Secret Santa Holiday Gift Guide: Christmas Present Ideas for Every Budget

We asked 10 Vancouverites what gifts they love to give in at a variety of price points to fit every budget

Credit: Flickr/iMakeGuernsey

Inspired Christmas gift-giving ideas from 10 creative Vancouverites

If the joy of Christmas giving comes hand in hand with the stress of Christmas shopping, we’ve got the gift ideas you need!

Whether you’re involved in a Secret Santa gift exchange at work or at home, sometimes it’s not enough to think outside the box. Sometimes you need to get into someone else’s head for some fresh ideas, and that’s exactly what we’ve done.

Ten Vancouverites tell us what’s brewing on their Christmas wish lists.

Good Things Come in Small Packages: Gifts under $25

Holiday Tea Collection, David’s Tea; $16.50

“Three flavoured teas in a festive red and gold gift box make this a no-brainer.” – Michelle Born, pastry chef at the Italian Kitchen

T-shirt, Threadless; $20

“These are quirky and unique T-shirts that support independent artists and designers. They have themes ranging from politics, music, videogames, art, etc., and I can always find something that fits the recipient’s personality.” – Adam Gejdos, Leo-award winning sound director and musician; audio director/composer at Hothead Games

Assorted French macarons, Thierry; $21.95 for a packet of 12 

Selling 1500+ macarons every day, Thierry is a master at these luscious and delicate confectionaries – the perfect antidote to the standard box of chocolates. – Leah DuHamel, set dresser for film and TV

Smartwool Socks, MEC; $22.50

Why are these so smart? These wool-blend socks manage moisture and keep your tootsies warm while still letting them breathe. You’ve never had socks like these. – Carolyn Williams, instructor and owner of the first Bar Method studio in Canada

Whiskey Stones by Teroforma, Whiskey Stones Canada; $25 for a set of 9

“These re-useable soapstone ‘ice cubes’ are my secret weapon gift. They’re the perfect present, especially for those who appear to already have everything. Now they can enjoy a perfectly cooled drink without it being diluted by melting ice.” – David Robertson, award-winning chef and co-owner of The Dirty Apron cooking school

Magazine subscriptions

“Try to find out something personal about the individual and go from there. One year, for a colleague who’s into fashion, I bought him the latest issues of GQ and Details magazines along with the subscriptions. For younger ones, I’ve bought Canadian Geographic Kids subscriptions and then spent time with them reading the stories together.” – Matthew (last name withheld on request), concierge

Fabulous Finds They’ll Love: Gifts under $55

Touchscreen-friendly gloves (Brisk Run gloves), Lululemon; $28

These gloves are perfect for the tech-savvy who want to stay cosy while on the run… even if not actually running. – Dr. Farhad Moola, orthopaedic surgeon, Royal Columbian Hospital

Umbrella, Cheeky Umbrella; $30

“These polka-dot clear umbrellas add a dose of pretty and cheer to a day that’s otherwise gloomy and grey.” – Lisa Jackson, award-winning filmmaker

Showshoeing, Grouse Mountain; $39.95 adults, $13.95 kids

“The gift of time together can’t be overrated.”

Take advantage of BC’s gorgeous backyard and spend some time with loved ones exploring snow-covered trails. There are even clinics offered if you want to improve your skills, or a Fondue Snowshoe  – Matthew

Magic Bullet Single Shot, London Drugs, Canadian Tire; $39.99

“This is the best way to make a quick and easy smoothies that’ll give you all the vitamins you need for the day, as well as build your immune system and keep you healthy through the winter.”  – Carolyn

Parker Urban Fountain Pen, Well; $43.49

“I think really good pens are often overlooked as an ideal gift. The joy that comes from cradling a seriously nice fountain pen in your fingers cannot be understated.” – Jessica Werb, staff writer with the Georgia Straight and freelance writer

Photobooks and Photo Calendars, Apple; $49.99+  XL hardcover photobook, $19.99+ calendar

“My wife takes photos all year at family functions and friends’ parties and then we create personalized calendars or photobooks using iPhoto on our Mac. This gift is always a hit as it’s personalized and full of memories. With the calendars, we note every birthday and special event for the coming year so people don’t forget!” – Adam   

USB Flash Drive, Victorinox; Prices and memory capacity starting at $52 for 4GB, and up to $642 for 128GB

Everyone needs a memory stick, and this one’s as gorgeous as it is functional.

It includes software that offers 256 AES data encryption, password manager, file backup, and a lot more. It’s also waterproof and shock-resistant, and weighs in at barely 10g. Available in five decidedly unboring colours. – Patrick (last name withheld on request), engineer

Christmas Presents for $60+

Auto Winter Emergency Kit, Emergency Kits Canada; $57.99+ 

This is something every car owner should have, but few do, so it makes a great gift. It includes the basics to get you through unexpected roadside emergencies, like booster cables, a first aid kit, and weatherproof matches. Add some energy drinks and protein bars to round it off and make it a touch more personal. – Patrick

Alessi Parrot-shaped Sommelier Corkscrew, Gabriel Ross; $60

For the design maven, this gorgeous corkscrew could possibly overshadow your bottle of vintage. “Seriously, who wouldn’t love a parrot-shaped corkscrew?” Available in black, blue, green and multicolour (shown). – Jessica

Thai Massage, Smile Thai Massage; starting at $85 for 60 min for a Traditional-style massage

“This is my new favourite gift to give. A Thai massage is the most wonderful hour of stretching that leaves your body feeling longer and more agile. As a fitness instructor I believe stretching is just as important as the workout itself!” – Carolyn

Slippers, Padraig; $90

“These are made by hand in North Vancouver from New Zealand wool and fluffy sheepskin. I’m in love with mine and bring them on trips, to dinner parties, and anywhere else I can get away with it.” – Lisa

Collector’s Edition IT Brush Set, Sephora; $96

Every woman needs a set of fabulous brushes – they’re the secret to flawless makeup application, important year-round but especially during the holiday season. This set includes three brushes for the face and three for the eyes, including their famous smudge brush, essential for creating the perfect smoky eye. – Leah

Tickets to the VSO, Ballet, Opera or other cultural event

Even if these aren’t tickets to The Nutcracker or the Requiem, a gift of a cultural night out is always a delight. And really, what could be more scintillating than the gift of anticipation? – Matthew

“The Chef” Gourmet Gift Box, The Dirty Apron; $175

“This is a go-to gift for me as it contains all my favourite kitchen ingredients, packaged up and ready to go.” This gourmet’s delight contains goodies such as a stainless steel soap bar, Capirete 20-year sherry vinegar, white truffle oil, and petisco tuna. – David

Alexander McQueen Leather Passport Holder, Ssense; $220

Travel in style with this polished leather passport case from the legendary Alexander McQueen. Made in Italy, of course. – Farhad