Last-minute gift ideas from Ruth to the Rescue

Giving the gift of experience and 'out-of-the-box' ideas


If you're struggling to find something original or unique and don't have a million-dollar budget, Ruth to the Rescue is here to help.

The consumer unit did some research and found a list of ideas that might be interesting alternatives to the standard necktie, perfume, or gift cards you might rely on year after year.

One stop on our search for unique gifts was a Detroit institution, Pewabic Pottery. It's been around for more than a century, but have you ever thought about sending someone to a pottery class?

"We find that once people get here and put their hands in the clay, sometimes they never leave," said Chrys Bonnay-Lewis is the Manager of Education Programs. She says the teachers at Pewabic are all working artists and they can teach you anything you want to know about the ceramic arts.

"You can actually make objects without any skill at all," said Bonnay-Lewis. She said this class is for just about anyone. "If you like the idea of getting dirty, or you're creative, or you want to be creative!"

Classes start from as little as $40 dollars per person for a single group class which can be perfect for a "date night" or a "girls night out". You can also take classes that last for several weeks, with a charge of $210 for an 8 week course. There's really something for everyone, and Bonnay-Lewis
says the this kind of gift is unforgettable.

"When you go on vacation, you have an experience that stays with you forever, and that's what we're offering here in the education department!"

One student told us the classes are good for her mental health, "For me, it's been like my therapy, no phone calls, I just come and work," said Aislinn Scofield.

Speed, Flying, Grocery Shopping

If throwing pottery isn't' thrilling enough, how about shifting gears at the Michigan International Speedway! You can give someone a ride around the track located in Brooklyn, Michigan about 70 miles from Detroit. "The Richard Petty Driving Experience" is offering a holiday discount of 10 percent off all reserved driving experiences.

Here's a quote from the company's holiday press release. "Give them what they really want this year, spreading holiday cheer to the people on your list at speeds up to 165 MPH. Put them in the driver's seat of a 600-horsepower NASCAR race car starting at $404.10 ($449 value). If they'd rather let a professional do the driving, stuff their stocking with a 3-lap, high speed Ride-Along, which starts at $59 ($99-$135 value). Real life NASCAR racing thrills are available at premier speedways nationwide and make unique gifts for the thrill seekers, NASCAR enthusiasts, or gearheads on your list."

If you know someone who likes to get physical, consider gift certificates for the Detroit Flyhouse Circus School.

"I think a lot of people come to take our classes because they've tried other types of exercise and they're bored," Michael Buss told Local 4 earlier this year.

The school offers training for children and adults in circus arts like aerial silks, trapeze, and acrobatics. Eight week classes start at 120 dollars for the winter session, and gift certificates can be bought in any denomination.

Grocery Tour, Good Health

If health is on your mind, you can also give someone the gift of a grocery store tour. It may sound unusual, and that's the point. It's a gift that is educational, fun, and it can change the life of someone you love.

"In one hour, I can point out some key highlights to make what goes in the basket a lot healthier," said registered dietitian Gail Posner. She's talking about your grocery basket. During her grocery store tours (at local Hiller's), she takes you through the aisles pointing out nutritional dos and don'ts. Her goal is to make you become a smarter, more health conscious shopper.

"I like to point out misleading information, so they're not tricked by clever advertisers," said Posner. "Over the years, hundreds of people have been on my tours and when I run into them a year, three years later, they always remember it."

Posner can help you read nutritional labels more effectively and will introduce you do new foods.

"It gives your insight into somewhere that you go so frequently, that you kind of get numb to it," said tour guest Irene Soble of Birmingham.

"There's so many different alternative, so many options. You get so confused. You need to spend a little bit more time walking down the aisle," said Sandra Jacobowitz of West Bloomfield.

"This is a great holiday gift idea. for those new year's resolutions, give the gift of health!" said Posner. By the way, prices for group tours start at $20 per person, with a limit of 12 people. Posner also offers private tours for smaller groups, check on the price.

Below are the websites for all the gifts we've mentioned- and some other ideas your might consider. Whatever gifts you give, Happy Holidays!


Other gift ideas:

Learn how to make glass art at the Glass Academy in Dearborn.

Give the gift of comedy either a show or a class at the Michigan Actor's Studio.

For animal lovers, the Detroit Zoo has numerous gift options.

There are other pottery lesson options in Metro-Detroit -- The Creative Arts Studio is in Royal Oak.

Now that you've seen our ideas, maybe they will inspire you, but you better get moving time is running out!