holiday gift ideas and tips from yours truly

15 Dec

Indie cat meets Santa hat and yes, I made this on an app…

For this post, I’ve compiled a list of things I’ve given in the past (or plan on giving) that I like to think were pretty good gifts. I’m into practical stuff which is reflected in my gift choices.


Gift Buying Tips

  • Try to think about conversations you’ve had with that person. Have they ever mentioned they wanted something? Better yet, have they ever complained about something? Think about ways this problem could be solved and give them that. Practical and needed! Example, “Ugh, my umbrella is so ugly and it’s gonna break the next time it becomes inverted in the wind” -> Look for a nice and sturdy umbrella to give them. I am using an umbrella made by Fulton, a British company, which can be found at Shopper’s and the Bay. It’s really lightweight, small and relatively sturdy. I’ve had it for 3 years and it’s still holding up.
  •  Creep their Facebook. You can get some pretty good ideas by looking at people’s interests or photos. I did this for a Secret Santa this year and I think I got them a pretty good gift.
  • Ask for ideas if you have to. I always have the hardest time buying for my parents. It’s one of those things where if they wanted it badly enough they could just go out and buy it themselves or have it already. I usually end up asking for general ideas instead of specific products then the gift is somewhat personalised.


  • Bath and body stuff – There are pros and cons to these types of gifts. It kinda feels like an easy-out gift especially if it’s those packaged gifts. On the other hand, if you know for a fact the person likes a particular brand or type of product, then I think this is a good choice. If you’re gonna go this route, select different items and buy your own basket or wrapping. Personalize it just for them. I really like Lush products because there is minimal packaging, it’s nice stuff, and smells good!
  • iTunes gift cards – Even if you download music and movies, use the iTunes card for app purchases. A $25 card can go a long way especially if you buy apps on sale (see past post about a sale watching app!).
  • Donations in lieu of gifts. I did this for my parents for their birthday’s (parents are just hard to buy for, ok?). I made a gift certificate and gave it to them along a small gift. For my dad, I donated money to the Movember fund. My mom really likes donkeys so I sponsored a donkey refuge (haha) in British Columbia.
  • Tea! Is it just me or has tea become more popular these days? I’m a big fan of David’s Tea – they have a ton of different teas and they smell so good. I’ve been rotating between Oh Christmas Treat, Cream of Earl Grey and Pumpkin Chai for the past few weeks. As much as I love the flavoured teas, I think Cream of Earl Grey is my fave and is a good place to start if you’re not sure what kind of tea that person likes. I also recommend purchasing the Yo-yo plastic mesh infuser to go along with the tea. It’s probably the best one I’ve used so far and I’ve tried the springy mesh balls, a scooping one, and metal infusers. The tea and infuser should ring you up about $22
  • Laptop cushion! I bought this for  a Secret Santa last year and people loved it. So useful especially when sitting in bed with your laptop. I even use it as a food tray when I eat in front of the TV, haha. The one I have is from Chapters and this one is different but the idea is the same.
  • Luxe items. Get them something nice that they wouldn’t buy for themselves. Unfortunately, I can’t reveal this gift because I’ve yet to give it but let’s just say it’s an authentic designer purse that I found brand new at a consignment store for an awesome price. I think it’s funny how you are more willing to spend $$ on a gift for someone else when you wouldn’t spend that same amount on something for yourself. Example, a really nice sweater. I’d be willing to be like $50 for it as a gift but I wouldn’t buy myself a sweater for $50. Maybe that’s just me.
  • Photobook. Depends on the person who is receiving it, but I think it’s a nice present. I made my parents a photobook for their anniversary. It took a while to compile suitable photos, scan them and arrange them but I think it turned out really nice. There are plenty of deals on photobooks around so it’s not too expensive to do.
  • Fred products. At a gift exchange I went to, Fred products were popular gifts. I like Fred products because they’re funny and creative but practical at the same time. I was given the OCD Chef cutting board. I guess I am a bit OCD with my towel routine that I must do when I dry off…
  • Not sure if this falls into the right category, but I’ll stick it here anyways. If you’re tech saavy and the person you are gifting is not, gift them apps for their phone. A lot of people have Android and iPhones these days and I know with the iTunes store, you can gift apps to people if you know their Apple ID. I think this is a cool way to share a bunch of your favourite apps with people who don’t even know where to begin when it comes to apps. I shall call this the App Basket (gift basket? app basket?) Consider giving mostly paid ones they probably wouldn’t buy themselves because they filter out the paid ones but there is a reason why they cost money in the first place ( ad-free, more features, etc.). Include some free ones too that you think they’d like. Might be a good idea to walk them through some of the apps so they can use it to its full potential.

Anyways, hopefully you’ve found this list useful!

One Response to “holiday gift ideas and tips from yours truly”


  1. in case you missed it… « 1 : 24 - January 7, 2012

    […] holiday gift ideas (or gift ideas in general) from yours truly […]

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