In past years I’ve done gift guides for both guy friends and girl friends – you can check out last year’s posts here and here – but this year I thought I’d mash ’em up and do something a little different. Below are some awesome gift ideas (all under $50, natch) that would make splendid gifts for your best friends. While some are definitely more geared to one group or the other, all will be beloved gift ideas for friends!
Enamel Plates and Bowls – $16.99 each @ Forest + Waves
I know you guys really dug my greetings and wrap post starring this Canadian brand, so I’m psyched to be featuring them again. Beyond paper goods, Forest + Waves also stocks some amazing housewares, including cuddly blankets and these nifty plates, bowls, and mugs. Made from sturdy enamel, the funky, indie designer-style decals are actually baked right into the enamel to ensure they last and the dishes are safe to use. I love enamel because it can work just about anywhere. If you’re buying for an outdoorsy friend, a bowl /plate set can be their new go-to camping place setting. Or you can pack it for a picnic, use it for a meal under the stars, or simply break them out for day-to-day use (seriously, soup tastes better in an enamel bowl on a snowy day, it’s practically science). The design is neutral enough to work for a guy or gal, and a single set will only set you back about $34.
Fresh Sugar Lip Spree – $53 @ Sephora
Well I lied – this item is a smidge over $50, but it’s well worth it when you consider it’s loaded with about $73 worth of product. Start with the nourishing lip balm to smooth out parched, wind chapped lips, then layer on your favourite colour of Fresh’s infamous Sugar Lip treatments in purse-friendly sizes. With four hues ranging from a shimmery blush nude and pinky rose to more dramatic sheer wine and deep pink red, there’s a lip treatment for every outfit and occasion. Toss one in your clutch for a big event, keep one at your desk, and stash another in your car – they’re so tiny it’s easy to keep them anywhere. Plus the tin is reusable so you can use it to store jewelry or other knickknacks once you’ve used up all the beauty goodies inside!
Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2017 – $20.99
While a travel guide is a fun gift for any friend that’s got the travel bug, this year’s edition from Lonely Planet’s Best of series is particularly special. That picturesque landscape on the front? It’s actually from Lonely Planet’s #1 destination to travel in next year – Canada. That’s right. This fun book is a great way to get inspired for the new year, whether you’re traversing our nation during its 150th anniversary, or exploring more exotic locales like fellow Top 10-ers like Finland or Myanmar, the book delves into what makes each location so great and the must-do activities while you’re there. Want to narrow your focus? It also has top 10 lists for the best cities, regions, and value destinations. There’s even a section on fun family destinations, if you’re gifting this to a friend with kids.
Verb Volume Kit + Holiday Hydrate Kit – $38 each @ Sephora
I love trying new hair brands, and Verb is surprisingly really well priced for a luxury brand sold at Sephora. This holiday season they’ve got two kits that relieve two of the most common hair complaints: flat, limp locks, and dry frizzy tresses. Each kit comes packaged in a really cute reusable vinyl bag and features three products designed to boost volume or hydrate your hair. I got to take the Volume set for a spin and my hair felt really light and fluffy the next day, which is pretty much exactly what you’d want from a set like this. The price point is absolutely perfect too – I’m tempted to pick up the Hydrating set for at least one of my friends!
No. 001 Virility Scented Candle – $49 @ Amanda Hamilton
I’ve really made an effort to highlight more Canadian gift ideas this year – and that led me to one of Canada’s most sought after interior designers, Amanda Hamilton. Amanda’s covetable taste has already been applied to her exclusive line of baskets, throws, pillows, and table linens, and now she’s released a new unisex candle. The scent is a unique fusion of typically masculine and feminine notes: tobacco, whiskey and nutmeg, offset by a spicy, earthy, lavender-infused aroma. Housed in a sleek black case, this dramatic candle is the luxe gift everyone in the know will be after this holiday season.
The Girl with the Lower Back Tattoo by Amy Schumer – $36.99
This one is sort of a no-brainer. Amy Schumer is one of the funniest and most beloved people in comedy right now, so her debut book (released this summer) came with great anticipation. It’s a celebrity memoir / series of essays like so many others before it (I talked about Anna Kendrick’s batch earlier this week) but this one stood out for a few reasons. First, it’s as candid as you would expect. The book is regularly laugh out loud funny, but it’s also filled with some pretty raw and honest chapters (including a particularly dark one on how she lost her virginity), so much so that Schumer herself kicks off a chapter on gun control in the U.S. acknowledging that people probably want her to just stick to comedy. But as on screen and like all of us IRL, Amy Schumer is much more than a one-dimensional character, and refuses to be painted as simply a ‘woman in comedy’. If your friends love Amy, are into standup comedy (there’s a fantastic, long chapter about the grind she went through to get where she is today), or simply want to laugh while they read, this is THE book to buy them.
Flexson PLAY:1 Desk Stand – $39.99 @ Best Buy
Friends don’t let friends keep their speakers on their desk. Any audiophile will tell you that your speakers lose a fair bit of oomph when they have to work against a solid surface. The trick then, is to grab a stand or two for your speakers – like these slick, minimalist stands from Flexson. Designed to work with the top-rated Sonos PLAY:1 speakers, these awesome stands minimize vibration, giving you crystal clear sound no matter where you place your speakers. Ideal for use on desks, tables, kitchen countertops, or anywhere else at home you want to enjoy your SONOS PLAY:1. The metal and chrome design is oh so tech geek-worthy too.
