Hello all. So it’s that time of year again. The time where you spend more money in a few weeks than you do for the rest of the year. Lol. Holidays can become quite expensive what with dinners, outfits, events, travel and of course gifts.
No matter how hard I try I somehow end up spending more than I planned and I find myself a few days before Christmas stumped as to what to get some of my loved ones. I decided this time to do some research and get some ideas. Now I am sharing some of those ideas. These gifts are primarily for girls but many can be for guys as well. I’ve divided these gifts into different price ranges (prices given in US dollars) from the very cheap to the high end. Let’s get to it!
UNDER $10 US
JOURNAL– Despite living fully in the electronic age many of us still have use for plain old paper and pen. I am personally a journal junkie (something I picked up from my mother). There is always something you need to write down, just in case those pesky electronics let you down. Gone are the days when journals were regular notebooks that you wrote “TOP SECRET” on. Many companies make beautiful journals with artwork on the covers and high quality paper inside. Journals are items that can go from literally a couple of dollars and up. However for the budget conscious buyer there are loads of options well under $10. Here are a few options I personally adore from Urban Outfitters, Moleskine and Paperchase. These brands are typically found in the US and UK but in 2015 you can get anything online and most local bookstores carry fantastic options.
Paperchase Bicycle Journal £4.00($8.00 US)
Urban outfitter poppin in rose gold8.00
Moleskine Volant in red and salmon$5.95
(left) Paperchase Bicycle Journal £4($6 US). (top) Urban Outfitters Poppin small notebook in rose gold $8. (bottom) Moleskine journals in red and salmon $6 each.
BATH PRODUCTS– These are oldies but goodies. From the time I was about 13 I was a fan of both giving and receiving bath products. They are great! They are functional, can be very reasonable and are beautiful gifts. You can buy a selection of bath bombs for your friend who loves a good long soak in the tub or travel sized shower gels for the girl who is always on the go. These smaller items are also great stocking stuffers. Where you live will obviously determine the brands you select but some suggestions include Lush and Bath and Body works (BBW). They both have really wide selections and LUSH is known for using fresh ingredients in their handmade cruelty free products.
(top left) Lush’s Yoga bath bomb- I’ve heard rave reviews about this one.(top right) Lush’s The Experimenter bath bomb which turns your bath water pink, blue and gold . Bath bombs $8.95 each. (bottom left) BBW Be Joyful travel size shower gel and (bottom right) BBW A Thousand Wishes travel size shower gel $5 each.
BAKED GOODS– Cookies, cupcakes, shortbread, mince pies…yumm. The gift of edible items will never get old. They won’t be wasted and after Christmas there is no extra junk to take up room in your home (except for some extra junk in your trunk depending on how much you eat).
If you are a skilled baker with time and energy to spare you can bake some of your favourite recipes yourself. To cut cost I recommend doing it in bulk so everyone that year gets a box of cookies. This way it comes in at far less that $10 per person.
For those who don’t have the skill or simply haven’t get the time to roll out 12 batches of peppermint sugar cookies you’ll have to purchase them ready done. You can hit up your reliable local or supermarket bakeries or chose to support some small business persons plying their trade from their home kitchen. Either way you’ll end up with some sweet treats to share with your loved ones. Some ideas are sugar cookies, Christmas bark and mini cupcakes.
(from top left) Star sugar cookies with jam centres, decorated sugar cookies, Christmas bark – recipes all found on Martha Stewart’s website and mini chocolate peppermint cupcakes from Tide and Thyme blog.
DIT (Do It Themselves)– This is one of those gifts that the recipient has to assemble and make themselves. For example a mug with a packet of cocoa and marshmallows or all the ingredients for a cupcake in a mason jar. These kinds of gifts add novelty, it’s fun to do stuff yourself once it isn’t too difficult. It can also be a very personal gift: if your friend loves pink marshmallows and dark chocolate cocoa, your gift can be tailored to suit this. Lastly these gifts can be cheap. You can get mugs, small baskets and mason jars for mere dollars or less and the rest of the items such as sugar and cocoa powder are very inexpensive. Again, these are the kinds of gifts probably best made in bulk to lower cost . P.S They make great gifts for coworkers.
(left) Cupcake mix in a jar from Hostess with the Mostess. Tip: the cupcake can actually be baked in the mason jar. (right) Cocoa and marshmallows in a mug from Seeking Shade blog.
DIY– Of course DIY gifts can be very thrifty once planned well. They include anything from previously mentioned baked goods to gifts in jars but other cute ideas are homemade body scrubs , lotions, lip balms and bathbombs. YouTube and various blogs are choc full of tutorials on how to make these gifts using simple household items. These gifts are again personal and novel.
