by Emma Sarran Webster | November 29, 2016 | Lifestyle
Let’s be honest: The most frustrating people to shop for during the holiday season are the people who already seem to have everything—or the ones who just aren’t that into stuff. But you can’t exactly gift them nothing. So what do you get? Take the experience route, with one of these seven interactive options sure to impress.
Chicago Helicopter Experience kicked off its Holiday Lights tour on November 25. Give a loved one tickets to this high-flying experience, which offers panoramic views of Chicago—including Millennium Park, Michigan Avenue, and the Lincoln Park Zoo—lit up in all its holiday glory. If you want to go all out, opt for the “Ride with Santa” upgrade: Up to five people can fly together with jolly St. Nick in his sleigh. Holiday Lights tours are offered every day between 5 and 9 p.m. (Thursdays only for rides with Santa), from November 25 through January. 1. If the giftee can’t make it by January 1, the gift voucher can be used for any regular helicopter tour until April 30. Chicago Helicopter Experience, 2420 S. Halsted St., 773-840-9280
Set your favorite foodie up with a customizable chocolate tasting (for as many as 10 people) at Old Town’s artisan chocolate shop and cafe, Cocoa + Co. The store’s owner, Kim Hack, will curate the experience to fit the group’s tastes and interests. Not only will your giftee (and you, if you join!) get to sample a selection of artisan drinking chocolates, bars, and bonbons, but he’ll also learn about the history of chocolate, the different cacao varieties, and the bean-to-bar process, adding even more color and meaning to the experience. Cocoa + Co, 1651 N. Wells St., 312-624-8540
Whether you’re shopping for a theater buff, or someone who just always loves to be a part of the action, a ticket to Tony n' Tina’s Wedding will fit the bill. This interactive musical theater experience is more like, well, a wedding (even better: an ‘80s wedding) than a staged show. Guests become part of the big day, first attending Tony and Tina’s ceremony at Lakeview’s Resurrection Church, and then moving on to the reception at Chicago Theater Works, where they’ll get to indulge in the Italian-style buffet dinner and champagne toast, and break it down to the best of the ‘80s on the dance floor. The show runs through April 2017. Tony n’ Tina’s Wedding, 3309 Seminary Ave./1113 W. Belmont Ave.
Speaking of interactive theater—there’s always the option to go dark, instead of light. Get tickets for one of The Murder Mystery Company’s high-stakes public shows (there are shows scheduled for January 13, and almost every other Friday beginning in February) or set up a private event. Your giftee will enjoy a three-course dinner, while being immersed in interactive scenes of crime and punishment. The Murder Mystery Company, 525 W. Arlington Place, 888-643-2583
For the foodie who is more into the savory than sweet, consider gifting a reservation for one of GT Fish & Oyster’s shucking classes. Guests will get the chance to not only learn how to properly shuck oysters with the help of professional GT chefs, they’ll also learn about the best wine pairings—and of course, indulge in the goods while they’re at it. The first two classes of 2017 will be held on January 18 (at 6 and 8 p.m.). GT Fish & Oyster, 531 N. Wells St., 312-929-3501
Shopping for an adventurous someone who’s maybe not quite ready to jump out of a plane? Opt for the less terrifying option with an iFLY gift card for indoor skydiving. The experience will include flight training and superhero-style flying, within the flight chamber. And, if you want to see just how awesome your gift is, you can watch from the handy flight deck viewing area. iFLY, 800 W. Scott St., 779-368-4359
A ZipFit Denim gift card is the perfect medium between a full-blown experience gift and a good, old-fashioned clothing present. The company uses a technology it developed to find perfect-fitting designer denim for its customers. With a gift card, your fashion-focused recipient can book a private showroom consultation with an expert, who will take measurements and determine the best jeans based on body shape and size, from a selection of designer brands. Bonus: The customization doesn’t stop at the ordering process—ZipFit Denim also includes tailoring to ensure they’re your best-fitting jeans. ZipFit Denim, 700 N. Green St., Ste. 202, 872-216-2451
PHOTOGRAPHY COURTESY CHICAGO HELICOPTER EXPERIENCE; BY JENNIFER MARX (COCOA + CO); COURTESY OF HERON AGENCY (TONY N’ TINA); grimprov.com (MURDER MYSTERY); BY ERIC KLEINBERG (GT FISH & OYSTER); Facebook.com/iFLYUS/; BY ROBOTOASTER (ZIPFIT)
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