An experience can be the gift of a lifetime: Think Galápagos trip or woodworking class


The holidays are here, and we’ve got plenty of gift ideas to keep everyone happy. Skip to gifts for: Kids, pets, cooks and the socially conscious as well as those who are into health & wellness and home décor. And you’ll find even more holiday gift ideas here.

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REI Galápagos Islands & Otavalo highlands multisport trip


REI, well known for its active lifestyle stores, runs adventure trips around the globe. Put the Galápagos, with its astonishing variety of wildlife, in that peak lifetime experience category. During the 12-day trip, participants can happen upon giant turtles, swim with penguins and watch piles of marine iguanas soak up the sun, among many other such experiences. The trip to the highlands, also in Ecuador, includes hikes on volcanoes in the Andes. The guides are naturalists; the hotels include gorgeous haciendas; and the groups are small. Many 2016 dates are available. $4,899 to $5,399 per person.

Build Your Own Damn Stool kit

The BYODS DIY kit from Offerman Woodshop Collective in Atwater is perfect for beginning to experienced woodworkers. It includes a unique camphor branch seat, four poplar legs and assorted hardwood wedges for easy at-home assembly. Available with pre-turned spindle legs or, for the more ambitious carpenter, square leg blanks to shape to your liking using the OWS Spokeshave Kit. From: $165.

(Lawrence K. Ho / Los Angeles Times)

Sound Bath with Jamie Ford


This is a gift for someone with an alternative-medicine bent. Jamie Ford plays gongs and quartz bowls for a small group in her studio, while you lie down and relax to the sounds washing over and through you. It is a most relaxing hour. $25; private baths also are available. 4688 Eagle Rock Blvd., Los Angeles.

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Go Fish

Know someone who is thinking about going fishing? Someone who might like a chance to talk to some of her or his favorite chefs? Sign that person up for one of Lucy Lean’s Go Fish charter excursions. Lean seems to know everyone in every kitchen in Los Angeles. Providence’s Michael Cimarusti has gone, and so have Mélisse’s Josiah Citrin, Maison Giraud’s Alain Giraud and many others. And they brought snacks. There are several trips a year, so you can find the one that’s most convenient. Visit Lean’s website for more information, including photos from previous trips. $125.

(Bethany Mollenkof / Los Angeles Times)

Six Taste Thai Town tour


If you’ve never properly explored Thai Town, this is the way to do it. Over the course of a couple hours, a guide from the Six Taste tour company will lead participants on a walking tour of Thai Town and visit at least six restaurants/markets/cafes. It’s an affordable way to get a real taste of the area. Six Taste also offers a dumpling tour in the San Gabriel Valley and tours of Sawtelle Boulevard, Little Tokyo, downtown L.A. arts district and other areas. Tours are approximately $60 per person. For a full schedule of tours or to request a tour visit

(Molly Mahar / Caprina Creative / Off The Saw)

Introduction to Furniture Making with Off the Saw

Design and build your own piece of furniture as Laura Zahn of Off the Saw leads a workshop focusing on project planning, lumber selection, safe use of woodworking machines and hand tools, wood joinery, assembly and finishing. Students should bring a pencil, notebook and tape measure to class. Tools are provided. $475 (students should expect to spend a few hundred dollars on materials). 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. Thursdays, March 3 to April 21.

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