Dear family and friends:
Stop reading now. No really. Stop. You’re ruining your own Christmas surprise if you go on and I cannot be held responsible for your actions. Got it? Good.
All joking aside, around mid-October each year I write out a list of the people I like enough to buy gifts for, and jot down a few ideas I have for them. At the top of the page, I give myself an overall budget and then a range for each person (or couple or family). Because I love giving gifts, I cannot be trusted to not overspend. It’s a whole thing.
The biggest challenge I encounter in finding the perfect gift for my loved ones is trying to come up with something they don’t already have. No one needs eleventy billion cookbooks now that Pinterest and Google have saved the paper, you know?
(Just kidding – I effing love cookbooks.)
Gift cards are great, but I’ve learned a lot of my family and friends are like me and they forget they have the gift card for ages and ages and ages and get angry every time they realize they’ve purchased something at XYZ store without using said gift card. Money’s a good one, too, of course but nothing beats the joy of opening a gift. Nothing. But what do you give to the person who (seemingly) has it all?
Give the gift of comfort.
One of my favourite, cozy-making items happen to be my Kyrgies slippers*. Because they’re made of wool, they keep my feet cool and comfortable in the warmer months but warm and toasty when the temperatures outside have plummeted. Learn why I love them here. They’re perfect for everyone on your list who has feet.
Space heaters, heated blankets, or beautiful hot water bottles also make great warm-making gifts for the ever-colds on your list. A gorgeous throw blanket (obsessed with this one) paired with a good book or bottle of wine? Amazing.
Give the gift of ongoing surprise.
Show me someone who doesn’t love receiving exciting mail (i.e. not flyers and bills), and I’ll show you a liar. Or something. But seriously, with subscription packages/programs for every interest and budget point, a subscription box membership is a great way to give someone an ongoing thrill – monthly, or quarterly. Some of the best ones I’ve encountered:
- Simply Beautiful Box (Canadian – and they have a men’s box)
- Benjamin Bridge BB Club
- Doodle Crate
Not into the subscription box idea? A magazine subscription – especially for kids – is a great alternative!
Give the gift of experience.
Last year, we toned down gifts for my son and one another to save money for our trip to Florida. It meant we could take F to a Tampa Bay Lightning game (first round of the playoffs, might I add!), the Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo, and the Florida Aquarium – three experiences he still talks about with so much excitement (and so do we). It doesn’t need to be grand – just something different, fun, or that you know they’d love.
- Museum pass
- Winery tour & tasting
- Trip to the spa
- Dinner at a favourite or fancy restaurant
- Sailing tour
- Cooking class
- Paint Nite or Plant Nite
Give the gift of giving.
Family members really have it all? Give a donation in their name to a charity of their choosing or get together and volunteer as a group. Not only will you help others, but you’ll have the opportunity to do something meaningful together and build memories that last far longer than the wrapping paper and twinkly lights.
Other cool giving gifts:
- Sponsor a night in a warm space for someone experiencing homelessness
- Sponsor a stay at a lodge or home for the loved ones of cancer patients (or cancer patients who need to travel for their treatment)
- Sponsor a dog rescue by covering transport fees, kennel fees, or his or her spay/neuter