(left) DIY bath bomb from Martha Stewart and (right)DIY scrub from The Kitchen McAbe.
A PLANT– Know any friends with a green thumb? Or even those with a brown thumb? A small house plant is cute and affordable, many being found in supermarkets and plant shops for under $5. You can buy any small plant , a flowering plant or a kitchen garden herb but my personal recommendation is a succulent. Succulents are small, can fit on desks and coffee tables,they are beautiful and coming in countless shapes and colours and most importantly very hard to kill. Take it from me a hardened plant killer who now has not one but two flourishing succulents! You can place them in a cute pot and tie a ribbon around it for presentation. These are great gifts to give in bulk as well.
(top) Mini succulents in copper pots. These planters are for sale at Julia Kostreva’s online shop.(bottom left) Numerous colours and types of succulents to chose from. Picture from Anna Sheffield. (bottom right) A succulent garden using an array of mini succulents in a large shallow pot. From Quinn Cooper Style.
ADULT COLOURING BOOK– It could NOT be a 2015 gift guide without one of these on it! Somehow over the past year or so these books have become increasingly popular and are so on trend right now. Many people say they are great because it’s calming. I can personally concur, as I have one myself. These books come in far more intricate designs than a typical children’s colouring book making them slightly more challenging and more time consuming (in a good way).
If you chose to give someone a colouring book you can add a set of colouring pencils or pens to go along with it. These books are practically in every book store in the world although some of the nicest ones I’ve seen were actually in airport book stores! So if you’re traveling it might be a great place to pick one up.
Lost Ocean and Enchanted Forest books illustrated by Johanna Basford $10 each on Amazon.(bottom right) Steadler colouring pens.
KITCHEN GADGETS– My sister inspired this. She has a very unnatural obsession with any kind of kitchen gadget. So to clarify, your cutlery, cookware and dinner ware, that’s all regular boring stuff. Your blender, stand mixer, food processor and other small appliances while being gadgets they are all normal and run of the mill….aka boring.
The gadgets I speak of include exciting things like cheese boards, tea infusers, vegetable spiralizers, and much more. I have a personal recommendation: the brand Norpro. They have a very wide array of products which are very reasonably priced and good quality and I’ve seen their stuff selling all over the world.
(top left)Vonchef Stand Spiralizer $15. (top right) Active Kitchen hand held spiralizer $11(or less!) . (middle) Marble pattern cheese board and slicer by Norpro $16. (bottom) pair of manatee tea infusers $15.All available on Amazon.
A NOVEL– For the reader girl in your life, this is a go to gift. With the dawn of kindle many persons opt for ebooks but you’ll find the hardcore reader still loves and appreciates the feel and smell of a physical book. New books get churned out daily and there are loads of genres to chose from. I personally love YA and Fantasy so my suggestions are based on my preference however there are tons of on line guides with great suggestions for all kinds of novels. Most paperbacks fall into this price range and some hardcovers do as well. For suggestions, Good Reads never disappoints and Amazon also has a great list of best sellers.
(top left)Twilight Tenth Anniversary Edition Life and Death by Stephanie Meyer $13.(bottom left) The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh $11 this one has made quite a number of suggested reads lists.(right) Dangerous Deception by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl: the second installment in the spin off series of Beautiful Creatures series $15. All available from Amazon
TECH ACCESSORIES– These are those things everyone needs but never thinks to ask for. Earbuds, phone cases,tablet stands .Your loved ones will definitely appreciate these functional gifts.
(left)Apple Earbuds $18.(right)Newstyle Case and Detatchable bluetooth keyboard for Samsung Galaxy Tablet $19.
Woah.. getting fancy now. Lol. Spending more than $20 US per gift is getting out of a poor party girl’s comfort zone but sometimes it isn’t about the literal dollars but rather the bang for your buck. So keep that in mind when selecting gifts for your squad this year.
GIFT CARDS– There was a time where gift cards were ridiculed. They were considered last minute or thoughtless or lazy etc because they seemed so impersonal. That is no longer the general consensus. Gift cards are super useful for the girl who actually does have everything or for friends and family who live too far away to physically give them a gift as they are bought online and delivered electronically. They are also long lasting as many have no expiration date.
(left) iTunes and (right) Amazon gift cards are two popular options.
MAKEUP – Palettes, lip colours, seasonal gift sets. These are all the rage year round and more so during the Yuletide season. I think these are great gifts for makeup tic in your life or even for an ordinary gal who likes to doll up every now and then. The thing about palettes and gift sets is that you get a little bit of everything and it’s a great opportunity to see what you really like. Many of these sets may have only sample sizes of things but that’s fine, if you don’t like it no worries and if you love it then you can go purchase the fullsize.
