Thinking Outside the Gift Box

Stumped by gift ideas? Consider giving an experience rather than a “thing” this year. It’s a common conundrum during the holiday shopping season – what to get the person who has everything? Instead of wandering the aisles for more gadgets and gizmos they don’t need, think about an experience they’d enjoy.

Instead of more stuff, consider giving the gift of fitness, fun, art, or a new skill in the form of a membership or subscription. Gifts that provide an experience instead of a thing are a guarantee win with recipients – they’re calorie free, don’t take up space, and are guaranteed to keep them out of the gift return line in January. Beyond the ease of shopping for and wrapping this type of gift, the special memories it can create are priceless. What if that fitness membership finally helped a parent meet their weight loss goal?  Visits to a local museum may become cherished memories to a grandchild. A friend may always think of you as they listen to their favorite music. Maybe the Grinch had it right all along. Christmas doesn’t have to come from a store – what if Christmas - and gifts – mean a little bit more?


Photo courtesy of Botanica

Encourage a loved one to literally stop and smell the roses in 2018 with a membership to Botanica.  The membership will allow them to explore the 17.6 acres of beautiful gardens any time they want and receive discounts on workshops, special events, and items from the gift shop. Memberships purchased for holiday gifts will come with gift boxes at no extra charge that include honey made from the gardens, an ornament, calendar and other goodies. Botanica memberships start at $55.


Although not the most exciting, sometimes practical gifts are the way to go.  It seems like a trip to the grocery store is often a daily occurrence, so for busy families a CostCo membership can be a much-appreciated gift.  Current CostCo members can purchase gift memberships that allow the recipient to renew their membership after their year has expired. CostCo year gift membership for $60.


Exploration Place

Encourage curiosity, imagination, and discovery in young minds with a membership to Exploration Place.  Families can enjoy the traveling and permanent exhibits, the Boeing Dome Theatre and Planetarium, and the mini golf course year round. Membership includes unlimited admission as well as special discounts to programs at partner organizations and other museums and organizations across the country. Exploration Place memberships start at $20.

Greater Wichita YMCA

After a season of feasting, a YMCA membership can be pretty appealing. You can give the gift of health and fitness to someone looking to make a positive change or to get a jumpstart on a resolution. Members can enjoy access to group exercise classes, pools, fitness equipment, and special YMCA programs at any of the Wichita area YMCA locations. YMCA membership rates vary by plan.

Rock River Rapids

Summer may seem far away now but it will be time to grab your swimsuit and flip flops before you know it. Any family with young children would love endless hours of summer entertainment at the Derby water park that features slides, a lazy river, and a zero depth pool. The water park offers a special discount on season passes purchased by December 31. A season pass purchased by December 31 is $55, regularly $70.


Sedgwick County Zoo

Encourage families to visit one of the best zoos in the country that sits in our own backyard. With a membership to the Sedgwick County Zoo families can visit anytime they want on any of the 364 days the zoo is open. Although it is the same price as a regular membership, purchasing a holiday gift membership allows your recipient to use their membership three months longer. (A regular membership lasts one year from the time of purchase.) Sedgwick County Zoo membership begin at $76.


Wichita Art Museum

For the art lover in your life, consider gifting a Wichita Art Museum membership. WAM members can enjoy free admission, half price guest admission, discounts at the museum store and café, and free or discounted admission to special programs and events. Purchasing a membership as a gift is a wonderful way to support the arts in the Wichita community. WAM memberships start at $50 for individual and $65 for household. Subscriptions


Do you know someone who travels frequently or spends a lot of time commuting? Audible can be a much-appreciated gift idea. Audible is an audio book service that allows members to choose books and ad-free audio shows to listen to anytime, anywhere with their app. Upgrade a friend’s commute or next business trip with access to the largest selection of audio books. Gift membership options available: three months for $45, six months for $90, twelve months for $150.



Do you know someone who just can’t live without their SiriusXM radio?  Keep them jammin’ with a subscription to Sirius or XM satellite radio, or a prepaid service card that they can use toward their current subscription. With this gift, their holiday road trips are guaranteed to be a bit more merry. Prices vary by plan.

Other thoughtful ideas

Blue Apron

Perfect for a busy family or a couple in need of a unique date night, Blue Apron meal delivery ships fresh, high quality ingredients straight to your recipient’s door. Each Blue Apron meal comes with portioned out ingredients and easy to follow recipes. Home cooks can use an e-gift card towards their Blue Apron plan and enjoy the creative process of whipping up a gourmet meal without the hassle of heading to the grocery store. Meal e-gift cards starting at $60. Music Theatre of Wichita www.mtwichita.org Treat your favorite theatre lover to a summer full of entertainment with season tickets to

Music Theatre of Wichita.

The 2018 summer season includes the musicals Sister Act, Guys & Dolls, Freaky Friday, Pippin, and The Little Mermaid. Each summer since 1972, MTW has brought talented performers to Wichita to produce Broadway-quality shows performed at Century II. Season tickets range from $126 - $275 depending on section and show time.

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