Lone Goat Soap Co. Soaps – $8 each (Stockists)
While I tend to drift toward more lady-oriented gift ideas, I have been trying to hunt down lots of unisex ones this year, many of which are featured in this post. Lone Goat Soap Co. is yet another purveyor – intentional or not – of such goods, with their lineup of handmade soaps made with decidedly neutral aromas and real goats milk. While you can certainly indulge in classic relaxing scents like lavender, what caught my eye are their boozy soaps, with real hops or gin to make them smell amazing! It’s a neat gift idea for the guy or gal that’s a liquor connoisseur (or party starter), but you can also get them a three-pack that includes more calming scents like Breakfast or Clay. The result is the same – skin-soothing soaps with gentle, all-natural ingredients like olive oil and herbs for a truly refreshing scrub up.
Canadian Living: The Special Occasions Cookbook – $34.95
A cookbook is one of my *favourite* things to both gift and receive around the holidays, and there may not be a better suited one than this celebratory option. Canadian Living is one of the most trusted recipe authorities in the nation, and their cookbooks are beloved by some of my nearest and dearest friends. This latest iteration is jam-packed with over 250 recipes spread across 35 seasonal / event-themed menus, from a Christmas feast to a casual backyard BBQ to celebrating some other milestone in your life. I particularly love that it offers a range of ideas based on the type of food you want to make, since I doubt many of us are cooking a full menu at once. Finger foods, buffet / potluck-sized dishes, make-ahead meals, and scrumptious desserts all make an appearance in these pages. Who wouldn’t want to nibble on Irish Root Soup with Cashel Blue Cheese, Bison Meatballs with Cider Mustard Sauce, or Mini Vegetable Latkes with Chunky Applesauce?
My Cinema Lightbox – From $29.99 USD @ Indigo, Well.ca, Urban Outfitters, The Bay (Bricks & Mortar Stockists)
True story: I almost booked my wedding venue based on the fact the old renovated theatre it was in would let us change the marquee to highlight our wedding. There is something about those old school letter boards that appeals to the modern design eye – hence why brands like My Cinema Lightbox have packaged up that concept into a room-sized package. Available in four sizes, these lightboxes can be customized with your own little message and are super lightweight. You can either plug them in or cart them to light up the room via battery. It’s an amazing gift idea for your best coworker to spruce up their space, or your designer friend that’ll appreciate the old-new aesthetic. Plus you can pick up extra letter packs for even more Gram-worthy fun (I love the Wilderness pack).
Hello 2017 Jumbo Mix – $20 @ Squish
If you have some friends that are simply insisting they don’t need a gift, then treat them to the one thing no one can say no to – yummy candy! This glittering gold bag of loot is actually a great host gift idea if you’re seeing your pals post-holidays, as per it’s a wonderful way to kick off the New Year with a sugar buzz. But it also just works as a fun gift for any candy lover, with a whopping 24 bags of candy featuring 12 of Squish’s most celebratory gummies. Feast on Aloha pineapples, Froyo cones, and Sour Power candies, to name but a few. As always, because it’s individually wrapped, if you’re shopping for LOTS of friends, this is a great value pack you can split up too – just toss a few little baggies in each pal’s present for an extra festive treat.
Since you’re all fest friends of this blog, I thought it was only fitting I package up a few of the gift ideas I featured in this post into one swell giveaway – valued at over $280! If you win, you’ll receive:
- 2x Forest & Waves Enamel Bowl / Plate Combos
- Lonely Planet’s Best in Travel 2017
- Amanda Hamilton No. 001 Virility Scented Candle
- 1x Flexson Play 1 Desk Stand
- Lone Goat Soap Co. 3 soaps, tin of bath salts, 2 bath soaks, and a travel tin
- Canadian Living: The Special Occasions Cookbook
- Squish Hello 2017 Jumbo Mix
Want to be fest friends with me? Here’s how to enter this crazy awesome giveaway:
1) First and foremost! You must be a Canadian Gift Guide subscriber to enter this giveaway. Just find the ‘Gift of Gab’ box on the righthand side of this page and either hit ‘Follow’ or enter your email address. Once you’ve done that, leave me a comment by November 29, 2016, telling me what your favourite fest friends gift idea is in this post.
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 November 30, 2016 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 Entries:
Follow Forest & Waves on Instagram for some fun design gifts and either Regram one of their photos or take the photo of their enamelware products from this post and share it on your own feed, tagging them in it. Leave a link back to your photo in the comments below in a separate comment.
Follow Raincoast Books on Instagram for amazing book ideas and either Regram one of their photos or take a photo of the Lonely Planet book from this post and share it on your own feed, tagging them in it. Leave a link back to your photo in the comments below in a separate comment.
Follow Amanda Hamilton on Instagram for endless design inspo and either Regram one of their photos or take a photo from their site of your fave product and share it on your own feed, tagging them in it. Leave a link back to your photo in the comments below in a separate comment.
Follow Flexson on Twitter for tech updates and send out a Tweet tagging them + me (@cdngiftguide) that links back to this post. Leave a link back to your Tweet in a separate comment below.
Follow Lone Goat Soap Co. on Instagram for the latest soapy innovations and either Regram one of their photos or take a photo from their site of your fave product and share it on your own feed, tagging them in it. Leave a link back to your photo in the comments below in a separate comment.
Follow Simon & Schuster on Instagram for the latest book releases and either Regram one of their photos or take a book cover photo from their site of your fave title and share it on your own feed, tagging them in it. Leave a link back to your photo in the comments below in a separate comment.
Like Squish on Facebook and leave a wall post about which candy of theirs you’re most interested in trying. Link back to your Facebook post in a separate comment below.
Psst: You can check out all active giveaways by visiting the Winners Circle section of my site!