As promised, I’m continuing on with my blog post series on gift ideas at a range of price points. Last week I rounded up 10 amazing frugal finds for $10 or less – this week I’m opening your wallet a little more and asking you to spend $25, or less. I like $25 as a budget for say, your good friends, a Secret Santa exchange, or perhaps for that second tier of people you gift to – your hosts for a weekend getaway, your sibling-in-law, your neighbours, your kid’s teacher, you name it. And as this post demonstrates, you’d be seriously surprised how far $25 can take you.
MAKE UP FOR EVER Artist Liners – $23 each @ Sephora
Automatic (read: no sharpening) liner is the new hot thing and it seems like just about every makeup brand is taking a crack at it – but having tried quite a few at this point, I’ve got to tell you – no one does it quite like MAKE UP FOR EVER. Since receiving a Matte Black pencil of my own, I’ve been hard-pressed to dip into other eyeliners in my collection. It goes on buttery smooth and smudges expertly if you’re going for a smoky, diffused look. And with a dozen shades to choose from – from charcoal grey to shimmery gold to vibrant emerald – you’ll have no problem finding one (or two, or three) that make your eyes truly pop. An expert pick for the beauty bombshell in your life.
Schatzii Cleaning Cloths – $22.99 for a two-pack or $11.99 each @ Indigo
I love my iPad and all matter of electronic devices as the next person. But when my iPad in particular is turned off, I’m sort of horrified as the smudgey, fingerprint-laden grossness of it. You may have been told you need a pricey cleaner or disposable wipes to keep your screen gleaming – but I’m hear to happily tell you there is a far more effective and eco-friendly solution. Schatzii’s Smart Cloths are designed to polish up any electronic device that’s prone to get smudged up, including your MP3 player, SmartPhone, tablet, or even your computer screen. Not only do they clear away grime, they’re resistant to dust and bacteria, meaning you won’t be compounding the problem when you’re cleaning. And they come in a ton of fun patterns and colours, so you can purchase one for everyone on your list that suits their personal style. You can also pick up Schatzii smart cloths at Target stores in Canada, or check out their website (although their shipping rates are high).
Disney Pop-Up Magic Frozen Game – ~$17.95 @ Major Toy Stores Nationwide
When I was in Disney World earlier this year, I overheard some parents talking about the fact Disney underestimated the power Frozen would have, and the fact they were long since sold out of merchandise at that particular time. Nowadays Frozen gear is appropriately stockpiled, just in time for the holidays, ensuring every little Anna or Elsa out there can live out her Frozen fantasy. As such, Frozen has been given the ‘Pop-Up Magic’ treatment, referring to a series of games Hasbro launched in Spring 2014 that include a fun pop-up component and can actually be connected together for an entire Disney universe. The game itself is super simple and geared for kids between the ages of 3 and 8, as you traverse through a mystical landscape and hope to unlock friend tokens that’ll vault you ahead of the competition. It’s a sweet choice for any little Frozen fan that won’t bust your budget.
Wooden Drop Earrings – $24 @ Sylca
Jewelery is always a great choice when your budget is tight. There’s an incredible wealth of designers out there that are producing phenomenal pieces at great prices, including Sylca, a gorgeous collection from Colombian-born Sylvia Echavarria and her daughter Camila. The use of recycled wood, natural dyes, and other organic materials gives every piece a bold, exotic feeling – including these stunning drop earrings handcrafted from compressed wood. Although they give off a strong visual impact, they’re surprisingly light – and just one of many pieces available from Sylca that are perfectly budget-friendly. Consider gifting these earthy earrings to your chic globetrotting aunt or your indie brand loving friend. For the record, Sylca’s jewelry ships worldwide, but it is available at several boutiques in Canada, including Tzatz (Toronto), Passion Nature Inc. (Quebec), Motion Clothing (Toronto), Cora (Toronto), and Marmalade Tart (B.C.) so you can check out their goods in person.
Nerd Block Subscription – $19.99 / month
I really like the tagline the folks over at Canadian subscription Nerd Block have come up with: it’s like Comic Con in a box. The boxes are curated by Joe Nerds, a geek-friendly retailer located in Whitby, Ontario that specializes in toys and collectibles that’ll appeal to your inner pop culture guru. For those not lucky enough to live in the area however, the subscription service is a fun way to get cool desk toys and collectibles from a huge swath of so-called ‘nerd’ culture shows, movies, comics, and games – ranging from Zelda to Captain America to Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles to The Walking Dead. They also do neat collaborations with geek icons, like Kevin Smith (star of AMC’s Comic Book Men), plus offer specialty boxes if say, you’re really into video games or the horror genre in particular. I do recommend starting your loved one out with a Nerd Block Classic subscription though – it’ll give them a chance to build up an impressive collection of cool toys and figurines, as well as a geek chic tee in every box!
