I have to confess that more than once I have found myself wandering the aisles of the local drugstore this time of year, contemplating a Chia Pet or some other As Seen On TV gadget as a potential holiday gift. To save you from any similar last-minute, panic-driven decisions (‘Tis the season for overwhelm!), I’ve put together a list of experiences and simple luxuries from around the state that are sure to add some merry to the season and put smiles on the faces of the loved ones on your list.
For around $60, you can give the art lover in your life a yearlong admission to the RISD Museum. Recipients get a laminated card in the mail, which I love because it feels old school and sorta secret club-ish. They also get a 10 percent discount at Cafe Pearl and a heads up (before the general public) about upcoming special events via regular emails. A few years ago, as part of my membership, I was able to buy VIP tickets to a private Todd Oldham-led tour of his retrospective All of Everything and it was magical! For a list of museums around the state, go to Things to Do > Art & Culture Museums, at VisitRhodeIsland.com.
Cooking’s great and all, but I don’t love it. And I know plenty of other people who feel the same. Enter Feast & Fettle, the Rhode Island based meal prep and delivery service. Feast prides itself on using the best quality ingredients (locally sourced whenever possible) and is the closest you can get to homemade without actually rolling up your sleeves and (if you’re anything like me) making a huge mess. Food is delivered in a temp controlled bag, so all you have to do is heat and serve! They offer plans for singles, couples, and families. Also check out Bites by Bre, The Holistic Trick, Good4U, Minymeals, and Savory Fare.
Get your significant other, mom, dad, bro, or sis on the mat for some zen (more stretching, less stressing) courtesy of a class card from Essence Yoga in Pawtuxet Village. At 10 classes for only $100 (That’s $10 a class!), they can dip their toe into a variety of options that are ideal for newbies as well as those returning to practice after some time away. Chances are your local studio offers a similar dealio!
Unsure what to get that thrill-seeking friend or family member? Flying lessons might be just the ticket. One of my besties from college who’s also penguin plunged and bungee jumped gifted herself lessons from Horizon Aviation, Inc. last year and adored her time in the air. Other schools in the area include Newport Aviation, North Central Flight Center, and Air Ventures Flying School, both in Smithfield. Who knows, your BFF could wind up earning their pilot’s license and flying you down to Florida for February vacay next winter!
We all have that one friend or relative who’s using a selfie (taken with an old iPhone) or outdated picture of themselves for either their website, LinkedIn profile, or both. I can’t think of a better gift for them than a mini headshot session with a local photographer. There are so many talented professional photogs around Rhode Island (In the past, my go-to’s have included Stacey Doyle and Trisha Kelley) who regularly offer these types of abbreviated shoots for business execs, actors, bloggers, and so on at a lower rate than their regular one.
Put a new twist on the traditional spa day! Gift your favorite person some time to recharge and refresh with a salt cave (also called halo therapy) or infrared sauna session. Both treatments are said to help promote things we all want more of in our everyday lives like better, more restful sleep and an overall sense of calm and relaxation. When it comes to salt therapy, I adore Saltitude in Lincoln, where a seat for 45 minutes of meditative bliss is around $45. (They’ve also started offering a limited number of private massages – including one for couples – in the cave!) As for infrared, I like The Preserve in Middletown, where a 30 minute sauna for one person is priced at $29.