Take someone on an Adventure.

Much fun as it is to scour the earth for that perfect present at your local bicycle shop or craft bonanza, sometimes what you're looking for isn't on that table. Really surprising gifts don't fit on shelves or dangle from elaborate handcrafted hooks. They are train tickets to places unknown or blindfolded drives to other cities for favorite bands to play or film festivals or great food.

Adventures make incredible presents. I had the fortunate experience in 2007 to be the recipient of a surprise party, which is certainly one kind of adventure that transformed my birthday from pretty good to downright memorable.

My delightful friend Emily had the inspired idea to give her sister, Lauren, an adventure that belongs in this category of extraordinary gifts for Christmas. She bought a nice bottle of wine, got Lauren in the car and then set off for New York City.

They were headed for a delectable vegan feast prepared by a chef in Williamsburg. Even for Emily the details were a bit fuzzy before they arrived, but she discovered through the internet this place in Brooklyn where a vegan chef prepares a four course vegan dinner for a prix fixe every Saturday evening. 4CourseVegan.com Emily had to reserve in advance their spots at the large communal table on their night to dine. This was an experience she'd heard about second hand, but never had herself so investing all this planning and secret was a leap of faith for sure. But both ladies returned to Philadelphia on the following day, aglow with the meal from the night before. (in a good way!) They reported awkward but charming interaction with the other diners of the evening and amazing food.

The thoughtfulness and suspense of Emily's surprise was even infectious, i dare say. Both vegans and both food-lovers, this was a chance for the two of them to share an evening and an indulgence; the gift of time and the gift of a special occassion.

It struck me as such a genius gift that I wanted to share it with all of you. So rack your brains and see if that special person on your list wouldn't love to DO something for Christmas. Now that you think of it, they probably would.

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