Uh oh...

It appears that you're using a severely outdated version of Safari on Windows. Many features won't work correctly, and functionality can't be guaranteed. Please try viewing this website in Edge, Mozilla, Chrome, or another modern browser. Sorry for any inconvenience this may have caused!

Read More about this safari issue.
Statewide Culture 1

New Skills: Christmas Gifts that Multiply


If giving an Arkansas Experience as an alternative to more “things” is on your Christmas shopping list, then you will love this Alternative Christmas Gift Ideas list to give the gift of new skills this Christmas.

How long are your “things you wish you knew” wish list? This could be the year! Many local businesses and artists offer opportunities to learn a skill or craft in their stores.

While going somewhere or being together might be your jam, your loved ones may instead want the opportunity to learn a new skill. So, whether it’s a mom who has put aside her passion or a brother who needs a hobby, check out these fun ideas for giving the gift of a new skill for Christmas.

  • Sewing, Crafts and QuiltingMake Do. in Searcy offers makers classes for adults and children in the crafting space. Check with a local hobby shop, fabric store, or creative center to see what’s available in your area.
  • Become a Master Gardener – The University of Arkansas Division of Agriculture Extension services offer Master Gardner and Junior Gardner classes and certifications with a research-based curriculum for all things green.
  • Learn Photography – The University of Arkansas at Little Rock offers a minor in photography and a certificate program for amateurs. Time to dust off your camera and try the manual mode!
  • Chocolate makingMarkham and Fitz or Cocoa Belle Chocolates offer chocolate-making courses. Learn the properties of bean to bar and how the region of origin can shift the flavors.
  • Improve your golf game and take the Arkansas Golf Trail Challenge. With the Arkansas Golf Passport, you can receive exclusive perks among the 12 participating courses. In addition, golfing the state with high-rated pros may just up your game!
  • Learn horse racingTake the Lead Academy in Conway offers equestrian classes and exposure to the Western lifestyle. Prepare for the regular racing season at Arkansas’s premier race track since 1904.
  • Discover Beekeeping – moving to a healthier lifestyle is at the top of many lists when January rolls around. So why not switch from sugar to your own backyard honey? Beekeeping courses move the novice to the expert level with basic understanding and skilled challenges.
  • Trace their Historyfinding ancestral stories is an art form and takes much concentration and curiosity. Offer an online membership, then the gift of time to work on it together. Make plans to include a trip to visit some of the places you discover in your research and connect to your past.
  • Cooking class – maybe it’s time to perfect a family recipe. Arkansas kitchen stores offer courses in everything from handmade pasta, charcuterie, weeknight dinners, gumbo or bread. Goodness, it is the gift that keeps on giving!
  • Zipline and Adventure Climbing – you may need to offer a spring or summer “I owe you” coupon, but imagine flying over the Ozark Mountains or team building on a ropes course in the St. Francis National Forest.

Photo used with permission from Jamestown Crag Climbers.

Other Gift Guides that offer more ideas for your Christmas List

Unless otherwise noted, images are used with permission from Arkansas Parks, Heritage and Tourism.

Meet the

Learn more about .

A little about .

Keisha (Pittman) McKinney lives in Northwest Arkansas with her chicken man and break-dancing son. Keisha is passionate about connecting people and building community, seeking solutions to the everyday big and small things, and encouraging others through the mundane, hard, and typical that life often brings. She put her communications background to work as a former Non-profit Executive Director, college recruiter and fundraiser, small business trainer, and Digital Media Director at a large church in Northwest Arkansas. Now, she is using those experiences through McKinney Media Solutions and her blog @bigpittstop, which includes daily adventures, cooking escapades, #bigsisterchats, the social justice cases on her heart, and all that she is learning as a #boymom! Keisha loves to feed birds, read the stack on her nightstand, do dollar store crafts, cook recipes from her Pinterest boards, and chase everyday adventures on her Arkansas bucket list.

Read more stories by Keisha Pittman McKinney


Visit Keisha Pittman McKinney’s Website

Like this story? Read more from Keisha Pittman McKinney


Join the Conversation

Leave a Comment

One response to “New Skills: Christmas Gifts that Multiply”

  1. […] If you enjoy quilts, other Arkansas Quilt shows, or the Arkansas Quilt Trail may be something to check out! Remember, it’s never too late to learn a new skill. […]

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Submit a photo

We select one featured photo per week, but we show many more in our gallery. Be sure to fill out all the fields in order to have yours selected.

  • Accepted file types: jpg, png, Max. file size: 5 MB.

Regions Topics

What are you looking for?

Explore Arkansas

Central Arkansas

Little Rock, Conway, Searcy, Benton, Heber Springs

Northwest Arkansas

Fayetteville, Bentonville, Springdale, Fort Smith

South Arkansas

Hot Springs, Pine Bluff, Texarkana, Arkadelphia

Explore by Topic