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The crowds, the lines, the calculating of the percentages off: these might be the most inconvenient and frustrating parts of holiday shopping, but they're certainly not the hardest. That title goes to figuring out what to get everyone on your list in the first place. For the person in you life who has everything (or who's notoriously tough to shop for) nix the idea of a thing, and gift them an experience—something they've never done before, wouldn't think to get for themselves, or have always wanted to do or.
After the jump, a few ideas that include a trip to a decadent bath house downtown, art classes, fitness packages, and more.—Courtney Iseman
Aire Ancient Baths
A spa day is always a great gift go-to. Up the ante by sending them to Aire Ancient Baths, where they'll feel transported back in time to the ancient baths of Greece or Rome, and more importantly, they'll feel completely and utterly relaxed. Book them time slots in which they can go soak in different relaxing pools—from salt to steam to ice— and add massages or rituals like soaks in red wine or cava. Aromatherapy is included, and tea, water, and smoothies are on hand. The most basic package is $75, and add-ons can bring your total up to around $500. Book here. 88 Franklin Street between Church Street and Broadway.
Photo via I Love Old NY
Letterpress Tutorial at The Arm
Whether your friend or family member is looking to experiment with printed items (shirts, posters, fliers, coasters, you name it) or just get a new productive hobby, he or she will love jumping in at The Arm's hands-on workspace. Send them to a letterpress tutorial, where they'll learn everything they need to know—and then they can use the resources of The Arm to do their own projects from then on. They'll learn how to print from metal type, wood type and more, earning them a new skill, a new work space, and definitely some bragging rights. The class is $150; book here. 281 N. 7th Street between Havemeyer Street and Meeker Avenue.
Photo via Classivity
ClassPass from Classtivity
Whether your lucky gift recipient is a fitness fanatic or wanting to become one, give them something to make working out more exciting than ever. The ClassPass from Classtivity is $99 a month (a $300 value) and the pass holder can attend ten fitness classes in New York during that month period. They can choose from a host of activities: Barry's Bootcamp, CKO Kickboxing, Pure Barre, East Yoga, Joffrey Ballet School, Torque Cycling & Fitness, Traditional Tribal Fitness—and that's just the tip of the iceberg. They're sure to find their passion, even if that passion is trying a new class every few days. Get it here.
Photo via Brooklyn Brainery
Give the gift of learning everything under the sun by sending them to the Brooklyn Brainery. This adult education center feels more like a chill, hang-out space, but having fun doesn't mean the students aren't learning tons about their topic of choice. Classes include mixology, baking, creative writing, history, gardening, doing your taxes, public speaking, jewelry-making, knitting, floristry, photography, film, poker—you get the idea. Classes start as low as $10, so a gift certificate can go a long way. Order here. 190 Underhill Avenue between Sterling and St Johns Place.
Photo via Eataly NYC
Chef's Kitchen at Eataly
The lucky recipient of this gift gets to go behind the scenes with some of the most accomplished chefs. They'll visit Eataly and join a group of guests to watch the night's presenting chefs prepare their signature dishes and all kinds of pasta, explaining and teaching as they go. The best part? Guests then enjoy everything that was just prepared, along with complementary wine pairings. The class-dining-mingling hybrid is $100. Book here. 200 Fifth Avenue near East 23rd Street.
Photo by Brian Harkin
Ultimate Shopping Experience with the Mark Hotel and Bergdorf Goodman
If you've got a lot of extra cash to spend, give someone on your list the ultimate luxury experience. (You can benefit, too, as this is a perfect mother-daughter trip.) Book a room at The Mark (minimum of two nights required) until January 30th starting at $785 a night, to receive a weekend right out of a holiday movie: a $250 gift card to Bergdorf Goodman, daily breakfast for two at The Mark restaurant, a bottle of Billecart Salmon champagne, a personal shopper, stylist or beauty makeover at Bergdorf, one-way transportation to the store via the hotel courtesy car, and messenger service of any purchases at BG back to your room. Book here and enjoy the high life. 25 East 77th Street at Madison Avenue.
Photo via Glenwood NYC
Trapeze School New York
Now a popular tourist destination thanks to a cameo in Sex and the City, the Trapeze School gives students the feeling of running away and joining the circus for an afternoon. For a mind-and-body lesson in gymnastics, fitness, focus, and bravery, they can learn to swing from the flying trapeze, climb and hang from silks, flip on a trampoline, and more. Classes run from $40 to $70. Get a gift certificate here. Locations at Pier 40 at Hudson River Park (outdoors, summer only), Pier 16 at South Street Seaport (outdoors, summer only), and Circus Warehouse at 53-21 Vernon Boulevard in Long Island City (indoors, year round) .
Photo via Citi Bike/Facebook
Citi Bike Memberships
Give the gift of transportation with various Citi Bike gift certificates: $9.95 gets you a 24-hour pass, $25 gets you seven days, and $95 gets you an annual membership. Ditching the subway for at least a day? Priceless.
· Where to Holiday Shop For Difficult People, All At Once [Racked NY]