I’ve been ‘Zia Lizanne’ for seven years now and it’s been a fun experience being an aunt, watching my nieces and nephews hit all of their different milestones and starting school. It’s been interesting exploring the world of kids’ toys and gear as an adult, seeing how many different fads and cycles of tv shows and interests that can happen within a calendar year.

Striking a balance between wanting to be a cool aunt that’s environmentally conscious and not being a grinch that doesn’t allow presents has forced me to think a bit creatively. Last Christmas, I feel like I really hit the mark, I gave my Brisbane side of the family a ‘climbing lesson voucher’ that I made on some colourful paper. Essentially, my partner and I made a time in their kindy and school holidays to take them to our favourite rock-climbing gym and show them the ropes. They absolutely loved it and didn’t want to leave to go home! 

Giving the gift of an experience is a great option for other special occasions too, even for adults that seem to have everything that they need. It can be an opportunity to help someone connect with a past passion, expose them to something new and even build an activity that you can do together for years to come.

Day 14 is going to present a few different types of experience-based gifts through which you can connect with local businesses in Brisbane. This is by no-means an exhaustive summary of the options, just a few things that resonate with my own lifestyle and the types of activities that people in my life enjoy.

Experiences for Adults

1. Gardening and Plants

Jane Street Community Garden where I volunteer hosts regular workshops for different permaculture aspects, herbal remedies and crafts throughout the year via their Facebook Events page.

The last workshop that I went to at the gardens was by Iain from Mushroom Head. I’ve tried growing mushrooms from commercial kits and had limited success. Iain’s knowledge and passion for mycelium really shows, he talks through the history of mushrooms and takes you on a journey through the latest advances in our understanding about these incredible organisms. We learnt how to create our own mushroom growing kit with accessible, re-useable containers and a cold pasteurised approach for the growing substrate that’s super straightforward. It’s been three weeks from the workshop and my Pink Oyster Mushrooms are doing their first crop. I’m looking forward to eating them over the weekend!

In March 2020, there will be a Native Bee Workshop with Tim Heard from Sugarbag Bees. The Native Bee Workshops sell out so quickly at Jane Street! Be sure to get in quick if you’re interested.

In our Day 8 post on giving living gifts, both Mappins and All The Green Things had an extensive program of workshops related to plants that would also be great to check out!

Paint and sip!

Cork & Chroma is a great place to BYO, relax with some tunes and explore your inner painter! My best friend from high school Annie was visiting from Townsville and we decided to give it a try, with Plant on Pink! It was so much fun chatting and painting, it reminded me of visual art in school, where we’d have a great time hanging out. The instructor gave explanations behind the techniques that we needed to help develop the piece, guided us through each stage whilst giving everyone time to relax and have fun with it. I’d highly recommend sharing this experience with one of your closest friends!

Other creative pursuits:

Katie was telling me last week about one of her most memorable workshop experiences. She went to New Farm with a good friend Leela from uni and did a Mini-Loom Weaving Course that they found through the We Teach Me platform. They had a great night learning how to weave and creating their own individual pieces on small tapestry looms. Katie can look at the piece that she created and reminisce about the great time that they had together before Leela moved overseas.

Learning how to do a mini-loom piece – Leela’s beautiful creation!

If you interested in doing other styles of creative art, food and even indoor plant crafting options that you can try out or gift locally, check out sites like We Teach Me and Work-Shop.  

Travel, Accommodation and Restaurant Vouchers

Give a gift voucher they will use! Travel and accommodation can be a bit pricey for a lot of budgets. One of Katie’s tips that she had for a wedding present for friends was a Wotif voucher, that the couple could then later use to plan a trip away together.  

Find out more at:  https://www.wotif.com/lp/deals/voucher-terms-2019

In a similar vein, there are restaurants that participate with voucher programs like Gourmet Traveller’s Gift Card. These options are great for people that love cuisine and dining out, with the flexibility of being able to use the card over 3 years for 300+ participating restaurants.

Be sure to check out if your favourite dining venue is on the list: https://gourmettravellergiftcard.com.au/participatingrestaurants

Treasure Hunt and Calendar for the Kids

This coming year I want to make a more concerted effort to regularly see my nieces and nephews, as they’re growing up so quickly. To draw upon last year’s idea of sharing an activity with them that I like to do, my partner and I are coming up with a list of twelve different activities that we’re going to do with them that they can write on a wall calendar for each month and count down the days until we see them.

One of them in particular is taking the kids for a full day bush walk adventure, babysitting the rest of the evening and giving my sister and her husband the night off. For extra fun, we’re making the kids have to find their present with a bit of a treasure hunt in their backyard, where they’re going to need to do some sleuthing to find their gift this Christmas!

Nope, looking for something else…

Feeling pretty stumped as none of these options cover any of your crew or family? Red Balloon is a great website that you can have a look at for inspiration for all different kinds of hobbies and interests. They have a specially generated Christmas program that covers ages groups and interests available for the holiday season in 2019. You can choose to gift a specific experience or do a gift voucher approach that can be redeemed via Red Balloon’s website.

Share with us!

Today’s feature image is from a Native Bee Hive Split workshop that I attended at Jane Street Community Garden. Check out their Facebook event page to find out when the next one will be.

I hope today has given you some inspiration to try an experience style gift with one of your loved ones this Christmas!

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