Giving away experiences

It is easy to go overboard with Christmas gifts, but perhaps the best gifts cannot be unwrapped.

The perfect gift – the one that gives both the giver and recipient the most pleasure – may be something to see, do, and enjoy rather than something to hold, touch, or carry.

Experiences make us happier than material objects, according to a study by researchers at Cornell University. The happiness we feel when we receive a material purchase is fleeting and fades as we get used to it. On the other hand, adventurous gifts – museum membership, concert tickets, cinema ticket packages, outdoor adventures – can be more emotionally rewarding and enriching.

After months of imprisonment and a flood of changed or canceled events, the desire for adventure, knowledge and connection – to music, sports, food, nature and more – is palpable. Additionally, the excitement and anticipation of an event or activity add to the experience, and the happy memories that follow can last a lifetime.

Aside from sentimentality and longevity, adventure gifts demonstrate originality, are easier to deliver (without packaging) and are worthwhile for both giver and recipient. They’re also a great option for the always overwhelmed gift giver. There are even websites to help you buy unique adventure gifts across the country and around the world, from golf trips and city tours to African safaris and laps on a NASCAR track. Xperiencedays.com, ExperienceGifts.com, and Goldenmoments.com are just a few.

If you can’t afford to jump in for some extravagant adventure, don’t worry. There are many options, including many on-site, to suit almost any budget. So if you’re at a loss and looking for something that is more sentimental, won’t be brushed aside, and will work better, here are over a dozen ideas:

  1. If you’ve got a performing arts lover on your list, the Saratoga Performing Arts Center sells a classic turf season pass that includes entry to all 2022 performances by the New York City Ballet and Philadelphia Orchestra for $ 200 or $ 11 Includes dollars per performance. The pass also includes the ability to upgrade five lawn tickets to amphitheater seats for just $ 5 each.

  2. Movie fans will love the Regal Unlimited Movie Subscription Pass. For just $ 18 a month, pass holders can watch as many movies as they want and enjoy additional discounts and benefits year round. Landmark’s Spectrum 8 Theaters in Albany has movie aficionado ticket books with 25 movie tickets for $ 225.
  3. For nature lovers, the New York Empire Pass is a great option. The pass is available for $ 80 and provides unlimited daytime access to most state parks and Department of Environmental Conservation facilities. Pass holders receive a wallet-sized card that can be shared within a household. The card can be used by parents, grandparents, caregivers and others so that you can share the cost.

  1. If you’ve got a baseball lover on your list, membership of the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in nearby Cooperstown can be a home run. Individual membership options start at $ 50 and family memberships start at just $ 80. Free full year of Hall of Fame entry, memorabilia, a personalized membership card, subscription to Memories and Dreams magazine, and more.

  1. For skiers there is the Ski 3 Frequent Skier Card, which offers considerable discounts on day tickets in the Gore, Whiteface and Belleayre mountains as well as a free lift ticket. Prices start at $ 80. In addition to gift cards, West Mountain in Queensbury offers educational programs, six-pack booklets and camps for children.

  2. Wine connoisseurs looking for culinary delights can enjoy a wine tasting. On-site, Saratoga Winery & Tasting Room, Altamont Vineyard & Winery, and Adirondack Winery in Lake George are among those offering tasting menus and experiences. You can also consider a wine tour in the hinterland. There are several tour groups that offer tours to dozens of vineyards in the Hudson Valley area. There are also a variety of brewery and distillery tours in the capital region and beyond.

  3. Most museums, including the Albany Institute of History & Art, The Children’s Museum at Saratoga, The Children’s Museum of Science and Technology, The Hyde Collection, and The World Awareness Children’s Museum, offer membership packages for individuals and families.

  4. Located in Tupper Lake, the Wild Center is a 115-acre natural history center with indoor and outdoor exhibits. For $ 95, you can give away a Wild Center family membership. The pass entitles you to two adults and related children and grandchildren for one year. Members also get discounts at the Waterside Cafe and Wild Supply Co. Store, entry to special events, and more.

  5. There are several local food tours and culinary adventures for restaurateurs and casual restaurateurs. Taste of Troy Food Tours runs guided food walking tours to various locations in Troy and Albany during the warmer months. Saratoga Springs Food Tours offers guests a glimpse into the food, history, architecture and culture on Saturdays from May to October.

  6. Lifelong learners or those looking to embark on a new knowledge adventure are welcome to take a class to play a musical instrument, paint, cook like a foodie, or learn a range of new skills. There are several options on site to learn how to cook or improve your culinary skills. Visit the Albany Cooking School at Different Drummer’s Kitchen Co. in Albany or the Gio Culinary Studio in Voorheesville. For fine arts, visit the capital region’s art center. The Academy for Lifelong Learning at SUNY Empire State College, your local school district, and BOCES in the capital region can also offer adult education courses in a variety of fields of study and interests.

  7. Six Flags Great Escape at Lake George offers a variety of membership and season pass options that are easily gifted and can be used not just on-site but at theme parks across the country. A little further afield, the Legoland Resort in Orange County has day pass and season pass vacation deals.

  8. Giving away can also be as simple as giving away a gift card. There are many entertainment options in the area that offer gift cards. Check out the Funny Bone Comedy Club, Proctors, 5 Wits and All In Adventures Escape Room, and the Sky Zone Trampoline Park.

About Stephanie McGehee

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