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Beyond Stuff Gift Guide
Instead of wrap-able presents, we asked women entrepreneurs to tell us about the best experience gifts that they offer — and heard from scores of you. Peruse our “Beyond Stuff” 2019 holiday gift guide now! (Credit: Randy Tarampi on Unsplash)

This year, we went beyond “stuff” for our 2019 holiday gift guide.

Instead of wrap-able presents, we asked women entrepreneurs to tell us about the best experience gifts that they offer — and heard from scores of you about your fascinating classes, coaching sessions, apps and more. We even noticed a few fun patterns emerging while looking over your submissions. So, we’ve broken down the fantastic gifts selected for our 2019 holiday gift guide into several categories, and highlighted a few great women-owned businesses offering each type of experience.

If you’re struggling to come up with a creative present, tired of buying (and lugging around) the same boring gifts, or just don’t want to contribute to the mounds of plastic floating in the ocean, think about sharing one of the following intangible presents with your colleagues, clients, friends and loved ones.

They’re ideal for anyone on your shopping list who’s interested in…

1. Becoming a Master Chef
Danielle French of South Pond Farm hosts bread-making workshops and other cooking classes that let customers spend "a day in the country to learn different cooking techniques." (Credit: South Pond Farm)
Danielle French of South Pond Farm hosts bread-making workshops and other cooking classes that let customers spend “a day in the country to learn different cooking techniques.” (Credit: South Pond Farm)

Your foodie friends will love the opportunity to create their own dinners and desserts — or at least pick up a few new culinary tricks. After all, who doesn’t want to feel like they’re on “The Great British Bake-Off?” We liked these women-led classes in particular, but you’re sure to find a similar one in your neck of the woods.

  • Melissa Eboli of Via’s Kitchen — She offers custom cooking courses to customers near her New York City base of operations that help people cook for any kind of diet, from gluten- and dairy-free to those living the keto lifestyle.  Delicious food that’s healthy, too?  That’s a win-win. ($300)
  • Nicole Pomije of Cookie Cups — Pomije’s sweet Wayzata, Minnesota-venture boasts hyper-focused classes on skills like baking cookies, as well as themed offerings such as “Friendsgiving.” What we liked: The classes are great for students of all ages, so parents and kids can learn together. ($40)
  • Danielle French of South Pond Farm — French hosts bread-making workshops and other cooking classes that let customers spend “a day in the country to learn different cooking techniques” in Pontypool, Ontario. Courses end with the opportunity to eat your work in a beautiful setting, bringing new meaning  to “food bliss.” ($85-$125 CAD)
2. Working on Wellness
Megan Smyth has the gift solution for anyone looking to try a mix of exercise classes at a variety of different gyms/studios: her app, FitReserve. (Credit: FitReserve)
Megan Smyth has the gift solution for anyone looking to try a mix of exercise classes at a variety of different gyms/studios: her app, FitReserve. (Credit: FitReserve)

Your fitness-minded family members — or, if anything, the ones who resolved to adopt better habits in 2020 —  will love gifts that help them along their health journeys. While some of these services are available anywhere (or from any phone), others are region-specific — so if it appeals to you, find a local provider.

  • Erin Pitkethly of Robinsong Health — Her keto and low-carb check-ins are ideal for anyone near North Bay, Ontario, who wants a professional to “troubleshoot problems you may be having with your diet, medication, supplements” and more. Because professional help is always appreciated. ($159)
  • Megan Smyth of FitReserve — Anyone looking to try a mix of exercise classes — yoga, Pilates, barre, boxing, indoor cycling and more — at a variety of different gyms and studios can do so with a FitReserve membership. Smyth has partnered with over 1,000 providers in several cities to offer app users  access to as many types of exercise as possible. Isn’t “getting in shape” everyone’s New Year’s resolution? ($55+)
  • Adena Teitelbaum of Pebble — New parents can connect with experts on this app who can help with postpartum and mental health concerns, breastfeeding questions and sleep issues. With it, Teitelbaum aims to affirm “the value of women supporting each other, and community supporting new mothers.” ($29 – $335)
  • Ania Wysocka of Rootd — This app, rated no. 1 in Google Play by users who have needed it themselves, offers relief from panic attacks while they are happening. “Rootd helps to reduce the stigma surrounding anxiety, and ensures relief is always available in your pocket,” Wysocka says. ($5.99 per month, $49.99 per year)
3. Building a Brand
A different sort of experience gift idea: Podcasts continue to be all the rage. How can you get in on the trend, and make the most of it? This online course, and Sam Laliberte, are here to help. (Credit: Pixabay)
A different sort of experience gift idea: Podcasts continue to be all the rage. How can you get in on the trend, and make the most of it? This online course, and Sam Laliberte, are here to help. (Credit: Pixabay)

Fellow female founders will love a chance to learn how to better budget their days, promote their businesses and engage in proper self-care. Lift an entrepreneurial sister up!

