Shopping for stocking stuffers? 3 important considerations before you begin

What should you look for in a gift card, anyway? We have some ideas.

SeaQuest gifts
SeaQuest gifts (Photo provided by SeaQuest)

The December holidays are officially upon us, and while it might feel daunting to dive in and start shopping for all your major, big-ticket items, here’s an idea: Why not start small? Why not begin in the same place where the Christmas Day unwrapping usually kicks off?

Yes, we mean the stockings.

Shopping for stocking stuffers can be enjoyable. Sometimes you’re searching for delicious treats, fun little trinkets or even gift cards. And that got us thinking: What makes for the best stocking stuffers? What makes for the most thoughtful gift cards?

Here are some ideas.

1. Go for an experience-type gift.

Mittens are cute and flavored teas nice, but do you want to know what might be more fun to receive? A gift that embodies an experience.

For example, consider movie tickets (once the world resumes, of course), a spa gift card or even a trip to the zoo or SeaQuest, a petting zoo feeding experience in Lynchburg, which offers advanced interactions with some of the world’s most exotic species.

At SeaQuest, for example, the gift cards come in a cute little branded bag, and they can be used for admissions, the SeaQuest Gift Shop, animal interactions and tokens (more on those soon!).

This is so much more than a one-time present or something that will sit in the back of a cupboard or closet (sorry, mittens and tea). A gift card, in turn, promotes learning, makes for a fun afternoon or could turn into an outing -- or several outings -- for friends and families. This would make for a perfect gift for the parents or teachers in your life.

SeaQuest gifts
SeaQuest gifts (Photo provided by SeaQuest)

2. Make sure the gift is worthwhile.

When it comes to gift cards especially, you’ll want to make sure you read the fine print and understand what you’re buying. You don’t want the recipient of your gift to feel strained when it comes to making that spa appointment or finding out your $20 card won’t make it far at an overpriced clothing store.

You want something that will get good use.

Those experience-type gifts do well in this category, as well. If you were to buy someone a SeaQuest Annual Passport, it gives the holder unlimited visits for a year -- from the first date that they visit. So, let’s say you purchase this for your daughter and grandkids, and they don’t end up making it over to SeaQuest until March. Then the pass won’t activate until March; the day they finally go. (Good to know!) A whole year of SeaQuest admission will certainly pay for itself over time.

3. Something that benefits you too, couldn’t hurt.

We love a good buy-one, get-one promotion or something like $10 back when you spend a certain dollar amount on gift cards at your local coffee shop.

SeaQuest is offering two deals right now that benefit you, the buyer. If you purchase an annual passport, you’ll score 10 free tokens -- or if you buy a $50 gift card, that earns you six free tokens.

Thinking about gifting someone in your life a $100 gift card? That will get you 14 complimentary tokens. Cool, right? If you’ve never been to SeaQuest, these tokens can be used in many vending machines throughout the building to buy snacks, which guests get to hand-feed to certain animals.

The deals run through Dec. 31, 2020.

SeaQuest gifts
SeaQuest gifts (Photo provided by SeaQuest)

SeaQuest is located in the River Ridge Mall.

Some other stocking stuffer ideas include: Vouchers toward ski or golf lessons, beauty items like lotion or nail polish, chocolate, ornaments, personalized items, kitchen trinkets and small books.

Happy shopping!