50 Outside of the Box Gift Ideas

December 6, 2016 (updated December 2019) | by rebecca stewart

The days to Christmas are quickly slipping away, but maybe you’re still wracking your brain for the perfect gift for that hard-to-shop-for person on your list. Or maybe you’re looking at your kiddo’s Christmas list and your brain is screaming NO MORE STUFF! Last year we introduced our list of 50 non-toy gift ideas, this year, while we’ve kept much of that list intact, we’ve updated, added, and freshened things up with these Outside of the Box Gift Ideas, from tot to teen, and beyond. Of course, this list isn't contained to the Christmas season, it's great for birthdays too!

(There are things on this list that are specific to the Billings area, so please adapt according to your location!)

Season Passes:

  1. Zoos/Aquariums (ZooMontana)
  2. Waterparks (Billings Parks & Rec, The Oasis Water Park, The Reef Indoor Waterpark)
  3. Museums (Wise Wonders Children's Museum/Yellowstone Art Museum/Western Heritage Center/Museum of the Rockies)
  4. Skiing (Red Lodge Mountain, Big Sky Resort)
  5. National Parks (Yellowstone National Park, Glacier National Park)
  6. The Art of Play (Season/Multi or One-time Passes)

Activities/One-time Passes:

  1. Centennial Ice Arena 
  2. Roller Skating
  3. Movies
  4. Concerts
  5. Theatre performance (Alberta Bair Theater, Billings Studio Theatre, NOVA Center for the Performing Arts)
  6. Bowling
  7. Circus
  8. Miniature Golf (Geyser Park – maybe have the fam plan to form a team for their mini golf league! And they also offer arcade games and a laser maze)
  9. Pottery-Painting-Creating (Crooked Line Studio/The Front Porch-Laurel...)
  10. Chuck E. Cheese (you could even purchase the tokens in advance)
  11. Get Air Billings (trampoline park)


  1. Indoor Baseball/Softball/Golf Skill Development (Triple Play Academy - Individual & Family Memberships, The Swing Lab – cage rentals, punch cards, baseball and/or golf lessons)
  2. Gymnastics (Billings Gymnastics School/Magic City Gymnastics)
  3. Swimming
  4. Music/Musical Instrument
  5. Art Class
  6. Horseback Riding Lessons (White Aspen Ranch/McCord Training)
  7. Archery (Superior Archery)
  8. Dance Classes
  9. Knitting/Craft Lessons
  10. Theatre Classes
  11. Karate Classes

Special Treats:

  1. Ice Cream/Frozen Yogurt (Spinners, BBY, The Yogurt Shop-Laurel)
  2. Favorite Restaurant
  3. Coffee Shop Gift Card
  4. Candy Town USA
  5. Mani/Pedi/Hair cut-color


  1. Zip Lining (Outlaw Canyon Adventures)
  2. Gas / Food Gift Cards
  3. Gym Membership (Granite Health & Fitness, Billings YMCA, CrossFit Billings…)
  4. The Grand Escape Room (A real-life escape game for groups of 2-10)
  5. Yoga Class
  6. Spa Day
  7. Weekend Getaway

Non-Toy Shelf-Fillers, Imagination Builders, & More

  1. Books (or Barnes & Noble/This House of Books gift cards are always a hit)
  2. Board Games/Card Games/Video Games
  3. Photo Blankets
  4. Art Supplies
  5. Magazine Subscriptions
  6. Science Kits
  7. Bicycle/Scooter/Skates
  8. LEGOS/K’NEX/Lincoln Logs (Yes, these could technically be considered a toy, but oh the imagination needed to play! You can even shop local at Bricks & Minifigs)
  9. Memory Book/Photo Album
  10. Bedroom/Bedding Makeover