BONUS: Interested in trying out Nerd Block this holiday season? Nerd Block is offering up 10% off your first block. Just enter the code ‘CGG2014′ at checkout before December 31, 2014.
The Twelve Chocolate Collection – $21 @ Chocolaterie Bernard Callebaut
I mean, everyone loves chocolate, especially at Christmastime. But how about gifting someone some award-winning chocolate? This year, Cococo Chocolatiers (owners of the Chocolaterie Bernard Callebaut brand) took home six awards at the Canadian National installment of the International Chocolate Awards. They’ve packed up four of their unique, mouthwatering award-winning chocolate creations alongside eight other creative combinations for a special gift set called ‘The Twelve’. Created by one of the brand’s Maître Chocolatiers, this exclusive collection contains such exotic combinations as Mango Peppercorn, Apricot Jelly and Lavender, and Nutmeg Orange – as well as more mainstream fare like their signature Sea Salted Caramels and Blackberry chocolates. The set comes in a great little gift package along with a tasting guide – making it an ideal pick for anyone you want to send a sweet holiday wish to for each of the 12 Days of Christmas!
Daycraft Notebooks – ~ $14-$18 each
I love gifting (and receiving) notebooks because there’s really no end to who they’re appropriate for and what they can be used for. Whether it’s something as mundane as jotting down your grocery list to keeping one on your desk for those flashes of inspiration to sketching out a pretty scene on the quad between classes, notebooks quite simply make great gifts, because they allow the recipient to imprint themselves onto them. That being said, if you want to freshen up the whole notebook gift-giving thing, may I suggest taking a look at what Hong Kong brand Daycraft has to offer? Their line-up of notebooks are impeccably designed from the inside out, oftentimes with cool contrasting pages, neat textural details, or chic metallic finishes. The notebooks pictured above are actually just a smattering of what’s on offer – if you dig the bRead notebook on the far left for example, it actually comes in a few other varieties of toast. Ditto with the strawberry-inspired design in the middle, which is part of a ‘Juicy’ collection with oranges and honeydew melons as other options. Daycraft ships for free worldwide for orders over $65, but if you want to skip paying duties, you can also check out a selection of their books at Pig’s Paper Clip, a Calgary-based retailer.
Shashi Socks – $15 – $17 / pair
How many ways can one improve upon the simple sock? Apparently quite a few, if the lineup at Shashi is any indication. First and foremost, the brand’s special feature is a top ventilated panel that – along with Shashi’s signature CoolMax fabric – keeps your feet nice, fresh and cool – whether you’re rocking your socks with a pair of sneakers at a street festival or wearing them during a strenuous barre or yoga class. With a comfortable ankle height and grippy bottom, these sleek yet chic socks can be worn for physical activity or everyday wear. And they’re even formulated in three different sizes with a proper right and left sock for a better, more comfortable fit. Available as both a regular sock or in a split toe format, Shashi’s socks come in three different styles (classic, star and macho for men) and a range of colours. Gift a pair to your fitness-loving friend – trust me, they won’t take offense :)
Tattoo You Temporary Tattoos – From $5
If you’ve ever flirted with the idea of a tattoo but maybe aren’t quite ready to take the plunge, or perhaps you’re interested in testing out a spot on your bod to get some fresh ink, then Tattoo You is definitely worth looking into. This Calgary-based company specializes in creating high quality, long-lasting temporary tattoos that are rich, vibrant, and full of colour – so much so that they can easily be mistaken for the real thing. That’s partially because the company teams up with real tattoo artists to develop their designs, giving you the flexibility to browse for a particular aesthetic that matches your own style. Application is easy and can be done just about anywhere on your body. I love this idea for your tat-obsessed friends that are saving up for their next real tattoo, or perhaps for a teen or young adult that’s keen to see what a real-looking tattoo might look like in a spot they’re considering for their first actual ink. And with free shipping in North America, this is a super savvy gift idea for anyone on a budget – plus they make great stocking stuffers too!
