The trend towards experiential gifting has been in a steep ascent for some time now, and thankfully for us, the Pacific Northwest has a large group of retailers that offer unique, high-quality, high-value experiences for a variety of diverse interests. We've compiled some of our personal favorites here, just in time for holiday giving!
Hosted Fly Fishing Travel: Check out West Seattle-based Emerald Water Anglers. They offer trips from as far flung as Sudan and Brazil, to locations right in our backyard in British Columbia, Oregon and Washington. They also offer lessons in and around Seattle and on local rivers, equipment, speakers and premier retail for the established fisherman/woman in your life. Check out their women's program and online store.
Chef/Author-Led Cooking Classes: Taking a unique twist on the cooking class concept, the wildly popular Book Larder cooking classes and discussion sessions often book up quickly. This Fremont favorite is a bookstore specializing in cookbooks and publications all related to cooking and food, and their special events, more often than not, include the author / chef leading the class or discussion! Check out their calendar of events and either book someone you love or get a gift certificate so they can peruse the lengthy list of special offerings.
Kids' Cooking Classes: Kids as young as 2 years old (!) can come with their parent/adult guest to a participating PCC and learn how to make kid-friendly, healthy and fun recipes like coconut snowmen and "Egg-cellent" breakfast hand pies. With locations all over the Greater Seattle area, these classes are an easy and fun way to introduce cooking and healthy eating habits to the little ones in your life, while keeping your kitchen clean!
Rock Band Lessons: This is an all-comer gift — kids as young as six all the way up to adults can start music lessons...no, scratch that...rock band lessons at Seattle's School of Rock in Greenwood. Rookies get the chance to play all of the rock band instruments and then land on the one they want to master, while Rock 101 includes a weekly instrument lesson and a weekly rehearsal. Adults and kids work towards performing at different venues around Seattle. If being a rock star is on anyone's wish list (or bucket list for that matter), you can make that happen. During the holidays they will be offering a three-day Rookies camp and other special events.
Glass Blowing: Seattle is known for it's community of glass artists and there are a number of wonderful studios around our region. We love Seattle Glass Blowing Studio for it's long list of options, including private lessons and a six-week series. Their location in downtown Seattle under the iconic Monorail, also elevates the gift by including a trip to this part of town. Kids as young as five can participate in certain offerings, and the ideal age to really customize the experience is 11. They also do team building events, birthday parties, etc. This can also be a gift to make a gift! Maybe take the family, do a private lesson and create a piece(s) for another family member!
Volunteer Vacations: Homegrown outdoor retailer, REI offers some of the most amazing speciality trips for singles, couples, families, campers, hikers, explorers —you name it. One offering that caught our eye is their "Volunteer Vacation". Choose from destinations such as the Virgin Islands, Machu Picchu, Patagonia and Yosemite and join the expedition leaders and local park conservationists to preserve and protect these special places. "Work" typically includes things like trail maintenance and habitat preservation. Trips include lodging, meals, tools, leadership and some rest, relaxation and tours. For the adventurer on your list who also wants to give back!