Still trying to find the perfect gift for friends and family on your shopping list? Consider gifting them an experience. In 2010, researchers from Cornell University found people are more satisfied with the gift of experience, compared to material purchases. This doesn’t necessarily mean doling out thousands of dollars for a once in a lifetime vacation. It can be as simple as a complimentary car wash or an all-expenses-paid weekend at a public use cabin.
For the busy bees
Let the workaholics, stressed-out moms and friends constantly on the go have a day off.
A day at the spa is the perfect gift for the person who needs pampering. At Bare Skin Spa in Soldotna, treat your weary friend or family member to a facial, pedicure or manicure, massage or body scrubs. They have several spa packages available, like the Cleopatra-for-a-day special, which includes a 24K gold facial, a milk and honey foot facial, a 60-minute grapeseed oil massage, a warm paraffin dip and sparkling cider or hot tea and grapes to complete the experience. Spa packages at Bare Skin Spa range from $159-$299.
At Renewal Skin Studio in Soldotna choose from a wide variety of facials and body scrubs.
Also, choose from several spa packages at Karlene’s Day Spa. The Purely Pampering Package includes a one-hour full body hot rock massage, foot scrub and hand paraffin dip. Packages range from $140-$395.
Does the busy bee in your life need a new haircut or a fresh manicure? Affinity Salon and Day Spa in Kenai offers dozens of hair services, from beard trims to perms to styling.
Do you know someone who commutes? Treat them to an auto detail. There are several auto body shops in town that offer this service, such as Hutchings Auto Spa and Beau’s Detailing and Mobile Powerwashing in Soldotna.
For the person who loves to move
Treat your active friends and loved ones to some yoga classes. Tides Yoga Studio in Kenai and Yoga Sol and The Yoga Yurt near Soldotna offer several kinds of yoga classes.
Want to give the gift of self-defense and exercise? There are several martial arts facilities on the central peninsula, including Challenge Martial Arts in Nikiski, Redemption Mixed Martial Arts in Soldotna and White Crane Academy in Kenai.
It will be some time before the golfers in our lives will be able to hit the greens again. Get them excited for summer tee time with nine holes, 18 holes, lessons or even a season pass paid for.
At Kenai Golf Course, lessons range from $20 for a half an hour session and $30 for an hour session.
At Birch Ridge Golf Course in Soldotna, standard lessons begin at $1 a minute, rounding down to the nearest five-minute interval. They also offer playing lessons for $100 for nine holes and $150 for 18 holes, with greens fee, range balls and carts included.
Frequent player cards are available at Bird Homestead Golf Course in Funny River. The card offers 10 nine hole rounds, at $150 for adults, $130 for seniors and $100 for children.
Give the gift of free parking for the hiking fiend in your life with a state park annual parking pass ($50 at dnr.alaska.gov/parks).
For the artist
Artzy Junkin in Soldotna is offering art classes of all kinds. A list of their classes and events can be found through their Facebook page.
At Cabin Fever Creations in Soldotna, treat your friends and family to the unique experience of creating ceramic art of your own.
Have a child who can’t stop moving? Consider enrolling them in a dance class. At Forever Dance near Soldotna, both adults and children can take ballet, tap and hip-hop. At Encore Dance Academy in Kenai, punchers can be purchased for jazz and musical theater dance classes for adults. The academy features several tap, ballet, jazz, hip-hop and modern dance classes for children.
Give the gift of music by providing the opportunity for music lessons. Forever Dance near Soldotna offers piano lessons. Local music stores Whiteys Music Shoppe near Soldotna, and Old Town Music in Kenai can provide instruments and resources for local instructors.
Have a friend who just loves local art? A membership to the Kenai Fine Arts Center supports the center and artists and allows the member to receive discounts on entry fees and group exhibitions and discounted workshop fees. A single membership starts at $30.
For the adventurous
Give a getaway with reservations to a public-use cabin. There are more than 200 cabins across the state to reserve all year round. Some are easy enough to drive right up to and offer handicap access, while others require you to trek for miles or fly in. Prices range from $20 to $50, and some are even free. Reserve at dnr.alaska.gov/parks/cabins.
Know someone who’s dreamed of taking flight? Teach them how to fly. For $150, Missionary Aviation Repair Center in Soldotna offers an introductory flight course.
Want to introduce your child to horseback riding? There are several local stables to get you started, like Alaska C&C Horse Adventures in Soldotna or Rollin West Ranch Trail Rides in Funny River, which offers both day rides and overnight pack trips ranging from $60-$225.
For the foodie
Pick a favorite restaurant and take your friends out for dinner and drinks. Most restaurants also offer gift cards, which can be used whenever the recipient needs a night off from cooking.
Treat your children to a tea party at Piroshki’s Russian Tea Shoppe, where they offer full tea parties, call 907-420-0832 for more details.