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The 2014 Holiday Gift Guide

By Tarana Rana, Darpan, 24 Nov, 2014
  • The 2014 Holiday Gift Guide

This holiday season, think outside the box and make sure your gifts are memorable

Whether you love holiday shopping or detest it, it can sometimes be tricky coming up with that perfect gift idea for everyone on your list. Although the stores get chaotic and your creativity might be running dry, don’t settle on those generic, run-of-the-mill gifts for your loved ones. Here are a couple of gift ideas that are sure to be memorable this holiday season.

Edible Gifts

The holidays are a time to indulge, and a gift that can be devoured will always be welcome.  “It is often very hard to find the perfect gift for anyone, and many gifts are put aside and forgotten, or worse re-gifted,” says Evon Au, Cookie Decorator for Cookievonster.com. “With delicious edible gifts, it is always appreciated and enjoyed.” While taking the edible route might seem like a quick and easy option, make sure to invest some time and thought into the gift-picking process – What are the recipient’s likes and dislikes? Do they have any food allergies? Are they on a specific diet?

CookieVonster Christmas Tree Cookie ~ $25 - $45

Custom-made cookies your family or friends will love. This handcrafted 3D Gingerbread Christmas Tree is fully edible and makes a festive gift. Place your order at info@cookievonster.com

Beta 5 Signature Holiday Chocolates ~ $30

Big on flavour and beautifully handcrafted, this collection of 12 hand-painted chocolates is the perfect way to spread holiday cheer. With inspired flavours from sparkling praline to eggnog, these are sure to satisfy any sweet tooth on your list! Available online at Beta 5

Caviar Noel Tea ~ $42

Tea fit for royalty – black tea & white Yin Zhen blend, tones of Clementine with Tahitian vanilla. A great pick for your tea-loving parent, grandparent or friend. Available in store or online from the Urban Tea Merchant.

Itz-a-wrap! Gift Basket ~$70.00

Packed with a variety of gourmet goodies like truffles, crackers, lobster or salmon spread, coffee, a sparkling beverage and more, anyone will be thrilled to receive this delectable box. Gourmet Delights - Le Snack Version is great gift for couples, the in-laws, and serious snackers. Available online at itzawrapbaskets.com.

Experience Gifts

Create some memories this holiday by gifting an experience your loved ones can cherish. “For giving experiences, it could be agreeing to take the family skiing or skating. Or going to the theatre, a hockey game, or whatever it is the [recipient] enjoys,” says Division Manager of Corporate Communications at Metro Vancouver, David Hocking. Each year, Metro Vancouver runs a green gift campaign which urges Vancouverites to think green when shopping for the holidays. “We don’t really need to create a whole lot of garbage at Christmas, Christmas is all about creating memories,” says Hocking.

The Forbidden City Exhibition ~ $20

A rare glimpse into China’s old Imperial Palace would make a nice gift for that artist or history buff on your list. Over 200 exquisite pieces are currently on exhibition at the Vancouver Art Gallery. Buy tickets online at vanartgallery.com

Granville Island Boat Rental ~ $50

An adventurous afternoon at sea would be the ideal gift for group of friends or a couple. This gift package includes an hour on a 17-foot speedboat for 5 people, free one-day boating license and full instruction before they set sail. Available online at lifeexperiences.ca

Ultralight 30 MinuteFlight ~ $110

For an unforgettable experience, gift someone an afternoon in the sky where they will learn to fly an ultralight aircraft. No previous experience is necessary and minimum age for the experience is 14 years. Available online at perfectday.ca

Dolphin Encounter  ~ $160

Gift a rare, one-in-a-lifetime encounter with the dolphins at Vancouver Aquarium. Your lucky recipient will get to explore their habitat, prepare a fishy snack and participate in an interactive training session, where they’ll get a chance to feed and touch the dolphins. E-gift cards are available here

DIY Gifts

For a truly special touch, spend some time this holiday season and give your loved ones a gift you made yourself. According to Dr. Daniel S. Hamermesh, an Economics Professor at the University of Texas, “The most valuable thing we have is time and the time spent putting into making homemade gifts is an indication of respect and love for the recipient.” Do-it-yourself gifts can also often be budget-friendly. Toni Anderson, owner of theHappyHousewife.com, a popular DIY blog says, “Most DIY gifts are made from items you can purchase at a local craft store or might even have in your own home.” She adds, “They are the perfect gifts for the person on your list who already has everything. Chances are, they don't have a handmade gift from you.”

DIY Jewellery  ~ $20 & above

A personalised piece of jewellery is sure to make any woman on your list feel special. Michaels is the place to go for essentials like strings of beads, pendants and wire. For jewellery project ideas and how-tos, check out their website here

DIY Knit Wear  ~ $30 & above

Knit something to keep your loved ones warm and cosy this winter. Scarves and hats are simple projects any beginner can master. For a quick and easy project, invest in a knitting loom set. These come with a set of simple instructions that will have you knitting like a pro in no time. Knitting looms are available at Walmart for $13.97 - $17.97

DIY Windowsill Herb Garden ~  $35 approx.

A thoughtful gift for that chef on your list. All you need to get started is a trip to Home Depot for soil-less potting mix, herb seeds and a window planter or four-inch terracotta pots. Fill each pot or planter with the mix and place 3-4 seeds per pot. Identify each herb and the date planted with personalized labels.

It’s the Thought that Counts!

Vancouverites share some of the most memorable Christmas gifts they received:

“A pasta-themed gift basket a friend of mine gave me. She included different kinds of pastas, pasta sauces, a jar of pesto, a block of fresh Parmesan, and a spaghetti utensil. I remember being absolutely thrilled with it, and in fact, that gift was one of the inspirations for starting my basket business!” – Jackie Stopchycki, Owner of Itz-a-Wrap! Gift Baskets, Vancouver

“The family heirlooms that have been passed down to me, like jewellery or the sketch book of my great grandpa who was a weaver.” – Julia Sharpe, Knitwear Designer & Instructor, Vancouver

“I always find that the most thoughtful gift I receive is from my mom. It doesn't matter what it is, she always puts so much research and effort. Like two years ago, I got a leather jacket, which I still love, and I know she went to multiple stores and countless designs to make sure she picked out the one that I would like best.” – Krista Gilbert, Student, South Surrey.

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