Scouting Out the Perfect Gift Card

Gift Card Brooklyn BouldersBrooklyn Boulders. Photo courtesy of Brooklyn Boulders.

Picture this: You’re standing in a checkout line after a long day of work, Michael Bublé is blasting through the speakers, and you realize that you forgot to pick up a holiday gift for the nephew you’ll be seeing at tomorrow’s Christmas party. Your eyes drift over to a rack of gift cards. Maybe he’d prefer to buy something for himself, you think halfheartedly. There’ll be other holidays and birthdays to get something special. You just don’t have time this year and you only dropped by the store to buy milk, after all …

Stop right there. Gift cards have earned a reputation as being a lazy gift giver’s best friend, but it doesn’t have to be that way. It’s all about where you’re buying from—gift cards actually open up a world of experiences, if you’re willing to just do a little digging. While anyone can enjoy a prepaid Visa or Starbucks gift card, they lack the personal flair that marks a good gift. That’s why we’ve come up with a list of thoughtful and inventive gift card ideas that show you care, while still saving you hours of shopping at the mall.

Urban Axes
2 Union Square
(857) 997-0025

Whether you’re blowing off steam, practicing your aim, or just looking for something new to try, Urban Axes is the place to go. Kick back with some brews while licensed professionals help you sharpen your skills in hour-long sessions. This gift card is perfect for the quirky hobbyist who is always looking for the next best thing.

Gift cards are sold in increments of $20, $25, $50, $100, and $200 and can be used on axe-throwing activities or merchandise. Sessions cost $25 per hour and must be booked in advance.

Photo courtesy of Urban Axes.

Artisan’s Asylum
10 Tyler Street
(617) 284-6878

For the creatives in your life, a gift card to a class at the Artisan’s Asylum is a perfect fit. Whether you’re buying a day pass or studio space for the artists who just need a workspace and little push to finally finish that project they’ve been talking about, or an Intro to Metalsmithing class for the Game of Thrones enthusiast, the Artisan’s Asylum has a little something for everyone looking to get their hands dirty.

Gift cards are offered in any amount. Classes can range from $25 to $345, plus materials. 

The Slutcracker at Somerville Theatre
55 Davis Square
(617) 625-5700

With performances occurring throughout the holiday season, including on Christmas Eve, The Slutcracker is the show to see for anyone who likes to push the envelope. Not for the faint-of-heart (or the kids), The Slutcracker is an adult burlesque version of Tchaikovsky’s classic ballet featuring local performers specializing in hula hoops, burlesque, ballet and more. Buy tickets for your friends who need to get out of the house (and maybe offer to babysit), or the ones who get out too much, for a show that will leave them blushing and begging for more. 

The standard ticket price is $30 and can be purchased online. 

Taza Chocolate Factory
561 Windsor Street
(617) 623 0804

Ideal for the sweet tooth, the local history buff, and especially the Somerville family, a tour of the Taza Chocolate Factory includes a talk about stone ground chocolate and a tasting at the facility. The 45-minute tour is recommended for anyone above the age of 10. Take it to the next level by purchasing your favorite chocolate-lover a slot in Cacao 101: The Sensory Panel Experience, a two-hour class about direct trade cacao sourcing and ingredient inspection. Seats are limited and must be booked online in advance. 

A public tour of the facility costs $8 per person and can be booked online. The Cacao 101 class will be held on Feb. 15 at 6 p.m. and costs $35 per person. It can also be booked online. 

Brooklyn Boulders
12A Tyler Street
(617) 623-6700

It’s hard to get yourself to the gym, especially in those cold New England winters, but Brooklyn Boulders may just provide the extra level of excitement needed to stay active. The indoor rock-climbing gym is equipped with certified instructors ready to teach everyone how to get up the wall, with or without ropes, from beginners with no experience to experts looking to lead climbs. 

Gift cards can be purchased in increments of $50, $75, $100, $200, and more. Classes range from $45 to $149, not including gear rental, based on skill level. 

This story appears in the Nov/Dec print issue of Scout Somerville, which is available for free at more than 220 drop spots throughout Somerville (and just beyond its borders) or by subscription.

Like what you’re reading? Consider supporting Scout on Patreon!

About the Author

Lilly Milman
Lilly Milman is the managing editor at Scout Magazines. She started as an intern while attending Emerson College in downtown Boston, where she received a B.A. in Writing, Literature and Publishing.