Last Minute Gift Guide: Choose an Experience

by Aaron Royce

Hilton Honors’ survey ranks U.S. cities’ holiday shopping habits.

This season, DMV residents can rest assured they aren’t alone in their shopping experiences. Hilton Honors, the guest loyalty program for hospitality company Hilton, ran a nationwide survey reporting shopping trends in various U.S. cities. This included behaviors, re-gifting rates, and times when consumers purchase gifts as various holidays draw near this December.

The Honors survey revealed that forty percent of shoppers wait until the week, or even the day, before Christmas to begin their shopping. Some don’t finish at all.

In Virginia, material gifts weren’t trending, which, given the area’s affluent growth in the past several years, was a slight surprise. However, D.C. didn’t make the ‘naughty’ list for procrastinating shopping cities, like Orlando and Cleveland. Compared to the national average, they usually don’t wait until the day before Christmas to complete shopping (that honor went to New York); in fact, they are more likely to finish several months beforehand. Many are less likely to re-gift presents than the national average (48.6%), too.

When D.C.’s citizens don’t finish their shopping, however, about 40 percent of those surveyed pointed the finger towards not knowing what to buy. This can be a tricky topic to unpack around this time, as many wish lists request the hottest toys, tech or ‘it’ fashion items that can be forgotten or phased out within the year before the holidays begin again. The survey indicated D.C. residents were more likely to gift experiences, like staycations or trips, rather than items.

Need ideas? These were our picks for gift-worthy holiday experiences.

Staycation at the InterContinental: If vacations aren’t within your budget, why not a staycation? The Wharf’s celebrated hotel has acclaimed brunch, a fitness center, L’Occitane spa, rooftop pool/bar and enchanting views of the Potomac River. Bookings can be made in-person and online for some perfect holiday R&R.

Rodarte exhibit: This celebrated exhibit at the National Museum of Women in the Arts showcases the works of Rodarte fashion designers Kate and Laura Mulleavy, from their first collections to collaborations and film work. The exhibit will close on February 10, so be sure to check it out before it’s gone!

Miss Saigon: This acclaimed musical, perfect for drama fans, follows the romance between a U.S. Marine and a South Vietnamese bargirl in the 1970s. Originally created by Les Miserables producers, the show runs at the Kennedy Center until January 13.

Exotic vacation: Tired of Christmas in the snow? How about Christmas in the sand? Hawaii, Rome, Tulum, and the British and U.S. Virgin Islands were ranked as the best holiday getaways this year.

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