Family having fun in the snow

Experiences to give this holiday

We’ve all heard it before: the science of happiness tells us that we gain maximum satisfaction from getting out and doing things. The reason? A huge part of who we are stems from the sum total of our experiences. Travel, bike rides, beach days, hikes and the like end up becoming an ingrained part of our identity, and we begin to identify with what we do. What better boost for the people you love the most?

Here are experience-based gift ideas centred around having a great time:

National or provincial park visit

Now’s the time to send your favourite outdoor buddy an invite for a camping, hiking or paddling trip to one of your favourite parks – and to mark your calendar for the day that campsite reservations open (heads up: regular fees still apply for camping and reservations). If your campground of choice is booked, it’s the perfect chance to try a new spot.

Lessons for a new activity

Have someone special in your life who’s always wanted to try SUPing, skiing, climbing or mountain biking? Lessons are the best way to help get them started. Learning from an expert not only gets your giftee familiar with the ins and outs of safety, but it also helps them build a strong foundation for athletic progression and meet other newbies who are taking up the same sport.

A tune up

Give the gift of smooth rides. Whether your loved ones are partial to planks or wheels, any pair of skis or bike will inevitably need a tune up to keep them in working order. MEC stores offer professional ski shop services and competitive rates. Our bike shop techs service all makes and models and can recommend a bike tune-up package that best fit your rider’s needs.

A weekend escape

There’s nothing quite as refreshing or relaxing as a weekend away, especially when someone else (like you) takes care of all the planning and details. Some ideas? Book a rustic cabin, playful yurt, ski weekend, traditional hotel or something totally different you find listed online – like an airstream or treehouse – and make the most of the wilderness or city. Bring some boardgames and wine, and leave your phone on airplane mode.

Race entry

Have a devoted runner or rider in your life? Help them get a head start on their goals by grabbing them race entry. Bonus points if you choose a race or ride away from your hometown so you can combine it with a weekend escape.

Drop-in passes

Gym membership sales surge every December, with lots of people resolving to devote their lives to fitness in the New Year, but numbers start flailing again as early as February. Instead of getting someone a membership that might not suit their year-round exercise habits, grab them a couple of drop-in pass to their favourite spin studio, bouldering gym, community centre, swimming pool or crossfit box.

Some ideas: Passport to Prana is in 7 Canadian cities, and lets pass holders try every yoga studio in their city once for maximum om output. In Toronto and Vancouver, ClassPass lets attendees try out a wide selection of fitness studios for a flat monthly rate.

Passes to your local snow resort

Winter in Whistler with gondola connecting Whistler and Blackcomb mountains

Whether it’s already cold and white or snow has yet to fall, nothing quite gets a powderhound as excited as a day on the slopes. Pick up a lift ticket for the snow-obsessed someone in your life (or two if you want to join them), so they can tuck through trees at Tremblant, carve corduroy at Blue Mountain, or run laps at Lake Louise.

Equipment rentals

Know someone who’s interested in tackling a new sport but isn’t ready to commit to all the equipment it takes to make it happen? Offer the gift of a gear rental so they can try out a new activity, like snowshoeing, kayaking or paddleboarding.

Jumping people on a dock
MEC Staffer

A Canada-wide crew of adventurers, thinkers, doers, writers, photographers and people who love the outdoors.