Gift exchanges

Exchanging Christmas gifts is part of the Holidays tradition. However, is it realistic to offer presents to all our loved ones when our budget can’t perform the same magic as Santa’s?

A gift exchange could be the perfect solution to stretch your budget! Ask around and you’ll discover countless helpful ideas for a Merry and affordable Christmas.

To exchange or not to exchange this Christmas?

Some may decide to offer a present to each and everyone while a gift exchange may sound appealing to others. Whether a group of friends is gathering or simply because the family is growing, gift exchanges can be a fun and inexpensive way to make everyone happy. Even if the focus is on the children, the grown-ups of your family will still get the enjoyment of having a surprise.

Once you’ve decided a gift exchange will take place, here is a ready-made roadmap to avoid kicking-off the New Year in the red (no reference to the new fashionable color or to Santa’s suit).

The list

Do you get a headache just thinking about THE gift for grandma Roseline, who has everything under the sun, or your selective (“difficult” might be a better description) sister-in-law Rachel? A list of gift ideas is a must.

At a time where we seem to run in all directions, there really is no need to add to the chaos that goes along with the Holidays. Unsure about what to give? Dreading the reaction to a surprise that is not on their wish list? It might be safer to let a suggestion list guide you if you want to find the right present for that special person.

List etiquette
  • A list of three or four items on a piece of paper will make it easier to find the perfect gift for the person who draws your name.
  • Should the list be followed to a tee? Depending on whom the gift is intended for, it might be preferable (e.g. your sister-in-law Rachel asked for the gloss # 26 of the HoHoHo collection? You should probably get her the exact item in order to avoid a polite yet awkward “Thank you!”).
  • Sticking to the fixed amount? To avoid an uncomfortable situation, everyone should agree on and respect a fixed amount for each gift. If the item costs less, why not complement with a little something special to add an element of surprise (keeping in mind the wants & needs of the recipient). Even a little bag of chocolates can add some sweetness to your little gift!

Top gifts: to everyone’s delight!

  • Gift cards: movie theatre, shopping, book or music store, SAQ, spa, etc.:
  • Books and CDs;
  • Jewellery, scarves and accessories;
  • Edible treats;
  • A subscription to a favourite magazine;
  • Imported beers, port or ice cider;
  • “i” accessories (e.g.: for an iPod, iPad, iPhone) or for gaming consoles (e.g.: Wii, PS3, etc.);
  • Hockey tickets or passes to a comedy show (budget allowing);
  • Outing to a restaurant.

Christmas shopping “don’ts”:

  • Candles and bath products (unless the theme of the gift exchange is: “got it, don’t want it”);
  • Tie, socks and underwear;
  • Pots-pourris, incense and the like;
  • Something overly practical, like a car snowbrush or a blender.

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