Pangea Organics Shower Gels – $18 each
Restocking your loved one’s bathroom caddy is a pretty classic route to go for Christmas – but there’s still ways to make it feel fresh and unexpected. For example, you could introduce them to a fab new brand like Pangea Organics, a natural brand that puts science behind their products to deliver you amazing benefits. Loaded with skin-nourishing antioxidants, natural oils and plant botanicals, their products are – as the brand’s name would suggest – also filled with organic ingredients that provide you body with 30% more antioxidants. I personally love these his & hers shower gels (which also double as shaving creams) rendered in uplifting, potent scents like Italian White Sage with Geranium & Yarrow and Canadian Pine with White Sage. They’ll invigorate you in the morning and soothe you in the evening – and make a lovely gift for everyone from your in-laws to your friends to your neighbours. Pangea Organics does have a Canadian website, but you can also check out their site for a retailer near you. And be sure to take a peek at their holiday value gift sets!
TEC Glow Fob – From $18 @ TEC Accessories
This next gift idea is a showstopper – it’s an amazing pick for everyone from your grandma to your grandkids. Measuring just a few cm long, this nifty fob consists of a pellet that’s made from a special glow powder and resin. When exposed to light, it charges up, and basically functions as a teeny tiny rechargeable glow stick. There are a ton of places you can attach it – basically wherever you want more visibility. Stick it on your keys and fish them out of your purse / find your keyhole that much easier. Attach it to a zipper pull or backpack to stay lit up at night when camping or at a concert. Or attach it to a must-have need at night, like a light cord or a flashlight in case of a power outage, so you can navigate with ease. The TEC Glow Fob comes in three styles, the difference being the material the case is made from – the A3 aluminum model will set you back $18 while the fanciest option is the T3, which houses your pellet in an extremely durable titanium case and retails for $36. TEC Accessories does ship up north, with rates starting around the $9 mark. Like with many U.S. brands, the more you order the better the rate averages out to be – so get shopping!
Talented Best of British Bags – $25 each
I live for a good tote bag – whether I’m using it to cart my lunch and other sundries to work or I’m taking out a pile of books at the library or heading for a day at the beach. Having worked my way through quite a few bags at this point, I have to say that the ones from UK brand Talented are amongst the sturdiest and coolest I’ve ever seen. The brand’s M.O. is pretty cool too – they print all of their bags in eco-friendly ways, often locally in the UK, or by using Fair Trade production houses abroad. They also team up with emerging and respected designers from around the world, so their totes are always being updated with cool new designs and styles. I’m particularly in love with their Best of British collection, which features iconic UK symbols in a whimsical, line drawn style. Available in both khaki and denim, these cool bags also have a cute button and super sturdy Union Jack inspired straps. Talented’s bags are imported and distributed by Lifestyle Market, but you can contact them to track down your nearest retailer, or try out Even & Odd online to get a sampling of the extended line.
Handy Manicure Sets – $22 each @ The Body Shop
Whether you’re a guy or a girl, there’s nothing wrong with a bit of hand and nail maintenance to keep your paws looking polished. The Body Shop agrees, and has created a series of four limited edition sets housed in sleek tin boxes that are simply perfecto for gifting. Each set includes a luxurious hand cream, as well as the essential tools to keep those nails trimmed and filed, including a nail clipper, four-way buffer, and file. The cool thing is this is a gift that works for anyone – they don’t have to be a sparkly nail polish-wearing teenage girl to love these maintenance kits. And with four intoxicating scents to choose from (including the brand’s new masculine absinthe scent and my personal favourite, hemp) you can also double, triple, or quadruple up the gift-giving potential here and spread them amongst multiple loved ones. Don’t forget the feel-good factor – these amazing kits actually help send children in war torn countries to school. Learn more!
Retro Festive Gifts – From $4.99
Well…I’m obsessed. I mean, let me take you back a few steps here. Awhile ago, I stumbled upon Retro Festive, a Canadian boutique dedicated to the holiday season. Since then, I swear to you, it feels like they’ve added (and maybe they have) thousands of new items to ring in the season, including all sorts of knick knacks, ornaments, toys, decorations, and pop culture paraphernalia. The coolest part is you can shop by ‘Brand’, meaning if you or a loved one is into a particular movie, TV show or theme, you can peruse items related to that brand alone. Alternatively, you can also browse by ‘Theme’, which will take you to Canada’s largest selection of ugly holiday sweaters (including these must-have NHL picks for the guys), or allow you to peruse specific collections of say, stockings stuffers or hilarious greeting cards. What I also appreciate is the fact that while the store draws heavily on holiday classics like Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer as well as more modern fare like Home Alone, they also highlight holiday items related to some of your favourite programs, from The Walking Dead to Despicable Me to Doctor Who. The prices on Retro Festive are pretty wide-ranging, however most items are under $100, and everything in the collage I put together above is under $25. In other words? Bring some holiday cheer to your loved ones and check them out – don’t say I didn’t warn you that you’ll lose an hour just browsing.
