Since I was a mini-broad I’ve loved surprising people – occasionally to my parents’ dismay. They’d often arrive home from a round of golf and I’d done something like cover their kitchen in flowers (aka: dandelions and other weeds), and set up a romantic dinner (aka: undercooked spaghetti with sauce from a jar) for the two of them.
That being said, it’s no surprise Christmas is one of my favourite times of the year. I’ve usually finished shopping before the calendar’s been flipped to December, not because I’m incredibly organized, but because I’ve been too excited to purchase the items for each person on my hit-list.
If the thought of hitting the shops induces a micro-panic for you, I’ll be releasing a series of gift guides starting November 30th. There will be something for everyone – from the man in your life to your nieces and nephews, from your boss to your granny and gramps.
In the meantime, here’s a few tips to keep in mind as you start the giving season:
– Be practical. As much as the one-time-use toy might get a laugh, think about longevity and what won’t be tossed out in 2017’s spring cleaning.
– Don’t be too practical. My mom tells the story of how for their first married Christmas my dad bought her a sewing machine and French onion soup bowls. Thank God it’s funny now, but… no. Just don’t. People are known to buy things they need for themselves, but the things they desire fall the wayside off the priority list. Choose something they want! And, gents, definitely on your first Christmas together.
– Buy local and sustainable when you can. Made in China is a bad sign most of the time – how far has your gift travelled? Help out a local artisan, or a company you know takes ethical and sustainable measures where possible. Shopping for kids? Many popular kids toys are available at ma-and-pop type shops as well as the big box stores. Try sourcing them there instead. You’ll help out a local family instead of a CEO getting her third vacation home.
– Everyone likes treats. Tea? Chocolate? Wine? Giving someone a favourite is an easy and cost effective way to make something personal.
– When it comes to kids, think about their parents. Keep them quiet, unbulky, and easy to maintain. Think: books, Lego, games or pieces to a favourite toy or console they already have, or items they’ve specifically asked for.
– Thought outdoes price every time. Sure, I love a few very pricey gifts from my past. But sentimental, thoughtful gifts will beat a deep pocket any day.
Hopefully this doesn’t get your wheels spinning in a stressful OMG-I-have-no-time way, but more of the yay-I-get-to-make-my-favourite-people-smile type of way.