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Second Sense - Beyond Vision Loss

Give an Experience Gift: 21 Ideas They’ll Remember!

December 21, 2015 | Leave a Comment

by Kathy Austin

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Polar bear floating underwaterRecently I read a blog on American Foundation of the Blind’s Family Connect site about giving experiences as a holiday gift to children instead of the “stuff” that clutters up our homes.  Studies have shown that the positive memories we hold about experiences make us happier than the things we accumulate.  Do you remember that sweater Aunt Josie gave you last year? Well maybe if it was really ugly, but probably not. The blog had some great suggestions for kids, but I thought, what about us adults?

So, to inspire gift givers, we’ve asked our volunteers and staff for their ideas for a gift of experience.  In some cases, it could be a win, win and fun for the giver as well!

Stella suggested a shopping spree.  This was on the top of my list too! Being able to touch items, having colors and prices described plus help to the cash register is a wonderful treat!

Stella also suggested a spring cleaning by a sighted person.  Expanding on this thought, why not hire a cleaning or maid service and take your recipient out for lunch while the service performs their magic!

Tony suggested traveling as a passenger in a stock car at 189 miles per hour.  He did it and it was a great memory for him!

Joan had a long list of ideas that included a sleigh ride, Christmas concerts, wine or beer tastings, any tour that is audio described (she mentions the ghost tours, gangster tours or architectural tours) and the Lincoln Park or Garfield Park Conservatories.

Fred suggested going to the Harold Washington Library Center and visit the Maker Lab –they can print anything in 3D.

Brian mentioned he misses going to the zoo, so a trip to the zoo with a sighted guide describing the animals and what they are doing would be fun.

Levorn thought a trip to the spa for a mani/pedi would be a great way to relax and rejuvenate – make it an appointment for two!

David went more for the physical fitness theme by suggesting a rock climbing lesson or a private consultation with a personal trainer.

Other ideas included:

  • Share family memories and stories by describing the photos in the family album
  • Schedule a private yoga class
  • Take a trip to a museum of choice and describe the exhibits
  • Go ice skating and be the sighted guide
  • Take in an audio-described theatre performance or movie
  • Enroll in a pottery class
  • Make a reservation for high tea at one of the fancy downtown Chicago hotels
  • Listen to music at a jazz or blues bar
  • Go for lunch at the Walnut Room at Macy’s


If you’ve been at a loss as to what to give your favorite person with vision loss, we hope these ideas will inspire you.  And, if you have given someone an experience gift that’s not on our list, would you share?

Know, too, that your time and companionship is really what matters the most!

Happy holidays from all of us at Second Sense!

Kathy is the Community Engagement Specialist at Second Sense.

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