Okay, Friends. Christmas is in a couple of days. Any gift-buying from here on out is officially last-minute. But no stress, because last-minute can be awesome!

Some of the funnest, most thoughtful gifts to gift, whether it’s last minute, or I have all the time in the world, are experiences. Tickets to a show, a trip, that sort of thing. You can schedule the experience for any future date, and quickly wrap up a note with a description for the gift. Jordan did an excellent post on this topic with 10 really cool ideas, and it reminded me, I’ve been meaning to tell you about the cooking class I took last summer from Susan Loomis. A cooking class (or any good class) would make an amazing gift!

Ben Blair and I took the class with my brother Josh and his wife Erin, while they were on a trip to France. Susan’s house is about an hour outside of Paris in an old convent, right across the street from a Cathedral. The setting was stunning and the food was fantastic!


The ingredients were farm fresh and we had Susan all to ourselves so we could get individual instruction and ask a million questions. At one point, Susan took us out into her garden to cut fresh herbs to use in the meal. So cool!

We took a million photos because the whole thing was just so delightful. Here’s a little slideshow. Click Prev/Next if you’d like to see.

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My brother Salem gave us a gift this year that I think falls under “experience”, but didn’t require us to leave our house. He bought us a gift certificate to Kiva, which we used to make a micro-loan to a hard-working borrower. Kiva is new-to-me, but I’m so impressed! My kids got to look through all the loan applicants and pick someone they really wanted to help. They ended up choosing a mother with grown children in Samoa.  Coolest part: when she pays her loan back, we can re-loan the funds to another Kiva entreprenuer. It’s like a perpetual gift!

How about you? Have you ever given or received an “experience” before? A class? A trip? A session with a world class coach? I’d love to hear your ideas!

P.S. — For those of you who have seen the House Hunters International episode, Susan’s house is the second one we looked at — the old convent with lots of stairs and gourmet kitchen. Susan ended up deciding not to sell it — so you can still take classes there!