Retreat gifts – it’s a topic that pops up regularly in our Retreat Leader Hub Facebook group, and for good reason. Organizing a thoughtful gift for your attendees adds a personal touch that can make the entire experience that much more memorable.
Whether you fill a welcome pack with items to help attendees settle in on arrival or send them off with a parting gift they can reminisce on in the future, it's a wonderful way to show your appreciation to the people who trust you to lead them on a life-changing experience.
With choices come questions. That's why we have curated a selection of retreat gift bag ideas from suggestions made by our community to help you decide what's right for your group.
To make it easier to narrow down the contents of your ideal goodie bag for attendees, we have organized the ideas into categories.
From arts and crafts to natural body products, digital offerings to COVID-inspired items, we share ideas to inspire.
What Are The Key Elements of Planning Successful Retreats?
Timeline planning • Selecting your venue • Itinerary & program design • Sustainability considerations • Marketing • Financials & profitability • Legal forms & liabilities • Insurance
Common Considerations and Questions Around Retreat Gifts
Before jumping in and making a gift selection, take a moment to consider the following questions. The answers will help to guide you when making a selection.
What is the ideal retreat gift budget per attendee?
The responses from our community ranged from $10 to $100 per person, depending on the retreat.
Factors that influenced this were the length of the retreat, whether or not it was a first event for the retreat leader, and if the offering included add-ons that held value without cost, for example, access to a digital course that’s already been recorded.
How do the items included tie into the overall event theme?
For example, if you are holding an Ayurvedically-inspired retreat, then a goodie bag containing a dry brush, tongue scraper, and essential oil roller might be appreciated.
When is the best time to hand over gifts to attendees - on arrival or departure?
If the bag contains items that attendees can use on the retreat, then offer it on arrival.
If it’s something they can take home as a reminder of the experience, then it’s up to you.
You could also consider doing both. As an example, gift practical items such as reusable water bottles for use during the retreat when attendees arrive. Then, at the end, send attendees off with a commemorative bracelet to take home.
If attendees are traveling far or flying, are the favors something they can easily pack to take home?
Opting for take-home gifts? Consider whether the keepsakes you hand out are easy enough for your attendees to pack and travel with.
Are gifts gender-neutral and inclusive?
Will they appeal to every attendee on your retreat, no matter who they are?
Might you include something from the destination you are hosting in?
Support local businesses and build up the communities where your retreats are held. As an example, you could approach local spice traders for herb packs to take home.
Can you buy in bulk or arrange a discount/cross-promotion with the supplier of your gifts?
To get more value out of your budget, an idea is to look at securing items in bulk for a discount.
Otherwise, discuss a cross-promotion with one of your valued vendors.
35 Retreat Gift Bag Ideas
As we mentioned, many of these retreat gift bag ideas were put forward by members of our Retreat Leader Hub Facebook group, so thank you to everyone for their valuable contributions to the discussion over the years.
Arts and Crafts
1. Adult coloring books – ignite a sense of fun in attendees with adult coloring books which can improve focus, sleep, motor skills and vision, as well as reduce stress and anxiety.
2. Trinkets that attendees can use again in the future - such as torchlights and pens.
3. Hats, tank tops, vests, t-shirts - branded gear that attendees can use during the retreat. Very useful for group photos!
4. Sarongs - locally sourced for beach days or breezy evenings.
5. Yoga socks - for practicing on chilly mornings or in colder destinations.
6. Aromatherapy mask spray - a gentle sanitizing or refreshing spray for attendees to spritz into their mask after traveling.
7. Pocket hand sanitizer made from essential oils – something that is easy to carry around and accessible while on retreat.
8. Good luck charm - perfect after the year we have all had! We highlighted four of our favorites from around the world in a recent Instagram post:
- Worry dolls / muñecas quitapenas (Guatemala)
- Evil eye / nazar (eastern Mediterranean)
- Waving cat / maneki nedo (Japan)
- Hamsa hand / khamsa (Israel & the Middle East)
9. Online courses - if you have been offering online retreats or courses, then it can be a useful retreat gift bag idea to drop an access or discount code in for your participants. You have already produced the course, so it doesn't cost money, yet it adds immense value.
Experiences To Try Back Home
10. Cooking class - an informative class on how to prepare nutritious meals at home using locally available ingredients.
11. Artisan chocolate – something small and pure to satisfy the sweet tooth while on retreat.
12. Yogi Tea bags - choose your favorite herbal, green, or black tea. Or, blend your own formula and share information about its taste and health benefits!
13. Energy-boosting snacks - made by the community with locally sourced ingredients. A great pick me up and energy booster for those who need it.
14. Chakra bracelet – a thoughtful gift that can remind attendees of the transformative experience they had while keeping their energy in balance.
15. Handmade jewelry from local artisans - supporting businesses located in the community where you host your retreat can benefit them while giving your participants a beautiful reminder of their time exploring.
16. Mala bracelet - for more focused meditation. A reminder for attendees on how to stay grounded and connected on retreat, as well as once they are back at home.
17. Lotus charm - to represent the transformation that everyone is going through.
Natural Body Products
18. Essential oil vial - whether it’s to promote sleep and calm nerves, boost energy and aid digestion, or improve mood and relaxation, a pre-made mixture with usage instructions can be a useful gift for attendees.
19. Sandalwood soap - travel-sized and easily accessible from your local organic supplier.
20. Bath bombs - easy to make yourself and a great gift for attendees who may need a soothing, cleansing, or moisturizing bath during the retreat.
21. Face mask - detox and purify skin during a retreat cleanse.
22. Natural sunscreen - for protection on sunny beach days, hikes, and walks around the community.
23. Peppermint or lavender essential oil facial spray - a soothing and cooling skin spray that naturally cleanses the skin.
24. Copal incense - not only is it used for rituals, but it also works to keep mosquitos away.
Personalized Thank You Notes
25. Handwritten notes - a handwritten note, perhaps with an image of the group or from the retreat venue, is a nice post-retreat gesture. You could always include a special discount code for attendees to redeem when they sign up for (or recruit someone new to) your next event.
Retreat Appropriate Items
26. Gratitude cards - a retreat gift idea that has been popular in our community. Give them to attendees at the start to cultivate a personal and group practice of gratitude.
27. Eye pillows - while many attendees might already have their own, something themed or individually handmade can be a beautiful and thoughtful gift.
28. Meditation crystal - something small to elevate the participant's experience.
29. Journal - retreat gift bag ideas from our community included unique journals from countries that they travel to, gratitude journals for use during the trip, or branded journals.
30. Mini restorative bedtime yoga flow - place a print out in participants’ rooms or send a pre-recorded clip for them to play at a convenient time.
31. Personalized water bottle - reusable and branded or personalized as a momento of the experience.
32. Tote bags - branded and handy for hauling gear around the retreat venue.
33. Yoga block - if the venue isn’t supplying these, it can be one of the more useful retreat gift bag ideas for attendees, given their practicality.
34. Mat cleaner - another of those practical favors that never go unappreciated.
35. Eucalyptus towels - to cool down participants after an energetic practice.
We hope that after reading this, you are brimming with ideas for your next retreat, even if it doesn’t have a firm date set yet. Now is a good time to gather your thoughts and really think about how we can add more value to attendees who are eager to get back out there and learn and grow through your retreat, albeit more cautiously emerging from COVID.
If you have any ideas to add to our list above, then get in touch! We’re putting together a holiday giveaway for our Instagram account and would also love to hear from you if you have an idea for inclusion there.
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