The best experiences to give as gifts


What do you give the person who has everything? Try giving an experience this holiday season.

The Red Lion Inn in Stockbridge. The Red Lion Inn

If you’d rather gift your loved one an experience rather than an object this holiday season, New England offers hotel getaways, exciting shows, and adventures in nature.

Ahead, check out five local experiences that may help with your shopping list.

The historic Red Lion Inn — featured in Norman Rockwell’s 1967 painting, “Stockbridge Main Street at Christmas (Home for Christmas)” — is hosting a Norman Rockwell Experience this January. Guests receive overnight accommodations, a “Freedom from Want” family-style lunch at the Rockwell Table in the main dining room, and a professional photo shoot to document it. Rockwell’s favorite drink and snack — oatmeal cookies and a whiskey sour kit — and tickets to the Norman Rockwell Museum with a guided tour. Guests must book between Nov. 25-Jan. 16 for travel between Jan. 1-16. The cost is $613 per person.

Does your loved one love to hike, visit farms, and explore historic properties? With a yearlong membership to the Trustees of Reservations, members can explore more than 100 farms, trails, beaches, and historic homes and properties at a discounted price while helping the Trustees fulfill its mission of protecting and caring for historic properties across Massachusetts. Members also get a discount on parking and receive 10% off in gift shops. The cost for an individual is $50 and for a family is $70.

The bald, blue men of the high-tech theatrical show “Blue Man Group” have been entertaining audiences with music, comedy, and color at Boston’s Charles Playhouse since 1995. “Blue Man Group will rock your world. Blow your mind. And unleash your spirit,” according to the show’s website. The unique show includes sensory stimulating graphics, audience interaction, and plenty of paint-splattering drumming. Autism-friendly performances offer modifications such as reduced sound and light levels. Tickets start at $49.

No matter the season, your loved ones can don bathing suits and send their giddy selves down a waterslide at Great Wolf Lodge in Fitchburg. The family-friendly resort offers an indoor waterpark, restaurants, arcade, climbing wall, bowling, mini golf, story time complete with costumed characters, and more. Kids can also pick out special wands used in a property-wide live-action game called MagiQuest. Themed suites include the Wolf Pup Den, Junior Cabin, and Grizzly Wolf Den suite. Rates start at $300.

Disney on Ice is bringing two popular Disney movies, “Frozen” and “Encanto,” to TD Garden for a night filled with singing, skating, aerial acrobatics, and more. The show is hosted by Mickey and Minnie, of course. For added fun, Disney on Ice offers a printable surprise certificate on its website perfect for gifting tickets for the holidays. The show takes place Feb. 22-26. Tickets start at $25.

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