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10 top Christmas gift experiences that trump standard gifts

Turn those typical gifts into unique experiences this silly season with our guide to alternate Christmas gifts.

Presented by: Groupon_Logo

If you're stuck for a Christmas gift this year or want to shake things up a bit, exchange that store-bought physical gift for an experience instead.

Whether they have everything, are a social butterfly or simply love to explore and try out new things, an experience is the kind of gift you don't have to wrap but comes filled with unforgettable memories.

On top of being unique, it’s also an excellent option for those who tend to leave present shopping to the last (guilty!) as you can purchase it right up to the wire online.

And you won't have to battle the masses at the stores either.

So for something unique and left-of-centre that you don't have to wrap up this year, here are our favourite alternatives to that physical Christmas gift that we found on daily deals site Groupon.


10 top experience gifts for Christmas

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1. Premium hotel stay

Instead of a picture frame or artwork: Give them a view to behold with a stay in a luxe hotel.

It could be a staycation in the city they live in or, if you know they're overdue for a holiday, you can offer to secure their room and surprise them with a 5-star escape.

To keep the cost down but the quality premium, check out Groupon's Premium Collection of heavily discounted travel stays but shhh – don't tell them how much you really spent.


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2. Fine dining experience

Instead of a food hamper: Book them a spot at a hot table and take care of the bill.

If anybody tells you they hate to be wined and dined, they're obviously lying. Take care of them, as well as the cheque, by exploring the city's fine dining spots one dish at a time.

Alternatively, you can pre-purchase a fine dining experience for them to use at their leisure.


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3. Scuba diving lessons

Instead of an inflatable pool toy: Extend their pool to ocean for an underwater adventure.

With the rush of the water around them and the colours of the coral below, a scuba diving experience is something they'll cherish for a lifetime.

Beginner courses for the uninitiated aren't as expensive as you may think, starting from $59 if you know where to look. Refresher courses for those who have tried their fins at the sport though are a little rusty are priced much the same, starting from $69.


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4. Cooking classes

Instead of a cookbook: Let a master chef teach them the tricks of the trade.

Gifting a foodie this Christmas? Take them on a culinary journey by booking them a spot in a cooking class.

They'll learn new techniques or upskill in the art of cooking, baking and decorating and some classes even feature take-home recipe books – so you can double down on that present.


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5. Spa day out

Instead of a beauty pamper pack: Pamper them with spa treatments and packages galore.

They'll be glowing from ear to ear after a day at the spa and they won't have to lift a finger to make it happen either.

Choose from massage, detox and facial sessions to a day out at the spa where they can relax in steam rooms and sink into saunas.


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6. Theatre and gig tickets

Instead of a DVD: Take them out for a night of music, dance and comedy.

Pull them away from the comforts of their couch and surprise them with a gig in town, a night of live comedy or a theatre performance.

For some inspiration without the price tag, hit up daily deals websites like Groupon to see what's going on near you.


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7. Go-kart experience

Instead of Mario Kart: Take them out on the track for a race in the real thing.

OK, so they might still want the latest copy of Mario Kart (can you blame them?), but if you feel like upping the ante or turning their video game dreams into a reality, get them behind the wheel.

It's a fun and thrilling experience that can be enjoyed by kids big and small and won't cost you a mint to gift either. In fact, it comes up cheaper than the video game when booked at the discounted Groupon rate.


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8. Wine tasting course

Instead of wine: Bring out the true connoisseur with a tipple tasting.

Turn their love for a good drink into an educational experience that could potentially lead to fine snobbery.

Head to the cellar door to indulge in a winery's finest and learn the perfect pairings with fruits, cheeses and chocolates. Simply choose your cellar door and book a tour.


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9. A day out at the aquarium

Instead of a pet: Explore the underwater world of the local zoo or aquarium.

When the little ones want a pet but you can't quite make their dreams come true, the next best thing is a trip to the aquarium or zoo for a close encounter with wildlife.

To make your gift really sing this Christmas, book them in for one of the zoo's or aquarium's behind-the-scenes or close encounter tours where they can meet the keepers, pet the animals and more.


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10. A romantic holiday away

Instead of jewellery: Surprise them with a holiday.

If you're inclined toward the ultimate romantic gesture this Christmas, pack the jewellery away (or add it as a bonus gift) and go on a romantic trip instead.

Holiday packages do all the hard work for you and include flights, accommodation and sometimes meals, spa treatments, activities and then some. All you have to do is pick the date.

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