Consumer Reports: Unusual gifts for the adventurous
They're the people on your gift list who are tough to buy for, the ones who have everything that money can buy or live in tiny apartments with little storage space. Why not give them an adventure instead? Try hang gliding lessons or the services of an errand runner, suggests Consumer Reports.
No matter what their tastes may be, your friends and relatives may find that unexpected experiences and treats just may be the "It" gifts this holiday season:
• Cloud 9 Living (cloud9living.com) and Excitations (excitations.com). Release their inner James Bond: Send your husband or wife around a track in a Lamborghini or up in a biplane. Give your golfer a lesson with a PGA pro or your kayaker a day paddling on a river. Through websites like Cloud 9 Living and Excitations, you can search throughout the U.S. for gifts for a range of people and pocketbooks. (Prices and availability depend on location.) You can also let your giftees choose their own experience by giving them a gift card. For more information, call 866-525-6839 (Cloud 9) and 877-839-2483 (Excitations).
• Stumptown Coffee Roasters (stumptowncoffee.com). Stumptown is a nickname for Portland, Oregon, where the coffee company is based. On the Stumptown Coffee Roasters' site, pick the variety of coffee you want to send, the bag size (8 or 12 ounces), how many bags you want mailed and for how long (every two weeks for three, six or 12 months). For example, a 12-ounce bag of House Blend starts at $20 per shipment every two weeks. Send one for three months (the shortest subscription length), and the cost is $120; six months is $240; a year is $480. Prices include shipping, but not tax. Gift cards are also available. For more information, call 855-711-3385.
• Hire a Chef (hireachef.com). If you want to splurge on a gift that involves food, send a professional chef to create a special meal in the kitchen of a friend or family member — cleanup included! You can find one through the website of the United States Personal Chef Association. They're vetted USPCA members; search by town or ZIP code. There are almost 1,000 chefs in the database and many cuisine options. Consumer Reports found a chef in Providence, Rhode Island, for example, who will cook for a party of three to 20 people for $75 per person, plus the cost of groceries. For more information, call 800-995-2138.
• Local Harvest (localharvest.org/csa) and Department of Agriculture CSA (search.ams.usda.gov/CSA/). Turnips and kale and tomatoes — oh, my! Give a farmstand to a friend. Through CSA (community supported agriculture), you can support local farmers by sending fresh vegetables, fruit and other farm fare— including organic products certified by the Department of Agriculture. Some CSA programs operate year-round, and many offer additional items like eggs, cheese, meat, baked bread and flowers. Search the Local Harvest website to find one in your giftee's area. If your giftee lives near the farm, she may be able to fill the CSA box there. Through the Local Harvest site, Consumer Reports found a farm in Michigan that sells various gift certificates, including one for $140 for four weeks of a full share of produce delivered (good for a family of four). For more information, call Local Harvest at 831-515-5602.
• ICLM (iclmdirectory.com). Gift an extra set of hands to pick up the dry cleaning or do the grocery shopping. The International Concierge and Lifestyle Management Association directory has listings for concierge services in more than 45 U.S. locations and some international cities. Members agree to a code of ethics. To search, select a city from the website's drop-down menu. For example, Consumer Reports found an errand service in Texas that offers gift certificates and charges $25 for the first half hour, $11.25 for each additional 15 minutes. For more information on ICLM, call 919-443-2425.
For more information, visit ConsumerReports.org.
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