This past weekend for my birthday my husband took me to Manhattan. What a great gift --especially when you shouldn't really give clothes to a women who is six months pregnant. We took in the Radio City Christmas Spectacular at Radio City Music Hall (I've wanted to see the Rockettes ever since I was little, and they didn't disappoint), as well as Spamalot on Broadway (the absolutely hilarious highlight of the trip). We did lots of Christmas shopping, ate some really good food and, for a twist, took a rickshaw ride through snowy Central Park from this Turkish dude who was way more entertaining than carriage horses. The whole experience was much more memorable than a sweater.
Not that gifting experiences is new, but I thought you might want to see about the various companies springing up all over offering gift cards for experiences. Here's a roundup from U.S. News & World Report's December 19 issue:
"More classy than cash and less hassle than scouring the mall, gift cards can be a perfect fit. And now these pint-size presents can snag experiences as well as merchandise ... From wine tasting in Philly ($40) to securing a musician to help you write your very own song in California or New York ($1500), Xperience Days has something for nearly every price point -- up to a zero-gravity flight in Florida for 27 people ($110,000).
Try belly dancing in San Diego ($20) or a one-hour closet makeover ($105) in Washington, D.C. via Signature Days. Go off with three pals for a five-day golfing trip at St. Andrews ($22,500). Or get down to Oaxaca, Mexico, for the 'Yoga & Chocolate Retreat' ($5,500).
The three-day 'Covert Ops & Special Forces training' in Florida ($2,950), from Great American Days, includes lessons for shooting Uzis and rescuing hostages. Or you can make a fool out of yourself (and a large mammal) at the Clown-Bullfighting School ($250) in Tennessee."
Most of these offer the standard heart-pounding experiences like skydiving and white water rafting and hot air balloon rides and car racing, etc. I'd like to see them begin offering more experiences where people can live a different life for a day or a week -- the kind of life they thought they might have when they were young and starry-eyed, before reality got in the way.
For all of those people who thought they wanted to be a dancer when they grew up, the Rockettes offer "The Rockette Experience", a 3-hour workshop taught by a Rockette in the Rockette rehearsal hall. Participants learn choreography from the Rockette repertoire, including the legendary kick line. I think my leg just might fly right off if I tried to kick as high as my shoulder, so this would decidedly not be the experience I'm looking for. Truth be told, when I was little I was convinced I'd either be Miss America or the first female pro football player in the NFL. No lie.