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I find that you can come up with the best Christmas gift ideas when you just listen to the people you’re buying for. When I am listening to the people in my life and not worrying about what I am going to say next, I find myself hearing what they like, what they don’t like, what they enjoy and what they would like to do more of or have been meaning to buy or do.
Here are some of my go-to Christmas gift ideas:
A personalized gift package
If you know what the person likes or if you can make a delicious coconut Thai curry dish, for example, or dessert, consider making a personalized gift package for the people on your gift buying list. As a gift to some friends and family, we have been making a delicious dish that we have been perfecting over the years, and put the dish into a holiday Ziplock container and then put that container into a holiday gift bag and include in the recipe, in case the person wants to make it for themselves or know what ingredients are in the dish. I also add in some Christmas baking (usually peppermint bark and one other dessert that I decided to make that year).
This has been a real hit (and now a tradition). The benefits are that people don’t have to make dinner for a night leading up to Christmas and get to indulge in a treat. We hand deliver the gift bags, so we get to see our friends for a quick visit in the busy holiday season.
Here are some other personalized gift package ideas to get you started:
- Baked goods, candy and fudge gift bags that include a Christmas note in each bag – this could be a gift for coworkers or as a hostess gift over the holiday season.
- For the tea or coffee lover: a mug, packets of teas (try a variety, or include their favourite coffee or tea, if you know, or your favourite).
- Make fruit vodka from scratch, bottle it and hand deliver it to friends and family over the legal drinking age. Click here for a link to a recipe. (Note I have never made this before, only been the lucky recipient)
- For the wine and cheese lover: include some of their favourite cheeses or your favourite cheeses, a package of crackers and add in your favourite bottle of wine with a magazine as holiday reading.
- For the beer lover: go to a beer speciality shop and pick out some of their favourite, or if you don’t know, then your favourite beers and add in a gift card from the store, so they can go back and buy more of the ones they liked. (This is one of my go-to for Mr. OYP’s dad. He’s almost impossible to buy for.)
Gifts for parents or people who already have everything and don't need more stuff
Make a calendar with your family photos. This has been a hit for both of our parents, in my experience, and is now a MUST RECEIVE gift for the parents. It not only is like a photo album showcasing all your photos and memories, it’s also a personal gift that you can’t buy from the store.
Actionable tip: You do need to start this early though, if you are going to do it. There are several steps involved and you want to start early because the printing and shipping is beyond your control and you want to leave enough time for that or be prepared to spend extra to get it faster.
My favourite company to make and order calendars through is Picaboo.
However, they are more expensive than some other companies (wall calendar regular price starting at $25 U.S. but go on sale) and ship out of the U.S., so for my fellow Canadians or people looking for less expensive calendars, I would recommend Vistaprint. Vistaprint’s calendars, though, not as “pretty”, are cheaper (wall calendar regular price starting at $26 but on sale $13 Cnd) – they also look cheaper.
Do they love going to a specific spa or beauty clinic in town? If so, get them a spa gift card or service from the spa or beauty clinic.
Gift a Groupon experience e.g. pottery class, a yoga class or experience you can do together.
Wine or beer – gift your favourite wine or beer
A house plant – This is a good gift for someone who has moved into a new place, a person who has no plants in their place or could be a gift under $10.
Random gift ideas
Do you have nieces or nephews? Consider making them a custom story book: “Adventures of [child’s name] with Uncle/Auntie [your name]”. Write a short story based on your adventures together and include your favourite photos together. It’s a great keepsake and unlike any other book they have.
Hanging travel organizer – the Vera Bradley brand is by far my favourite. I have gifted many of them. It’s one of those must gift gifts that I give to the women in my life. They LOVE them.
The best features are that the travel organizer is lined, washable, has separate compartments and can be hung almost anywhere.
Bed Bath and Body Works candle – they smell wonderful and there are lots of options. They even have some that smell like Christmas. They aren’t that cheap, but they do go on sale – so try and buy them when they’re on sale. They make a perfect gift either alone or with some baked goods, for example.
The Art of Racing in the Rain, by Garth Stein
Things to do when it’s raining, by Marissa Stapley.
A perfect book to read while on vacation. It’s easy to read, and includes a journey of loss and romance.
The Alchemist, by Paulo Coelho.
This book is for the person in your life who believes we all have a purpose in life and is looking for theirs and could use some motivation in doing so and in following their dream.
Gift ideas for the 20 something
Kiehl’s face and body products – I have tried MANY different facial products and brands, and I highly recommend Kiehl’s. It’s affordable-ish, good quality but also has a reward program and often has online sales and free shipping.
White undershirts (check Costco for a good package deal)
Gift cards for gas, liquor store, food (like Subway, coffee shop, grocery store)
A book: Set for Life: Dominate Life, Money, and the American Dream, by Scott Trench
It’s valuable for teaching financial lessons to carry through ones life.
(Note: This book is really for anyone.)