The most wonderful time of year can also be the most stressful time of year as the holiday party invitations come flooding in and you’re hit with so many white elephants, gift guesses and cookie swaps you just can’t keep up. But perhaps the most difficult of all gift exchanges is Secret Santa because you have to select the perfect gift for one specific person without asking another friend for help (for fear of ruining the surprise).
If you’re anything like my friends and me, you love an excuse to buy your besties something special but you also have a tight budget in place to make sure things don’t get out of hand.
So here are the seven gift ideas that are sure to please even your pickiest of friends for under $50. AKA the guide to winning Secret Santa.
For the planner of the group – the one who’s always studying, working or making to-do lists – you can never go wrong with a cute notebook. Shinola has the best basic journals and planners for $22. What’s more, you can monogram them in store for an extra personal touch that takes this gift from simple to thoughtful.
The Friend with Expensive Tastes
It can be daunting to get stuck with that one friend that only likes designer goods. You know most things on their wish lists are out of your $50 price range and cheap knockoffs just won’t do. But remember that you can still attain luxury status at (relatively) frugal prices. Hit up the designer stores and head to the accessory or beauty lines – that’s where you’ll start seeing the price tags drop. A Chanel lipstick ($46) or balm ($43) is the perfect little gift that’ll make them feel ultra-chic and show them that you really get their style.
The Chill Friend
For the friend that’s always down to just hang out, nothing says “I love you” like a pre-rolled joint. The convenience alone makes it a top contender for the best gift ever. If you really want to step up your gift game, pair it with this rose gold case from Tokyo Smoke ($15) and you’ll still come in under budget.
The Friend Who’s Always On The Go
Did you know Uber offers gift cards? Life-changing, right?! Next time your friend has an early morning, late night, or just doesn’t feel like dealing with the TTC, they’ll thank you as they pull out their phone and call themselves a ride. In Toronto, the gift of free and easy transportation is one anybody would be thankful for. Bonus: you can just keep refilling the card anytime a birthday or special occasion rolls around. It’s the gift that lets you keep giving.
The Self-Care Guru
‘Tis the season for self-care. For that friend who knows how to prioritize themselves, give them the gift of relaxation with a few little stocking stuffers from Twentyseven on St. Clair Avenue West. A proven winner when it comes to presents, the Cherub Eye Mask ($9.95) is the boost your under-eyes need. I’ve gotten nothing but glowing reviews from very grateful friends. Pair it with some Ivory Soaking Salts ($12) and The Renaissance Circle Hair Mask ($12) and you’re setting your bestie up for the most relaxing self-made spa day ever.
The Practical Friend
You know that one friend who actually loves getting socks for Christmas because, well, they need socks? That’s the practical friend – the one who would rather get something they can use than get another knick-knack they don’t really need. Help your pragmatic pal go green this holiday season by getting them reusable beeswax wraps. These ones from Abeego ($18 per pack) come in four different sizes. It may not sound super exciting, but they’ll definitely appreciate the opportunity to be more eco-conscious and they’ll use it every single day.
The Fitness Junkie
Working out in Toronto isn’t cheap, especially if you want to try out some of the newer clubs in the city. Help a friend out by buying them a class credit to one of their favourite workout spots. One Barry’s Bootcamp class will run you $32 and you can even treat them to a smoothie afterward to give them the total VIP treatment. Who doesn’t love a free workout?
(Story by Contributing Editor, Jordana Colomby)