Black Friday and Cyber Monday are upon us. Are you ready? Have you been exploring the pre-sales? Love it or hate it this retail weekend is a fantastic opportunity to Christmas shop in a #GetThrifty manner; particularly online.
This year, I decided to do a significant portion of my shopping from the comfort of my own home or on my lunch break. I briefly touched on online shopping in my Holiday Season Survival Guide last year, but wanted to expand on it a bit (and share some ideas and deals!). It’s a philosophy that ingrains itself more firmly for me every year – convenience, no people mowing you over to get that last pair of shoes, and it takes a fraction of the time.
But it’s very easy to get carried away because everything is on sale. Are you buying five scarves for gifts because they’re on sale, or are you buying them with mindful purpose? It’s like grocery shopping when you’re hungry. Making a list on my phone or in my notebook is helpful in either shopping scenario, and keeps me on track and on budget. (You DO NOT have to break the bank to tell people you love them!)
‘Tis the Season Tip – Something I didn’t do this year, but I like the idea of for next year, is amp up my list by saving things to a private Pinterest board so that I can have images and links for everything all in one place.
Here is a gift guide of some fun, practical, and unique gift ideas for the special people in your life. Since they all can apply to anyone, I’ve listed them in categories instead of for the type of person.
GIFTS THAT GIVE BACK
These are thoughtful options that make an impact as a big family group gift, or if you are buying for someone with a philanthropic heart, or to honour someone’s memory.
- Donate to a Cause – Make a donation to the person’s favourite a favourite or meaningful charity.
- Make and Impact with WE.org – Buy a goat or a clean water well for a family, or purchase some quality handmade jewelry (made by African artisans) for the females in your life. Anything you buy has a positive social impact in Africa and other countries that WE.org works in (including Canada, because they are Canadian!), and that specific impact can be tracked online so you can see your contribution in action. I love this organization so much and did some work with them at my old company. I buy a couple goats and a time’s worth of school lunch for a child in need on behalf of my family every year, and like donating at this time of year because they double your impact. Check it out!
CREATE AN EXPERIENCE
In a world where we are trying to be ‘greener’, and also trying to offset the ridiculousness
- Guitar lessons (or any lessons that strike their fancy)
- Tickets to a concert or a show
- Create a date night
- Yoga pass or a yoga mat
- Food tour – check out Eating London and Vancouver Food Tour!
- Winery or brewery tour
- An excursion of some sort
- Photo session with a photographer
‘Tis the Season Tip – To plump up what I would call an ‘envelope gift’, make some tasty cookies or other holiday treats and package them up in a cute tin. Or add a nice bottle of wine. Always a winner.
CAPTURE A MEMORY
Constellation Map from The Night Sky (https://thenightsky.com/) – Not quite sure my dad knows what a blog is and my step-mum isn’t on social media, so I can safely say that I just bought one of these to commemorate the day they (finally) got married. You can choose a date and location and it makes a constellation map of what the sky looked like that night. Shipping is free (US, Canada, Europe, etc) and they are having Black Friday sale until Sunday with promo code NOVA for 15% off. There will possibly also be a Cyber Monday sale, but 15% off isn’t something to sneeze at! 😉
Photo Finish – Get a large print or canvas made of a special day or of the grandkids. Your local photo shop (yes they still exist!) will do large prints and possibly canvases, but there are also online canvas sites that are likely having great sales and that also do Groupon codes. I am not recommending the site I used for something last year as it was a semi-horrendous experience, but I’d love to hear if you find a great site that you would recommend!
I know gift cards and e-gift cards seem impersonal, but hear me out. A gift card doesn’t mean you didn’t put thought into it. Yes, there is convenience, but more so, they are great if you know where they like to shop, but don’t know what to get them and also make fantastic stocking stuffers or nice appreciation gifts for staff. We are living in a world where things are very expensive. Helping your college age sibling or your assistant fuel up their mornings with a nicely summed Starbucks card or to buy something nice for themselves from a favourite shop is pretty great.
Some good gift card ideas are:
- Local Coffee or Tea Shop
- Book shops like Indigo (Canada), Barnes & Noble (USA) or Waterstones (UK)
- Clothing – Banana Republic, Aritzia, or Nordstrom are great options and also have a huge sale on their actual items.
- Athletic Apparel – RYU or lululemon
- Halfmoon Yoga – OR everything is 30% off right now!
‘Tis the Season Tip – For how you want to package gift cards, for my 30th a couple years ago, one of my friends (who is very crafty) made me a beautiful card and it had slots for three gift cards, each for $10. I thought I’d taken a picture of it but here is something similar on Pinterest!
I love going through my stocking at Christmas. Partly because my mum makes beautiful stockings (and will one day finally let me open an Etsy store for her) that hold a lot, and partly because I like the tradition of it. My step-mum is really good at stocking stuffers.
- Socks – I love getting socks for Christmas. About 5 years ago, my mum didn’t give me socks but gave some to my then partner, and while I loved what she had given me, my face actually fell when I saw I hadn’t gotten any, too. It’s silly, I know. But my mum has not skipped the socks since then.
Friday Sock Co.(https://www.fridaysock.co/) is my new favourite place to get socks. They are a Calgary based company owned by a friend and her husband. They purposefully mismatched socks for adults and kids that are designed in Canada and ethically made in Italy out of soft cotton yarn. The designs are clever and there’s something for everyone—check them out! I love mine and may or may not have added a couple pairs for myself when I made submitted my order last week…
- Accessories at NORDSTORM.com – For some luxury brands at a #GetThrifty sale price, this is the place to buy some stocking stuffers like scarves, socks, the whole gamut!
You can check out my Travel Essentials post for my favourite things, but here are some quick links for things to get your happy traveller!
- Passport Holder – I love my red leather passport holder. It’s one of the best gifts that my mum has ever given to me. Click here for a great option for women and here for a men’s option.
- Luggage – Amazon has great luggage sets on sale right now and Away has some great sets that are good value for money. (Their carry-on has a USB outlet in it so you can charge your phone!)
- Travel Site Gift Card – Help your traveller get a good flight, fab accommodations, or book a fun excursion! Some good options are:
- Travel Accessories– Compression bags, packing modules, iPhone Battery Case, travel toiletry sets, you name it, Amazon has got it. Really, you could just do all your shopping there. 😉
And that’s my download — phew!
Sometimes shopping needs to be a bit more sensory, but that’s what lunch break scouting trips are for so you can check out the goods in peace before they go on sale. Then you can purchase from the comfort of your own home or office, usually ON SALE, and in way less time and stress than in store.
And if you happen to be away from home at Christmas, or are visiting family but don’t want to take everything on the plane? Send everything there! Boom.
Good luck, everyone! May the shopping force be with you!