Brown paper wrapped gift with a twine bow.

Inexpensive gift ideas for the holiday season

Gift-giving for all your loved ones can be a lot of fun and super satisfying, but it’s usually tough on the wallet. This year, don’t break the bank for the holidays. This gift guide is specially curated to help you find or make gifts that are affordable and personal.

Gift thrift

It’s not secondhand, it’s vintage. I love finding unique, previously-loved pieces for my friends, especially since it’s eco-friendly. And I often find that they're really grateful that I took the time to find something beautiful and antique. Here are a few trusted shops in Toronto where you can start your present hunt. Don't forget to wash before gifting.

First & Last Coffee Shop, 346 Dupont St
Don’t be fooled by the name. This shop has so many wonderful home and kitchen knick-knacks. Super budget-friendly and brilliantly curated.

Bungalow, 273 Augusta Ave
Located in Kensington Market, this shop has home goods and clothing. There are even new items you can browse if you have room to splurge.

A vintage store with a table and chair, right, and mannequins wearing summer apparel, left, in the window display.
You could always give a gift to yourself—if you've been nice this year. Photo: Michael M.

Courage My Love, 14 Kensington Ave
Another Kensington spot, because we love supporting local businesses! This highly-rated shop has vintage apparel, home goods and curated jewelry.

Black Market, 347 Queen St W
This list would be incomplete without mentioning this iconic store. A great place to shop for cool vintage tees and casualwear. And if I recall correctly, they have a great selection of sunglasses.

A Changing Nest, 572 Annette St
You’ll find vintage and new home decor here. Plus, you could always go for a walk in High Park before or after your trip. Make a day out of it.

Make art, not debt

Creating something beautiful is always in fashion. I know my little sister loves it whenever I create something for her even if I think it’s silly and amateur. It’s truly the thought that counts, a cliché, yes, but still the truth.

Cross stitch project
With a little time, focus and $10, you can craft up a super precious cross-stitch project that can be gifted as a piece of wall art. You can free-hand it or find one with a design guide, artist’s choice.

Cross stitch art with a little, adorable penguin design.
Simply the cutest! Photo: American Patchwork & Quilting Editors

Knit a coaster
If you ever wanted to take up knitting, this is your sign. Pick up those needles. This beginner project could be completed in an hour, according to one website. But, don’t wait until the last minute – there will be no 11:59 p.m. submission deadline to motivate you to the finish line.

DIY personalized mug
I once did this craft for my closest friends and it was a total hit. The designs lasted a super long time – I’m talking years of washes. All you really need is the right mug, Sharpie markers and an oven. Here’s a how-to guide to get you started.

Wood slice ornament
When I was a kid, I did this craft at camp and I have been obsessed ever since. You can easily buy the supplies in an art store or on Etsy, where you can support small businesses. The wood slices can be decorated with paint or marker, just make sure you seal your design with Mod Podge or the like.

I love the rustic look of these ornaments. It's very Canadiana, without the Hudson Bay prices. Photo: SweetLittleSpruce/Etsy

Baked with love

The way to so many people’s hearts is through their stomachs. Here are a few sweet recipes that make great gifts. They’re low on effort, and ingredients, preserve well and can be gifted in a pretty bag with a bow. Martha Stewart is shaking. PS: Hit up Bulk Barn on their student discount day for extra savings.

Three-ingredient sugar cookies
No chilling time. Recipe linked. You’re welcome.

Gorgeous, gorgeous brownies
This recipe calls for 5 ingredients and it’s super easy to whip up. WARNING: Do not overbake. It may look a little raw if you do a toothpick test at the end of baking time but—trust me, I have experience—do not stick her back in the oven. She’s delicate.

Gingerbread blondies
In 30 minutes, you can have a super decadent holiday treat. This recipe has a few more ingredients than the others on this list but it’s totally worth it for the Christmas flavours.

Gingerbread blondie cross-section picture. Looks moist and chewy.
Look at the cross-section goodness. The recipe is linked above. Photo: Arman Liew

Christmas bark
I love, love, love this dessert. It’s so easy, customizable and a perfect host’s gift. The base is mostly chocolate, the rest is up to you!

Leave a comment below to share your affordable gift ideas with other readers! Happy Holidays! - Bri

0 comments on “Inexpensive gift ideas for the holiday season

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *