Gifting Moments: Unwrap Experiences This Holiday Season

4 mins

From vegan culinary masterclasses to indulgent natural spa days, gifting these experiences is sure to make your loved ones – and the planet – happy

When it comes to gift giving during the festive holidays, sustainable shoppers are often plagued by the same predicament each year: What can I give that won’t harm the planet but will create lasting memories?

In a bid to keep unwanted presents out of landfills and enrich the lives of loved ones (rather than clutter their homes), we’re rethinking gifting by embracing presents that prompt personal growth, expand the mind, and create unforgettable moments – without a roll of wrapping paper in sight.

Gifts For… The Culinary Critique

For the food enthusiasts in your life, watch them brush up on their kitchen skills with help from a private vegan cooking course. Book an expert chef from for a three-hour one-to-one class that comes to you. A culinary expert – with fresh organic ingredients in tow – will guide you through a delicious three-course vegan menu to sharpen your cooking skills and impress your guests. After all, there’s no better time to host and prove just how good plant-based food can be.

For The Fitness Enthusiast

woman's leg at a gym

Why not help your fitness-focused friends and family take their health to new heights? Class packages and memberships at the new wave of luxury wellness gyms in the UAE make the perfect feel-good gift for anyone who prioritises staying active, or plans to shake off their festive indulgences come January. Blended Wellness on Dubai’s Palm Jumeirah is one such sanctuary that makes you feel healthier by just stepping inside. Say goodbye to gym dread with beautiful studio spaces and premium equipment. From Reformer Pilates classes, to kettle bell weight training, there’s a package to suit everyone with prices starting from AED 550.

For The Podcast Lover

If you’re present-hunting for someone who’s guilty of a podcast binge from time to time, they will most likely love plugging into an audiobook subscription. Audible is a monthly service starting from just Dhs29 a month, bursting with inspiring self-improvement titles, motivational biographies and bestselling fiction to be absorbed in a matter of hours, rather than weeks. A guaranteed crowd pleaser for the busy friends who don’t get time to read as much as they’d like. But the best bit? It won’t leave a mark on the environment.

For The Self-Improvement Seeker

Samuel L Jackson smiling to camera

Give the gift of personal development and self-growth this festive season with access to a thought-provoking coaching programme. MasterClass is the online education platform that opens up a world of lectures and tutorials from some of the most successful people on the planet. From business and writing, to entertainment and photography, subscribers can browse a catalogue of 180+ classes from industry leaders, athletes and actors alike. Who of us couldn’t learn a thing or two from Anna Wintour or Samuel L Jackson? As adults, we rarely invest in our education past schooling, so what better excuse to unwrap something rewarding this Christmas.

For The Cool Creator

‘Tis the season to get crafty! Whether your recipient considers themselves an artiste or not, encourage their creativity with a spot of self-expression through art. You’ll find an influx of trending pottery and ceramic classes scattered across the UAE from Abu Dhabi Pottery to The Mud House in Al Quoz, and all experience levels are welcome. If creating canvases beachside sounds more appealing, Ula’s ‘Art Breakfast’ mornings on The Palm Jumeirah are a great balance of food and fun in a friendly group setting. Get inspired by a range of templates ready for painting and framing.

For The Majorly Time-Strapped

woman at a spa reflecting the idea of giving a spa day as a gift

In today’s fast-paced world, the gift of ‘me time’ is truly priceless. From busy parents to stressed-out CEOs, spoil someone that needs it with an escape from the daily grind to a zen-inducing spa – if they need a chaperone, you can happily oblige. The Spa and Hamman at the newly refurbished Bab Al Shams is a beautiful oasis to relax, reconnect and unwind. Choose from a long list of holistic treatments, detox massages and body wraps featuring the finest sustainably sourced, natural products. Who wouldn’t be happy unwrapping a blissful day at the spa?

You may be thinking these experiences are all well and good, but how does one package and present them under a Christmas tree? If you don’t have a gift card or token, try buying a small item that represents the experience. Painting lesson? Wrap up a paint brush. Cooking course? Give them a chef’s apron. What’s more, a quick scroll on Pinterest for ‘eco-friendly wrapping ideas’ will bring an abundance of innovative ways to avoid wasteful paper; from pretty folded fabric parcels to re-used magazine wrapping. This year, take comfort in the knowledge that your gifts will not only last a lifetime but contribute to a more sustainable future, too.

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