Brown paper packages tied up with strings – Gift Ideas 2017

Every Christmas, I always have a hard time buying gifts for certain people (you know, the ones who have everything, need nothing) in addition to having a variety of hosting gifts on hand for all the little get-togethers attended throughout the holiday season. I like to be creative and thoughtful in the process of choosing a gift for someone but also have it be something they would actually use or enjoy while also being conscious of price point. Even little gifts here and then can add up quickly! Here are some ideas for gift baskets and hosting goodies that we are giving this year. And for those of you who are seeing this before you get your gifts, act surprised 🙂

For the Little Ones

The one thing I really want to avoid as a new mom is a playroom overflowing with toys. I am a bit of a minimalist and I think kids can have way more toys than they can even play with. When giving gifts to the littles in our lives, I want to extend those parents that same courtesy. It’s nice to give a small gift- nothing too big but something the kids might actually use and be excited about.

Who doesn’t love a good Christmas movie, some popcorn, snacks and hot cocoa? This Christmas movie night basket one was fairly inexpensive and easy to make.


The snacks are an easy pickup from the grocery store (goldfish crackers, licorice, fruit snacks, candy canes, Smarties, popcorn and hot chocolate). The Blue Ray compilation of Christmas movies was a great price at Costco. I found the popcorn bowl at the Dollar Store which makes a great basket to put everything in and can be used for family style popcorn sharing! Add some Christmas pyjamas to it, and you have a great family night during the holidays.


This busy basket, is perfect for a busy little one who loves to be creative. This basket was another dollar store find, and I filled it with crayons, markers, stickers, play doh, a puzzle, a game and some candies. For an older child, you could change some of the art supplies (pencil crayons instead of crayons; paints instead of play doh), add in a colouring book and a fun board game.


This entertaining basket is great for the person who has everything, and loves to host over the holidays. I found a nice basket that could be repurposed, added wine, festive napkins, cheese and crackers (we opted for a gift certificate to our local dairy co-op), dips and jellies, festive coasters, local olive oil,  Baileys and some extra treats to make a beautiful entertaining basket.


For the person who loves to barbecue and is into the Traeger/smoker trend, we put together this Traeger BBQ Gift Set which includes a magnetic bamboo cutting board, BBQ sauce and a gift certificate to a local butcher shop. I also found this adorable mini BBQ ornament to go with it (I’ll buy anything in miniature size)!

A great gift for foodies; a gift set of oil and balsamic vinegar. This is from our local olive oil company (Southampton Olive Oil). This gift set is called “Roman Holiday” and contains a Cranberry Pear White Balsamic Vinegar, Tuscan Herb Infused Olive Oil and Traditional Balsamic Vinegar.

Gift Exchanges & Hostess Gifts

Does anyone else get invited to a few gift exchanges during the holidays? We get invited to a few parties where you have a bring a gift of a certain value (usually $15 or $25) and you play a fun game. Names are drawn or cards are pulled and the first person picks a present and opens it. The second person that goes can either steal the first persons gift or pick a new one. This can go on and on until the last gift is chosen. There are a ton of different types of rules that people play with to make the game more fun. Regardless of the rules, the idea is to bring a good gift that people want and want to steal. The more stealing, the more fun! 

Here are some gift exchange ideas we used this year:

  • Caesar  kit (Under $20 Mini Clamato, Extreme Beans, rimmer and some vodka). The perfect Caesar Sunday just waiting to be mixed up! Note: I forgot to add the mini tabasco to the kit!
  • Coffee and Baileys (Under $20)
  • Local made wool mittens and tea. I purchased local made wool mittens and added some seasonal David’s Tea sachets. A nice warm and cozy gift for under $30
  • Local Beer Gift set with hat. Another picture forgotten (I promise, I’ll get better at this), we took a box and filled it with a few bottles and tall boy cans of beer from a local brewery (We used Maclean’s Ales) and added a hat from the brewery as well. This one was a great steal item! (Under $30)

For all of these get-togethers, it is always nice to bring a little something for the host. If you want some alternative ideas apart from your standard bottle of wine, I have a few suggestions below:

  • Breakfast Set. A package of pancake mix, a little bottle of local maple syrup and a spatula make a great hostess gift. You could even add a nice bag of coffee to it and some coffee cups, mixing bowls or measuring spoons for a nice gift.
  • Gingerbread house kit. Something fun for a family with young ones that encourages family time together. I purchased the gingerbread house cookies at Bulk Barn and then purchased a bunch of candies and a seasonal tin to package it all in. I even found a pre made royal icing tube to make it easy. I think this is much better than the box kits you buy from the store! You could even include a bulk barn gift card with it so they can pick out their own candy and throw in a bottle of wine for the parents to enjoy while the kids decorate!
  • Teas. Davids Tea has a great selection of little sets and sampler packs this season. I picked up a whole bunch of items during the black friday sale and got 30% off everything! Great quick hostess gifts or last-minute gifts/add ons.
  • Oils. A great hostess gift for foodies. I picked this mini sample size from our local olive oil shop that I referenced earlier. Great for cooking, bread dipping or drizzling over a salad.


Gift Cards

These days, it is easy to give a gift card and let someone pick out their own gift. Although I love to go pick out a gift for someone, I can get on board with gift cards, however I still like to be creative with the packaging. I was inspired by this DIY post from Pinterest for Gift Card Snow Globes and decided to try it for myself.


I purchased the jars and little street signs from a craft store (Michael’s), bottle brush trees from Canadian Tire (I ended up getting  a massive bag full as I couldn’t find individual ones anywhere and they were sold out at the craft store), and the faux snow from the Dollar Store. Hot glue your trees and accessories to the bottom of the jar, sprinkle some faux snow on the bottom, set your gift card in, and twist the jar onto the lid. Lesson Learned: make sure you get a big enough jar to fit your gift card! My cards are a wee bit snug in the jars.

A really cute idea for a sweet tooth or for kids are these candy sleighs. I originally saw this idea from a Canadian vlogger I follow (@vloggingblonde). I took a full size Kit Kat bar, candy canes and the fun size mini candy bars and hot glued it all together to look like a sleigh. I’ve added a gift card to for some fun creative packaging. I found these adorable gift card holders at Walmart. Change up the treats to make it more your style!


I’m hoping you might have got some inspiration from my gift giving this year. I’d love to hear if you have ever received a really creative hostess gift or extra stealable gift from a gift exchange!

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