Indy Maven’s 2020 Holiday Experiences Gift Guide

2020 was stressful enough, so take some of the “What to buy?” worry off your plate with these local experience gift ideas.

Whether you’re celebrating virtually or sending a gift to a loved one from afar, we’ve corralled our favorite experiences for everyone on your list, no matter your budget. Hopefully, these ideas will help you stress less and save time—and just maybe you’ll even discover a few goodies for yourself, too.

We’ve all earned an extra treat in 2020. Check out Indy Maven’s ultimate gift guide here.

Looking for a next-level culinary gift? Arrange for a private virtual class for your child or a small group (five people or less) with Candace Boyd Wylie, chef, creator of FoodLoveTog seasonings, and “Chief Spice Slanger.” You can customize the Zoom class to serve your recipient’s needs, whether they’d like to feel more comfortable in the kitchen or want to learn a few basic dishes.

Private virtual cooking class with Candace Boyd Wylie, price on request, email for inquiries.

Candace Boyd Wylie

Crafty types will love making their own hand-poured soy candles at a 2-hour, instructor-led class at Carmen Randolph’s She SPOT Winery on North Franklin Road. They’ll learn how to melt, color, scent, and pour wax, and will leave with two 8 oz. candles and a few tea lights they’ve created—plus they’ll get to enjoy some wine and appetizers while the candles are cooling.

DIY candle making course, $35 at

SPOT Candles

Put on your jammies, grab your coziest blankets, and treat your family to a 35-minute socially distanced ride in the caboose of Noblesville’s beloved Nickel Plate Express to travel to a local version of Santa’s North Pole. While you enjoy the ride, you can snack on a cookie, listen to a holiday story, and sing carols. Kids will also be able to visit with Santa and take photos from a safe distance.

Christmas Caboose ride, $25-$100 per seat chosen (seats accommodate 2-5 people and are available on select Saturdays and Sundays) at

Christmas Caboose

An at-home chocolate tasting lesson from Joann Hofer of Xchocol’Art Gourmet Chocolate in Carmel includes three different types of chocolate, a tasting sheet, and instructions so that you can enjoy your own tasting experience. Send a kit to a couple of your friends or family, and then gather together virtually to walk through the nuances of each flavor together.

At home chocolate tasting kit, $23 each at

Xchocolart Tasting Kit

Winterlights at Newfields is an Indianapolis wintertime staple—how could it not make the list? The celebration is running until Jan. 3, and this year it’s all outdoors to be mindful of COVID-19 precautions. With over a million and a half lights, you won’t want to miss this holiday event!

Winterlights at Newfields tickets, $13 – $25

Winterlights at Newfileds

Stephanie Groves is a freelance writer in Indianapolis who loves picking out gifts for any occasion.

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