Good things may come in small packages, but the best presents don’t necessarily come in a box.

Live Performances

If someone on your list loves live events but you’re not sure whether he or she prefers Metallica or Mozart, consider a gift card from Ticketmaster, which sells tickets to plays, concerts, comedy shows, and more nation­wide. Cards in denominations of $25 to $250 can be purchased at ticketmaster.com, via the Ticketmaster app, by phone (800-745-3000), or at any Ticketmaster location. The cards don’t expire but are not replaceable if lost or stolen.

Museum Memberships

Annual memberships to insti­tu­tions such as New York’s American Museum of Natural History, the Art Institute of Chicago, and Los Angeles’ Griffith Observatory can start at less than $100. They usually include museum admission, free or discounted tickets to special exhibitions, a subscription to the institution’s publication, and gift-shop and restaurant discounts. Most or all of the membership fee is tax-­deductible, which is like giving a gift to yourself.

Listening Pleasures

Subscriptions to streaming music services let music fans listen to commercial-free entertainment on their devices. Spotify Premium costs $10 per month for high-quality streaming and downloads (spotify.com). Apple Music also costs $10 per month, but with an Apple Music gift card (apple.com/itunes/gifts), you get 12 months for the price of 10. People with long car commutes will appreciate ­SiriusXM satellite radio, which has more than 175 commercial-free music, sports, news, and enter­tain­ment channels. Prepaid service cards are available in $30 and $50 denominations at Best Buy and siriusxm.com. Book lovers will appreciate Audible (audible.com; $15/month or $150/year), which offers audiobooks of more than 180,000 best sellers, new releases, and more. (Note that most services auto-renew, so the recipient will be charged if he or she doesn’t cancel.)

More Holiday Gift Ideas for . . .

  • The Gadget Geek
  • The Home Entertainment Aficionado
  • The Family Chef
  • Your Favorite Foodie
  • The Coffee Connoisseur
  • The Social Animal
  • The Globetrotter
  • The Get Up and Go-Getter 
  • When You Have the Urge to Splurge

  • Editor's Note: This article also appeared in the December 2016 issue of Consumer Reports magazine.

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