(If you are shopping, check out our 5 top deals with Save.ca – lots of ideas and savings here!)
Meaningful gifts do not have to cost an arm and a leg. Here are 15 great suggestions for fabulous gifts that keep the heart full and your wallet too.
1. Make an Edible Bouquet
Instead of buying a bouquet to take to your host, make an edible bouquet. Look at this gorgeous one made by Paul Zammit of the Toronto Botanical Garden. This one is made of kale, sage, rosemary, and African blue basil.
2. Upcycle Old Sweaters
3. Make Your Own Advent Calendar
Instead of buying an advent calendar, make one! There are so many ways to craft your own. Our family favourite is an advent calendar of Christmas books. If you don’t have 24 of them, you can easily wrap up library books or supplement Christmas books with tried and true favourites. We got the idea from here years ago, and it has become a fixed tradition.
4. Make Your Own Lip Balm
Lip balm makes a great stocking stuffer, teacher or coach gift. We did this for Valentine’s favours, and loved it. We’re still using it; it lasts for ever! You can find the recipe and method here.
5. Visit the One of a Kind Show
There are hundreds of ideas for gifts for around $20. The Show runs until December 6th at Exhibition Place. I always find a bonanza of beautiful and reasonably-priced gifts, and I enjoy every minute of browsing and speaking to the artists and makers.
6. Give The Gift of Time
Taking someone’s children for the afternoon so they can indulge in some peace and quiet is priceless. It’s the rare parent who wouldn’t be grateful for this simple but precious gift.
7. Raid The Pantry
Did you jump-on the canning trend that is sweeping across kitchens around the country? Amy Bronee’s step-by-step book called The Canning Kitchen is ideal to wrap-up and giveaway now, or use to create your own delectable preserves to gift come next year’s holiday season. Nothing is more satisfying on a winter’s evening than the taste of summer atop a warm plate of pasta. Here’s how-to can your very own tomato sauce.
8. Break a Sweat, Not the Bank
For the same cost as a movie ticket, consider treating a friend to a new workout class. Fitness trends like arial yoga, Studio Lagree and paddle board fitness are just a few of the hottest classes in town. Beth-Anne tried paddling on land, and let’s just say it is a lot harder than it looks!
9. Layer Some Love in a Jar
There are so many ideas for great gifts in a jar on the net. One of our favourites is hot cocoa – it’s a crowd pleaser and seasonal and looks so pretty with the addition of crushed candy canes or mints. Thoughtful and do-able makes for a sweet package.
10. Plant a Seed
Admittedly seeds are not tops on most people’s list but the amazing thing about them is that it’s a gift that keeps giving. The experience of planting the seeds and watching them sprout and grow is just as magical as reaping the small harvest. After learning about the importance of urban gardens for our eco-system and the integral role bees play in our environment, seeds don’t seem like such a silly gift.
11. Transfer Photography on Wood
If you have access to a black and white laser printer and a jar of Mod Podge, you can make create lovely personalized gifts for next to nothing by transferring photographs onto wood. Head over to the Home Depot and you can get many blocks out of a single plank of wood, or be a little more enterprising and look for appropriately sized pieces in their bins of leftover wood for free.
12. Make Natural Cold-Pressed Artisanal Soap
There’s still time! Most cold-pressed soaps – the beautiful kind that sell for $6-10 a bar at upscale stores and that everyone loves to receive – require about four weeks to cure (or include a note asking your recipient to wait a couple of weeks before using if needed). Consider it an intermediate recipe in the kitchen, and you’ll see that with care and attention, just about anyone can make these luxurious gifts for a small fraction of the retail price. Excellent beginner online tutorials abound on google, as do creative and frugal ideas for molds.
13. Make Chocolate With Your Own Hands
Hello, need I say more? Easy on the wallet, easier to make, and full of heart. Make them.
14. Create Hand-Painted Glasses
These have been on the to do list ever since reading Beth-Anne’s tutorial on how to make them. An inexpensive set of glasses from Canadian Tire, IKEA or the dollar store could be transformed into functional works of art with the help of Q-tips and paint. Practical never looked so pretty.
15. Bring Cookies and Company
Slow time down by bringing cookies to someone you don’t see as often as you wish you did and eat them together. Baking the cookies yourself has a timeless charm, but buying them is great too – a good Oreo is hard to argue with, especially if it enables more time for the company component of the gift. What matters is that along with the sugar, you show up, smile, and stay.