7 Smart Ways To Give The Gift Of Experiences, Not Things

Experiences make people happier than things; here are the best non-thing gifts the startup world has to offer this holiday season.


Spending money on experiences rather than things will make you happier, and there’s scientific research to prove it.


Here at Fast Company, we want you to be happy. We also want your friends and family to be happy (we’re very nice like that). And so we’ve made you this list of startup-powered experiential gift ideas. Happy Holidays!

1. Give A Butler

Alfred manages errands like laundry, grocery shopping, and cleaning while you’re at work. And they have gift cards.

2. Give A Donation

DonorsChoose is a crowdfunding site for teachers. With a gift card, your recipient can go “shopping” to support a project in a neighborhood school or along a particular interest.

3. Give Travel Accommodation

Luckily for your travel-savvy gift recipient, part of Airbnb’s grand hotel plans include offering gift cards.

4. Give An Organized Home

Marie Kondo’s best-selling book, The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up, made organization a hot topic this year. So maybe it’s no longer offensive to gift a professional organizer to a messy someone you love?


5. Give Dinner

Dinner is being disrupted. Meal-kit startups like BlueApron and Plated as well as meal-delivery startups like Munchery and SpoonRocket offer gift certificates that will deliver the new experience to your loved one’s door.

6. Give Theater Tickets

Thanks to startups like TodayTix, you won’t even need to stand in line to buy them (someone else does that).

7. Give An Exercise High

A ClassPass membership includes classes at multiple studios. There’s no gift-card option yet, but that won’t stop you from signing up the variety-craving fitness fanatics on your list.

About the author

Sarah Kessler is a senior writer at Fast Company, where she writes about the on-demand/gig/sharing "economies" and the future of work.