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Holidays & Events

10 Great Gifts that Aren’t Things

December 9, 2018

The holidays are a season of giving, but sometimes in our eagerness to give, we end up getting caught in a cycle of consumerism. It’s easy to do…the moment we flip our calendars to November, the world turns into a giant sales pitch. Our inboxes start to fill up with gift guides and “can’t-miss” deals, convenient displays of easily gift-able items pop up in every retail establishment from the grocery store to the hardware store, and our senses are bombarded by visions of sugarplums and presents piled high under the tree.


All those gifts that looked so pretty in the soft twinkling light of Christmas, though, might start to just look like STUFF by the middle of January. This year, instead of frantically filling your shopping cart with plastic toys, scented candles, and whatever else may be strategically placed on the end caps at Target, consider giving one of these ten gifts that aren’t really things at all.


1. A membership to a local museum, zoo, aquarium, etc.

Choose a place that your family enjoys going together and buy an annual pass! Unwrapping a year’s worth of fun (and educational experiences, but you don’t have to point that out to the kids) is a great alternative to toys that may be broken or forgotten about well before the next holiday season…and you’ll never have to pick it up off the living room floor.

2. Tickets to a play, concert, etc.

Experiences are gifts that will be remembered for years to come. Whether it’s taking your children to see The Nutcracker as an early Christmas present or buying your dad tickets to that Bruce Springsteen show that’s been on his bucket list for as long as you can remember, there’s probably some kind of performance just about everyone would love to attend!

3. Gift cards for the movie theater

Concert tickets are great, but if you’re looking for experience gifts on a smaller budget, a night at the movies is a fun option, especially if you get gift cards to a theater with those comfy reclining seats!

4. A donation to a meaningful cause

Charitable donations are a wonderful way to offer help where it’s most needed, and supporting an organization or cause that’s important to someone on your list means a good deed becomes a great gift.

5. Volunteering your time and talents

Sometimes the best gift you can give is…yourself! Maybe your best friend is a busy single mom who doesn’t get much time for herself. Volunteering to babysit so she can get a pedicure, go see a movie that isn’t rated PG, or (let’s be real) just take a nap or eat a hot meal might just be the perfect gift. Maybe your brother is starting his own business, and you have the skills to help him build a website. Maybe your daughter loves animals, and you arrange for the two of you to volunteer monthly at a local shelter. The possibilities are just about endless!

6. A spa day

If there’s someone on your Christmas list who could stand to practice more self-care, consider a gift certificate for a massage, facial, manicure, or other relaxing treatment. Particularly after the rush of the holiday season, any means of stress relief is likely to be a very welcome gift!

7. Gift cards to local restaurants

For many people, nothing beats the experience of an amazing meal…especially one that they don’t have to prepare or clean up after! Choose a tried-and-true restaurant or introduce someone to a place you think they’ll love. Bonus points: if you skip the chain options, this is a great way to support small local businesses!

8. A subscription to a service or publication

No, we don't recommend a subscription to the Jelly of the Month Club. But if your parents are still listening to scratched CDs, consider buying them a subscription to a music streaming service. If your friend is a news junkie but hates paying for content, maybe sign her up for the New York Times, the Washington Post, or whatever her favorite source is. If you know anyone who shops through Amazon but doesn’t have Amazon Prime, think about gifting a Prime subscription (which comes with video and music streaming in addition to perks like free two-day shipping).

9. A gift card for an airline, hotel, etc.

Shopping for someone who loves to travel? Consider gift cards that can be used for plane tickets, hotel stays, or other wanderlust-related expenses. Depending on the recipient, this might be a gift for you, too…and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with that!

10. A class to learn something new

Turning interests into skills feels really good, and whether the person on your list is interested in cooking, knitting, writing, ballroom dancing, or juggling, there’s probably a class available to learn more about it. Give a gift that’s fun AND empowering by signing someone up, either locally or online.

From unforgettable experiences to gifts that give back, we hope these ideas inspire you as you’re working your way through your holiday shopping list! If you’d like to give your family the gift of better financial protection—and yourself the gift of increased peace of mind—it only takes a few minutes to grab a no-obligation life insurance quote from Our Life Covered℠!


Warmest wishes for a holiday season that’s merry and bright, from the OLC family to yours!


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Camilla Mecher


Camilla Mecher

Camilla Mecher is a content creator for Our Life Covered℠. She lives in downtown Cincinnati, OH with her cool husband, Dan, cute son, Jude, and bad cat, Margot, and loves being a mom in the city. When Cam isn’t writing about life and life insurance, she enjoys yoga, cooking, family movie nights (with popcorn or it doesn’t count), and long walks at Target.


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