the {non} gift guide: a gift list of experiences

I wanted to kick off the holiday season gift guides with one that I think is the most important: spending time together. As blue families we know that time together can be rare, especially time together doing fun things! As we enter the holiday season we’re surrounded by things and shopping and the pressure to buy buy buy-and I want to encourage you to focus on the REAL reason of the season: togetherness. Jesus died for us so that we can be saved and spend time in community with one another, cherishing our spouses and our families and enjoying life with them. Gifts are fun (and my officer’s love language!) but don’t feel like you NEED to stretch your budget thin and drown in debt just to show people you love them.

Better yet, use your money to encourage time together! I’ve compiled my top 10 “experience gifts” that you can gift your officer (or child, or friend, or whomever!). Some cost more than others-but they all encourage togetherness, which is something I know my own family is focusing on this year.

There will still be LEO and LEOW gift guides coming later this month with physical gifts, but I wanted to start out the year with the one nearest and dearest to my heart. Without further ado:

Coupon book. When I was a little kiddo I remember making crayon coupons for my parents with things like “wash the dishes without complaining” and “1 hour of gardening”. These things can seem cheesy, but are sometimes the most special-and practical!-things we can give. Do you hate going to Home Depot with your officer? Make them a coupon for a home improvement trip! Do you need a reminder to *ahem* spice things up? Make them a coupon for a special night. If you’re making this for your kids, include things like “you get to choose our dinner menu” or “one afternoon at the playground”. Think of whatever your loved one looks forward to the most, and focus on that!

Movie tickets. Yall, I really can’t remember the last time we went to the movie theater! But, having movie tickets is a good excuse to put a date on the calendar the next time a movie you’re looking forward to hits the theater. You can go to your local movie theater to get a gift card or head to Fandango for more universal options. Our Costco also typically has a movie pack available with substantial savings!

Dinner in. Put together a bottle of wine (or pack of beer, or soda, or whatever your favorite drink is) with some pasta shells, sauce, candles, and brownie mix and make it your date night in basket! Next time you have a free night, pull out the ingredients, light the candles, and have a special dinner in together! We know that any meal together with our officer home is special-make it extra special by adding some frills and romantic lighting, and savor the time (and carbs!) together.

Dinner out. A gift card to his favorite restaurant or a place yall have been wanting to try is a great gift, especially if they’re a foodie! Some people think gift cards are boring, but I love when we have a reason to eat out (and don’t have to worry about the hit in our budget). Check Groupon to see what deals they have in your area, or look on the restaurant’s website or Facebook page to see if they’re running any holiday specials. Bonus: print out a menu from the restaurant and wrap it with the gift card, and if you have kiddos include a coupon from a friend/family member or money for a babysitter, so you don’t have any excuse not to go!

Airline miles. This option is obviously on the pricier side, but if you’ve been wanting to take a vacation with your officer (or entire family!) getting miles or even a Travelocity gift card can help nudge you to make it happen! We typically fly Alaska Air, and often during the holiday season they offer special pricing on mile packages. Check with your preferred airline to see what holiday bundles they might have! Bonus: wrap up the miles with a toy airplane or postcard of where you’re doing to make unwrapping it more fun!

Paint night or crafting class. This experience might be better enjoyed with a fellow LEOW or friend, but if your officer is artistic, take them with you! Many towns have their own version of a paint night-sometimes called Wine and Design or Sip and Paint (you get the idea). If your officer isn’t into painting, check and see if there’s a wood shop around. The one near our home offers Build a Bench night and other fun events that focus more on building than designing-and you end up with a piece of special and practical furniture for your home! Bonus: wrap up a hammer or a paint brush to put with the tickets!

Cooking class. A lot of restaurants and bakeries will offer special cooking classes (bonus: you typically get to eat what you make, so that takes care of dinner!). One of the wineries near us hosts the occasional tour that also allows you to create your own special bottle of wine! There’s also a chocolate shop in our area that hosts a truffle making class, complete with drinks and munchies. Google around your home and see what’s available.

Concert or show tickets. Groupon can be a great place to get discounted tickets or restaurant gift cards! The availability varies depending on your city, but often they’ll have show tickets for half off, a $50 meal for $30, and similar other deals! This is a great way to try out places and see things you might otherwise skip because they’re on the pricier side. Find out if your officer’s favorite band is touring near you, or if there’s a special play that you both would enjoy. Bonus: wrap up the tickets with a band shirt or playbill of what you’ll be seeing!

Spa Day/Massage. My officer used to be against massages and everything “like that”…until he realized he gets a certain number covered under our insurance each year AND they feel amazing! Massages can be especially awesome for our officers who spend so much of their time with a heavy duty belt on. Look into your insurance coverage, or check out a local spa or chiropractor to see what they offer. Kneading out all of that tension our officers are forced to carry will be a blessed relief for them AND you. Bonus: wrap up the gift card with a bottle of massage oil or pair of slippers.

Range date/gift card. There’s a local gun range near us that both my officer and I adore. He has a membership there and we try to squeeze in range dates whenever we can. If there’s a place around you, see if they offer gift cards or memberships! This is a great way for your officer to stay the sharpest of shooters, and an easy date idea for the both of you. Bonus: wrap it up with a box of ammo or package of targets.


**none of the items on this list are sponsored or contain affiliate links-they’re just things my family and I enjoy!**

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