  • Alexis Haselberger of her online time management course — This seasoned operations and human resources manager is offering, in her words, “the gift of time and peace of mind” by teaching students how to construct a “personal productivity system.” We’ll take two. ($99)
  • Sam Laliberte of Launch a Podcast on a Budget — Podcasts continue to be all the rage. (We know this because we have an award-winning one; listen here.) How can you get in on the trend, and make the most of it? This online course, and Laliberte — a podcaster and self-employment expert — are here to help. ($109 CAD)
  •  Dr. Kris Sargent of Restor Healing Center — Sargent’s “functional medicine” program, run out of her Glen Ellyn, Illinois office, is tailored to an individual’s strengths and personality to ensure long-term success with health goals. This is for those who need to go beyond bubble baths. ($477)
4. Doing Something a Little Quirky
Kate Mura of The Tarot Show is offering a tarot reading for anyone seeking something a little offbeat for a holiday gift. (Credit: The Tarot Show)
Kate Mura of The Tarot Show is offering a tarot reading for anyone seeking something a little offbeat for a holiday gift. (Credit:  Rusty Tennant)

For anyone who might enjoy stepping outside of their comfort zone (at least a little bit, anyway), there are shows and classes that let recipients tap into their inner performer — or perhaps even see their fortunes.  If you’re not in any of these cities, find a local provider with good reviews.

  • Kate Mura of The Tarot Show — She’s offering tarot readings for individuals, couples and groups. For those looking for something a little offbeat, “this is a perfect experience for groups of friends and for groups desiring greater connection.” Unless you draw the death card. ($40 to $400)
  • Amanda Austin of the Dallas Comedy House– People can find their inner Mrs. Maisels with classes on improvisation, sketch comedy, stand-up and more, all held at this storied institution.  ($295 to $350)
  • Oreet Jehassi Schwartz of SharQui — Shake things up with a belly dancing workout class. It’s fun, as well as great for your tough-to-engage core. With locations around the nation, lots of people could have the chance to try it out. ($8 to $20, depending on location)
5. Taking Some Time Off
Woman entrepreneur Stephanie Jones suggests that "culture seekers, history buffs and foodies" will enjoy the heritage bus and walking tours offered by her company, Cultural Heritage Alliance for Tourism. Read on for more experience gift ideas! (Credit: Cultural Heritage Alliance for Tourism)
Woman entrepreneur Stephanie Jones suggests that “culture seekers, history buffs and foodies” will enjoy the heritage bus and walking tours offered by her company, Cultural Heritage Alliance for Tourism. Read on for more experience gift ideas! (Credit: Cultural Heritage Alliance for Tourism)

Who doesn’t need a break? Your nearest and dearest travel enthusiasts would adore a luxury getaway or a fun new way to explore a city. These are just a few winning ideas, from three different areas of the country.

  • Mary Passalacqua of Woolverton Inn — This weekend hideaway in Stockton, New Jersey offers country breakfasts, plush accommodations and natural surroundings. Plus, Passalacqua has decades of experience entertaining guests, which is more than you can say about most Airbnb hosts. ($210-$399 per night)
  • Stephanie Jones of the Cultural Heritage Alliance for Tourism — Jones suggests that “culture seekers, history buffs and foodies” will enjoy her company’s cultural heritage bus and walking tours, all in the metropolitan Miami-Fort Lauderdale area.  ($79)
  • Lenore Miranda of Island Time Charters — This boat-touring business gives visitors to Martha’s Vineyard the opportunity to see the sights by sea, without dealing with all the traffic — and preferably with a favorite cocktail in one’s hand. ($500)

Updated to clarify how Pebble works. 

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