Fresh Sugar Ruby Romance – $21 @ Sephora
If you’re looking for a fab beauty gift that any girl will love, your search ends here. Fresh has paired two of their lemony sweet products into one neat little package. First, slick on a layer of their sheer, ruby red-tinted lip treatment that’s both nourishing and protecting, with SPF 15. Its miniature size is perfect for stashing in your purse or even in your pocket, for a first date on the town. For some extra festive sparkle, add their Sugar Shine lip treatment, a sheer gloss that moisturizes and seals in your colour for a totally mistletoe-ready kisser. It’s a perfect pick for your good gal pal or niece, but also makes a swell stocking stuffer for diehard beauty mavens.
There you have it! 15 super diverse gift ideas for virtually everyone on your list – and you barely made a dent on that holiday budget I’ll wager. The cool thing is, I’m also giving away a ton of awesome items as part of a Top Gifts Under $25 prize package, for a grand total of over $400! If you nab this amazing package, you’ll be taking home:
- 2 Schatzii cleaning cloths
- A pair of Sylca’s wooden drop earrings in your choice of shade
- A one-month subscription to Nerd Block
- ‘The Twelve’ chocolate set from Chocolaterie Bernard Callebaut
- 3 pairs of Shashi socks
- $50 to spend on the Tattoo You website
- His & hers shower gels from Pangea Organics
- A titanium glow fob from TEC Accessories
- A Talented ‘Royal Guards’ natural tote
- A Handy Manicure set from The Body Shop
- A $100 prize package from Retro Festive
Here’s how to enter!!!
1) Comment on this post by midnight on November 30, 2014, telling me which of these affordable gift ideas you’d most like to gift (or receive). Feel free to go crazy and pick as many as you like – it’s hard to choose!
2) Entries are limited to one per person / per email address / per household (or more if you score bonus entries). A random draw will be conducted on or around December 1, 2014 to select the winner(s), who will have 48 hours to respond before another winner is chosen in their place.
3) Entries are limited to Canadians that have reached the age of majority in their province. Quebec is not eligible for this promotion.
4) Bonus Entry: There are a TON of bonus entries to be had. Go for all of them, go for one of them, go for none of them – it’s up to you. Whatever you choose, be sure to leave each bonus entry in a separate comment below.
Schatzii would love for you to Pin their cleaning cloths to Facebook. Visit their site and pin your favourite design, then leave a link back to your pin in a separate comment below.
Sylca is on Facebook. Like them and leave a wall post on their page about your favourite item on their site. Link back to your wall post in a separate comment below.
Nerd Block is on Facebook. Like ‘em, leave a wall post as to why you’re psyched to try out their service. Link back to your wall post in a separate comment below.
Chocolaterie Bernard Callebaut is on Twitter. Follow them, tag them and me (@cdngiftguide) in a scrumptious Tweet that links back to this very post. Provide a link to your Tweet in a separate comment below.
Shashi is on Twitter. Follow them, tag them and me (@cdngiftguide) in a creative Tweet that links back to this post. Provide a link to your Tweet in a separate comment below.
Tattoo You has a crazy Facebook following. Join the crowd and like them, then leave a comment on their wall with your favourite tattoo from their site. Link back to your wall post in a separate comment below.
Pangea Organics is on Twitter. Follow them, tag them and me (@cdngiftguide) in a creative Tweet that links back to this post. Provide a link to your Tweet in a separate comment below.
TEC Accessories is on Facebook. Like them to learn about their latest and greatest innovations and leave a comment on their wall as to which of the three glow fobs you’d like to own and why. Leave a link back to your wall post in a separate comment below.
Lifestyle Market is the distributor for Talented bags. They’d love for you to Follow them on Pinterest and repin one of their pins. Then leave a link back to your pin in a separate comment below.
The Body Shop is on Twitter. Follow them and tag them and me (@cdngiftguide) in a Tweet that links back to this post. Leave a link back to your Tweet in a separate comment below.
Retro Festive is on Twitter. Follow their awesome feed and Tweet about this contest, tagging both them and me, with a link back to this post. Provide a link to your Tweet in a separate comment.
Don’t forget – I’ve got so, so, so much more in store when it comes to holiday gift ideas for 2014. If you’re interested, be sure to subscribe by typing in your email in the ‘Gift of Gab’ box up top, and be sure to check out all of my giveaways in the Winners Circle.