It is a universal truth each holiday season that at least one person in your life won’t be able to think of anything they’d want for a present.

Whether it’s your retired parents in the midst of downsizing, your eco-warrior friend on a crusade against materialism or a Gen Z sibling who swears their living accommodations are too small to fit anything new — you know who I’m talking about.

Save yourself hassle and wrapping paper this year by giving the gift of an experience instead.

The following suggestions offer that tough-to-buy-for person in your life an opportunity to make some memories or try a new experience.

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Knives out at Baltimore Chef Shop

Baltimore Chef Shop

The sheer variety of classes offered at this Hampden-based teaching kitchen mean there’s an option for just about everyone. Both master and novice cooks can practice knife skills, culinary techniques or prepare a regional dish in a small class setting. Kids ages 8 and older have several class options as well.

Price: Starting at $79 per person

Membership to Station North Tool Library

Station North Tool Library
Station North Tool Library

We cannot overstate the usefulness and practicality of this gift. The Station North Tool Library offers more than 3,000 tools for lending, 30 classes, a public woodworking shop, a dedicated DIY workspace and a home repair classroom. Members can find what they need to complete home improvement, automotive, bicycle or gardening projects. This is a great option for the carpentry-curious, first-time homeowner or DIY-home renovator in your life.

Price: Buy a membership gift card for $100 or sponsor the cost of a class, ranging from $65 to $250 depending on the skill.

Candle making with KSM Candle Co.

KSM Candle Set

Give a friend a candle and they’ll enjoy it down to the wick’s end. Teach them how to make a candle and they’ll have a skill long after the light flickers out. This workshop is both affordable and a fun way to take self-care to the next level.

Price: Starting at $40

Cruise around the bay with Boat Baltimore

Boat Baltimore

Channel that inner coastal grandma by chartering a boat for a two-hour private cruise. We can’t think of a more romantic way to take in the Baltimore skyline than on a sunset sail departing from South Baltimore and heading toward the Key Bridge. Passengers may bring their own food and beverages for a picnic on the water.

Price: $250 for two passengers, with $60 for each additional adult for a maximum of six passengers. Kids 12 and under sail for free

Staycation at Flohom

Flohom Baltimore
Rick Hutzell

Speaking of water, a staycation on Baltimore’s luxury houseboat may be a better fit for the landlubber in your life. The Airbnb, which sleeps four guests, is docked at the Inner Harbor Marina and offers waterfront views from its rooftop deck.

Price: $448 per night

Passport to the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra

Baltimore Symphony Orchestra
Jessica Gallagher

The Baltimore Symphony Orchestra is in the midst of a bold transformation under the direction of its new conductor Jonathon Heyward, the youngest and first person of color to lead the orchestra since it was founded in 1916. The gift of a BSO Passport gives the music lover in your life a year of access to more than 30 concerts at the Joseph Meyerhoff Symphony Hall and The Music Center at Strathmore. The 2023-2024 season showcases a wide range of musical genres, from classical to jazz to blockbuster film scores.

Price: $120

Learn to sew at Domesticity


Every talented designer to come out of Maryland — from Project Runway alumni Christian Siriano and Bishme Cromartie to women’s sportswear pioneer Claire McCardell — began their career with a single stitch. Give the blossoming designer in your life the gift of sewing skills. Domesticity in Lauraville offers introductory classes in sewing, garment-making, quilting and other fiber arts.

Price: Ranging from $50 to $250 depending on the skill and project

Theater tickets to Baltimore Center Stage

Baltimore Center Stage

Give the gift of a night at the theater. Baltimore Center Stage offers several membership options with access to several performances per year. Productions in 2024 include “Mexodus,” a hip hop musical exploring the stories of enslaved people in the United States who sought freedom in Mexico; “The Hot Wing King,” a play from Pulitzer Prize winner Katori Hall; and a reimagined version of Oscar Wilde’s “The Importance of Being Earnest.”

Price: A $70 GoPass gives patrons 18 and older access to three plays this season

Take a spin at ANG Pottery

ANG Pottery

At this Fells Point studio and gallery, patrons can paint their own pottery or try their hand at the pottery wheel (no, a Patrick Swayze apparition is not included). Classes are designed around any skill levels. This gift is great for those who aren’t afraid to get their hands dirty!

Price: Classes starting at $100

🎁 Looking for more gift ideas?

🎁 8 places to shop for Baltimore gifts under $25

🎁 10 Maryland-made gifts under $50

🎁 9 splurge-worthy holiday gifts around Baltimore this season

🎁 Check out the full 2023 Baltimore Banner Gift Guide

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