Give Outside of the Box: 2014

When short on shopping time or space in the gift suitcase, it’s time to start thinking outside of the box. While this may seem a bit overwhelming, the creative exercise can actually result in some truly thoughtful presents. Giving someone an experience or an opportunity to participate in a process that will yield long-lasting results is a wonderful way to show someone you care, and an approach that can leave the recipient appreciating the gift long into the future.

tsg-seven-giving-outside-of-the-box-gifts-vertical1. A personal portrait. Commissioning an artist to capture someone special to the recipient on canvas is such a thoughtful gift, and will result in an enduring present sure to be treasured for years to come. Birmingham-based Portraits, Inc., represents talented portraitists across the country, while those in the Durham area can contact renowned artist William Branson, and Annapolis-based residents should consider reaching out to Victoria Burnett.

2. A design-minded conversation. Who wouldn’t love to be given the gift of a more beautiful personal environment? Contact a local interior designer or landscape architect and ask if you can book an hour or two of their time on behalf of a friend who seems to always be talking about redoing a room or sprucing up the yard. Whether the consultation leads to a full-on collaboration or not, the advice imparted will make for a long-lasting present. Check your city’s local TSG directory to find an expert in your area!

3. A beyond-first-class flight. Commercial air travel can be non-family-friendly for a variety of reasons (and less-than-glamorous even when one is flying solo). Gifting flight hours on a private jet allows recipients to enjoy a hassle-free ride to wherever their final destination might be. Those interested in booking flight time for someone in the Virginia and D.C. area can contact to discuss options.

4. A memorable dinner. For someone who loves to entertain, hiring a catering company to execute the dinner party of his or her dreams is a present sure to please. Call a local catering expert (like Atlanta-based Sun in My Belly, whose work is featured above) and book them for a set party size for a date to be determined by the recipient, and then wait for your thank-you note to arrive in the form of an invitation.

5. A luxurious staycation. The gift of relaxation really cannot be measured. Whether you book someone an overnight stay at a haute hotel like Aspen’s Hotel Jerome or an hour-long treatment at a swanky spa like Memphis’s Gould’s Day Spa & Salon, your gift of some well-deserved pampering will be much appreciated.

6. A healthy habit. Come January, everyone will be resolving to lead a healthier lifestyle with varying degrees of commitment behind the well-intentioned vow. Help someone on your list who wants to start a new fitness-focused routine take the plunge by gifting a class package (and follow up with plenty of positive reinforcement!). Charlotte-based Hilliard Studio Method offers a variety of packages for their core-focused, pilates-based classes that many people swear by.

7. A chance to feel charitable. Making a gift in someone’s name in support of a cause that they care about means truly spreading the love and honoring the spirit of the season. For those who are passionate about the arts, a donation to Summer Stars Camp for the Performing Arts, which offers economically challenged kids living in urban environments the opportunity to learn confidence and creativity through music, dance, and outdoor activities in Northfield, Massachusetts, might fit the bill.