lover; whitewater rafting, sailing or surf lessons. For the daredevil; bungee jumping, fighter pilot for a day or off roading in a 4×4. For the foodie; a personal chef, dinner cruise or a food truck tour. For the person who has done it all; drive a stock car or phone in astrology reading. The list is endless, and many ‘experience gift’ websites have experiences grouped into categories by type.

Q: What are a few of the most popular types of experience gifts?

Some of our top sellers are race car driving, dinner and lunch cruises, “fighter pilot for a day”, food tours, golf lessons, and learn to fly a helicopter or plane lessons. We offer one of these in most if not all of our 43 regions and always receive amazing responses!

Q: I’d imagine you get some great feedback from experience gift recipients. Does feedback from the experiences have a common theme(s)?

If we had a penny for every time “best gift ever” or “I got to cross another item off the bucket list” was said… But, seriously, the feedback is our favorite part and what keeps us going from day to day. We created a “Customer Wall of Fame” to highlight some of our favorite responses. From stories of a son taking his dad’s ashes on a ride in a stock car (Dad was a NASCAR fan) to a daughter getting the surprise of a lifetime with hang gliding lessons, our customers have kind words and great memories to share with us.

Q: What are some very unique experience gift ideas?

Two of the most elaborate experiences we have are 1) Dinner in the Sky, which raises you and your friends 180 feet in the air for a sit down dinner and 2) DaVinci’s Gold Scavenger Hunt, which sends participants on a hunt throughout a city using clues and actors along the way—think Nicolas Cage in “National Treasure.” Some more unique ‘experience gifts’ include snowkiting (a new extreme sport modeled off kiteboarding) or diving with sharks. A few very exciting experience gifts are a stunts and special effects workshop, DJ lessons and beekeeping class!

Q: Are experience gifts for everyone? Can you do them as groups or a couple?

Experience gifts are for everyone… except maybe infants. Although some require a certain age or a weight limit, there is always an experience to be found for all types of potential gift recipients. One specialty is gifts specifically targeted toward couples like hot air balloon rides, lunch and dinner cruises, scenic cruises, couples massages, scuba diving lessons for two, sushi making class for two and more. There are many experiences that are geared towards families as well.

Q: What would be an ultimate experience gift that currently is NOT offered but would be really cool to do/see/experience?

We have found a way to offer almost everything we’ve wanted to thus far, and when something else comes along, we will go after that too! A few things we would like to offer people, but cannot for various reasons, are Navy Seal training sessions, drive an Army tank, drive a submarine and skydive from space (just like the Red Bull skydiver). But our current experience gifts catalog spans across the range of experiences pretty well!


The availability of types of experiences varies from region to region. Explore our Experience Gift map to see what types of experiences are available and where they are located!


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Meet the Gurus

Kathryn D.W.
Kathryn Drury Wagner is the senior manager of content at Gifts.com. She was formerly the executive editor at Honolulu Magazine, and is the author of The Ultimate Guide to Shopping on Oahu. Her career has included staff positions at Country Living Gardener and Power & Motoryacht. Her latest book is "Hawaii's Strangest, Ickiest, Wildest Book Ever!"

Gwen P.
Gwen is the Editorial Curator at Gifts.com. In addition to writing blogs, she creates gift guides, curates the site, and produces content for our social media channels. As a freelance writer, she created blogs on fashion, art, travel, health and lifestyle. A talented jewelry designer, she's also a yogi and a hospital volunteer with her therapy dog, Lilo, a Pomeranian.