Gift giving isn't easy. You can play guessing games, and your choice still might end up collecting dust in the back of someone's closet. Instead, try giving someone an experience they'll never forget.
What's available and where to buy it depends on where you are, but here are a few ideas to get you started.
Make that phrase more than a cliche this holiday season. Airbnb sells gift cards that can be used for accommodations from apartments to houseboats to experiences like "The Gangsta Gardener" in Los Angeles that involves biking, gardening and eating a farm-to-table dinner with a documentary producer.
Buy: Airbnb gift card
Maybe your loved one likes "The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon" or "The Voice" or "The View." Whatever the show is, there's a chance you can score tickets to attend a taping. 1Iota offers an abundance of options. Tickets are free but can take patience, so start looking early and see what you snag.
Cooking classes, in general, are a fun way to learn useful tips. Knife skills classes, though, teach critical kitchen skills. Learning the proper technique to hold a knife (and equally important, your fingers in a position where they won't get chopped off) and slice with speed can drastically reduce prep time.
Sur La Table offers knife skills courses at its stores across the country.
Price: $59 and up
Buy: Knife Skills 101
Virtual reality technology keeps improving, and studios are popping up that let customers test it without investing in their own gear. Snap a headset on and walk through different stations that turn any space into a mini theme park. Or play games that transform people from players into characters.
Buy: VR world
You don't need to be in the mountains of another continent to seek the thrill of ziplining. Sliding down ropes is doable domestically and is an activity that doesn't have an age limit. The daring adventure will amuse both children and adults alike.
Price: $79 and up for youths, $109 and up for adults
Give the car lover in your life a chance to drive a cool ride. Tracks around the country offer laps in race cars and some of the most expensive sports cars, such as a Ferrari. Some even sell rides in passenger seats so you don't have to worry about your loved one getting behind the wheel.
NASCAR sells multiple packages, including one where you can drive a race car by yourself for an 8-minute timed session. You can book the experience at a local track or simply give someone a gift card so they can schedule it on their own.
Buy: Race car driving
Alcohol tourism is booming. Whether it's wine, beer or spirits, chances are there's some sort of tasting experience somewhere nearby. Look for tours that guide you to different production venues and tasting rooms. Or map out a route, arrange transportation and spend the day together checking out the different spots.
Kentucky's Bourbon County is home to legends such as Maker's Mark and Jim Beam, as well as smaller distilleries that are growing thanks to the craft movement. Mint Julep Tours guide travelers through the region on its public and private tours.
Price: $129 and up
Buy: Mint Julep Tour
Give the gift of flight this year. Whether in a plane or a helicopter, an introductory flying lesson is a truly unforgettable experience. After they enjoy your treat, your loved one may want to sign up for another round in the future or decide they'll stick to being a passenger. Either way, it's a memory they'll never forget.
Price: $152 and up
Buy: Learn to fly