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It’s that time of year again—teachers are already counting down to winter break. Gift-giving happens year-round for all sorts of occasions, but as the year comes to an end, you may be seeking something special for yourself, your loved ones, or the creatives in your life. While your mind is stirring with ideas for the perfect presents, consider offering the gift of experience and connection this year. These gifts can be more meaningful to you and those you hold dear in your hearts.
Your heart smiles when you look through photos that bring certain moments back to life. Or, perhaps you feel warm when you scroll through your camera roll and land on one of your favorite get-aways. What if you could create lasting memories instead of buying a gift destined for the donation box? Here are some options for those who love to immerse themselves in an experience.
Giving experience gifts can be inexpensive or free. Gather others in your creative circle, pack up your beloved art supplies, and create together in the beauty of nature. Another option that will bring joy to you and your recipient only costs a stamp and stationery. Take time to handwrite letters to your loved ones instead of sending out mass-produced cards.
Plan a tasting party (food or libations) and invite your favorite people. Etsy shops offer kits ranging from tasting sodas or cocktails to potato chips or hot sauce. Not into party planning? This winery in Pennsylvania hosts an event called The Underground Experience. It is a tasting venue below the surface of the winery that will tap deep into your soul. Find similar events across the country with a quick internet search.
Life is busy, so why not treat yourself to more time to relax at home? Book a house cleaner to take care of time-consuming cleaning tasks, while you prioritize other things. If you are seeking time to care for yourself, consider scheduling a massage therapy session or reserving time to relax in a salt spa.
Traveling can be magical. Discovering new places, exploring what everything around you has to offer, and checking out the local art scene can keep memories alive for a lifetime. Take a peek below to see if wanderlust might be the gift for you.
Set aside a day to venture out into nature for a hike, the beach, or your go-to outdoor activity. The National Parks are great places to explore, or you can visit one of your state’s parks instead. Take along your camera, sketchpad, or watercolors to create in the calmness around you. Grab a friend and make it a date!
What if you could reserve time each month to travel? It could be an afternoon or an entire weekend. List places you would like to visit and then narrow them down to twelve. This 12-month travel bucket list should include options that work for you, your loved ones, and your schedules. Consider visiting your local art museum, driving to the artsiest city you know, or planning to support artists at an arts festival. Record your journeys with a Bucket List Passport Journal.
If you are looking for an extended vacation, this guide for artistic summer vacations will help you find a perfect destination for art teachers. If you don’t have the time and energy to plan it yourself, Pack Up + Go will take care of all of the details for you—but everything is a surprise!
Art teachers can be self-proclaimed learning nerds. You love to develop your artistic skills, further your knowledge, and stay on top of the latest trends in art education. If you find yourself nodding your head in agreement, these gifts might be the ones for you.
Plan a trip to an art museum, historical destination, or participate in a local art workshop. Take your camera and snap some photos. You can use them to create a photo album or print a keepsake. If there are no local workshops that spark your interest, go virtual and give our Mini-Workshop series a try!
Yearly memberships to museums, National Park passes, or subscriptions to online learning services, such as Udemy or Skillshare, allow you to personalize your learning either in-person or at your convenience in the comfort of your home. If you want hands-on artmaking, consider purchasing classes from a local artist in your community, inviting an artist into your classroom for a residency, or leading an open studio for friends in your home.
Investing in your own education has benefits that can transcend classroom practices. AOEU has many opportunities to grow amazing art teachers, such as our FLEX Curriculum, PRO Learning Packs, graduate courses, the NOW Conference, and a master’s degree. You may even persuade your district to cover the expense of these PD options for you. Find out more by checking out this article or this one!
At the end of the day, some people still like to give and receive traditional gifts. There is nothing like the thrill of finding the perfect item for your loved one and then wrapping it with care in festive paper. And the best part? Opening the gift! If this is the case for you or your loved ones, read on for some more fun gift ideas that you can buy, wrap, and open.
Choosing the right gift can have you endlessly scrolling and clicking or perusing aisles, only to leave empty-handed. Try out some of the experiences in this year’s gift guide, or put your own creative ideas to work. After all, the memories you make will last a lot longer in your hearts than the best deal that landed in your shopping cart.
Need more ideas? Visit the gift guides from the archives:
What is on your wishlist this year?
Do you prefer experiences or wrapped gifts?
Magazine articles and podcasts are opinions of professional education contributors and do not necessarily represent the position of the Art of Education University (AOEU) or its academic offerings. Contributors use terms in the way they are most often talked about in the scope of their educational experiences.