Some makeup making waves right now include Lorac, Urban Decay and SmashBox all with awesome palettes and gift sets. Others include Too Faced – any of their products with cocoa powder are instant sell outs and Nyx – a brand which has really upped their game recently massively expanding their product range yet keeping it totally budget friendly with very good quality.
(right)Too Faced Melted French Kisses Lip gloss set $25 from toofaced.com. (top left)Lorac PRO Metal Eye Palette $28 from ulta.com. (bottom left)NYX Beauty on the Go Palatte with 36 shadows, 9 blushes and 7 lip colours $30 from nyxcosmetics.com [BARGIN ALERT!]
Note: All of these websites ship internationally.
ARTWORK– So you more than likely won’t be able to afford any original artwork for under $30 US. You won’t even get an original print for that amount. Luckily there are so many more ways you can give a friend something from their favourite artist while sticking to your budget. Many artists now, in addition to their original work and original prints produce items featuring their work that may be functional such as kitchen towels and calendars or 3D pices such as figurines and jewelry and more affordable ways of enjoying their work such as coffee table books and regular prints.
Golden Apple Toad King Throw pillow cover 18″x18″ by incredibly talented and prolific Barbadian artist Cherise Ward $23. Available from society6.com ships internationally. P.S The model in this is my sister. Strangeling: The Art of Jasmine Beckett-Griffith coffee table book by Jasmine Beckett-Griffith which contains reproductions of some of her most popular pieces with accompanying poetry.$25 from Amazon.
Read or watch any gift guide and this buzzword will get thrown in there somehow….LUXURY gifts.
What does that mean?
When I imagine luxury I think of Italian sports cars, champagne, yachts, people dripping with gold while sipping champagne and driving their Italian sports cars back to their yachts… you get the idea.
However most of us will never live that way and when we speak of luxury we mean much different things. For me, a luxury gift is anything which costs more than I am usually comfortable spending on any one item but I do anyway. When you’re on a budget you can probably only buy two or three luxury items at Christmas. These are the kinds of things you get your sibling or significant other or bestie or if you’ve been a really savvy saver all year you might have enough to get all your loved ones luxury gifts. Here are some.
JO MALONE FRAGRANCE-Just as with the adult colouring book, no gift list for 2015 would be complete without mention of this company. And believe you me my friends with good reason. Jo Malone is synonymous with luxury. The packaging is simple yet rich with a black and white colour scheme and the fragrances are all clean yet decadent. Jo Malone makes perfumes, bath products and perhaps most famously candles. For someone who truly appreciates a good fragrance this is the perfect gift.
(left)Peony and Blush Suede home candle by Jo Malone £42 (approx $64 US).(right) Pomgranate Noir cologne £85( approx $130 US) for 100mls. Unfortunately jomalone.com only ships to the UK however there are multiple retailers who ship internationally such as Macy’s and products can also be bought on Amazon.
A SUBSCRIPTION-Back in my day the only subscriptions were for magazines and CDs. Nowadays, subscription boxes are taking over fast. Basically you receive a box of surprise goodies and preset intervals usually monthly just as you would your favourite magazine. The options are almost limitless. There is something for everyone’s interest from Japanese cosmetics to healthy snacks to some specifically for your pet! Also, you can still get someone a regular magazine subscription. Lol.
(left)FitSnack Subscription box $13.99 US/month for 1 year from fitsnack.com. (right)KitNip Box approx $25/month- they are willing to accommodate international shipping.
NOTE: Most of these subscription boxes are US based and only ship there. Some do ship to Canada and the UK. For everyone else there are some that do ship internationally. Alternately you can use a service where you get a US address for shipping purposes and then ship from there to your country of residence . One suggested company is myus.com. I suspect that as subscription boxes become more popular that shipping will become more widespread but until then chose carefully.
AN EXPERIENCE– Another buzzword. An experience is basically anything you have to give a gift certificate for as it isn’t something you can physically give. This ranges from massages to horseback riding lessons to skydiving. This is another great option for someone who has everything or the adventure seeking friend.
Give the gift of adventure…
LUXURY HANDBAG– This is an instant winner with just about everyone but especially your fashionista friends. There are bags to suit every style and every budget. Here are some options…
(top left)The iconic Le Pliage in neo by Longchamp $225US. (top right)Moschino edgy small white quilted leather bag $398 US.(bottom) Chanel calf skin large bag approx $3500 US.
I hope this gift guide was able to inspire ideas and give some useful information. Happy Holidays and have an awesome day!