Christmas Gift Ideas

I was hoping to avoid blogging about Christmas, just to be original.  Because everyone's doing it, doncha know.

You have the pro-Christmas people going on about the lights, the cookies, the presents, and the snow.  Or, if they live in the Pacific Northwest, the energy smart halogen lights, the fully organic cookies, the fair trade presents, and the rain. 

Then you have the anti-Christmas people going on about the waste of money, the rampant commercialism, and how much they secretly hate children.  I'm sure several anti-Christmas bloggers kick puppies whenever they get the chance.

You even get the non-Christians involved, people who either talk about how you can avoid Christmas altogether, or finding excuses for how you can celebrate Christmas and still be a devout Jew/Muslim/Buddhist/Trekkie/Level 29 Paladin. 

And then there's people like me, who write about Christmas because, well, they're suffering from intense writer's block and made the mad proclamation of "a post a day!". 

So, yeah.  Everyone's got some Christmas shopping to do.  And yeah, Christmas can be a little bit crazy in regards to commercialism.  So, I decided to do some net surfing to find a bunch of interesting gift ideas that are:

  1. Non-Corporate:  None of the gifts here come from a major corporation.  They are all from either indy folk such as you and I, or are related to a non-profit of some sort.
  2. Original:  no ties here.  I'm going for a wide range of "neat" stuff, as opposed to "gifts you can get any guy/girl/parent/etc". 
  3. Cheap:  Or, relatively cheap.  I'm poor, and therefore, cheap is awesome.  Right?
All that being said, here's a nice list of Christmas present ideas, all taken from the interwebs.  Enjoy, and I really hope it gets everyone's creative juices going.

Scientifc Culture - Wristlet
Ideal For:   Indy girls, cool geekettes, and fashionistas

So, as many of you probably know, my friend Kittens runs an online Etsy shop, under the name of Scientific Culture.  The site has a bunch of neat stuff - buttons, magnets, stuffed chlamydia microbes, finger puppets, and more. Then there's this Wristlet, a sort of mini-purse that would fit a cell-phone, camera, iPod, stuff like that.  Good, unique, and you're supporting an indy craftsperson who also rocks.  'Nuff said.

Plan Canada - Classroom Essentials in Sierra Leone
Ideal For:  The socially aware, girls you're trying to impress, the impossible to shop for.

I posted this on the blog a little while ago, but it deserves repeating here.  The basic idea is - instead of buying a present that will be unwrapped, smiled upon, and promptly forgotten, you spend the money on something that will positively change someone's life.  For a little over twenty bucks, this gift will help a child get an education in a war-torn country.  Plus, you get a card, so when Christmas comes, you can say "hey, you helped do something good".  Seriously, check out the site

The Silk Road - Tea Gift Sets
Ideal For:  Distant relatives, tea-lovers, and secret santas.

The Silk Road is a nice little tea shop in Victoria (although they do mail orders, for those out-of-towners who read this blog).  I've had a few of their teas, and I have to say - they're original, interesting, and always very good.  Not to mention the fact that the customer service in the place is amazing.  Their tea gift sets are mostly pretty cheap, with many falling in the under twenty dollar mark.  Gift sets are usually a fairly generic gift, so giving someone something a bit "off the mark" - like Indy-produced Tea - is a good way to surprise them.  Because, let's admit it, "Ethereal Garden" black tea is a hell of a lot more interesting than, say, a Toblerone bar. 

Cheap Ass Games - Dead Money

Ideal For:  Stocking stuffers, the slightly-geeky, and zombie lovers

So, Dead Money is a game under twenty bucks with full colour artwork, easy rules, and fast gameplay.  And you have to love the design mantra of the company - they make fun games that are usually under twenty bucks.  In fact, if you check out their site, you'll find dozens (literally, dozens) of games under ten bucks.  Order a bunch at once, and save on shipping and handling.

Victoria Salmon Kings - Hockey Tickets
Ideal For:  Sports fans, the "guy's guy", your boss.

You can get an adult hockey ticket to a home ice Salmon Kings game for around twenty bucks.  If you buy two (and you'll have to buy two - no one likes going to a hockey game alone), you'll spend a little under fifty bucks.  And, guess what?  You're supporting a local hockey team, and probably exposing someone to a side of "Canada's Great Game" they may be unfamiliar with.  Of course, if you're not in Victoria, this might not be an option, but you could always buy tickets to a minor league sport of your choice - almost every city has a minor league team of one type or another.

Red Hot Swing - Drop-In Dance Lessons
Ideal For:  Those who love to dance, those who love to watch people dance, and those love to be watched while dancing.

Okay, so this is an indy company that involves a few friends of mine - I'm sure you recall the whole "Swing Dancing" fiasco I mentioned a while back.  My initial introduction to these classes more or less involved a "help!  I need some male volunteers!" but I have to admit, I'm enjoying the classes - the fact that it has a fair share of cute girls doesn't hurt.  Anyways, while a six week course can be a bit pricy as a "Cheap" gift (Still worth it, mind you), there are "Drop-in" courses that are under thirty bucks for two tickets. Your recipients will learn enough to get started, and they'll have a lot of fun dancing with each other, and others.  Contact the website for details. 

Hockey Canada - Cribbage Set
Ideal For:  Card sharks, hockey fans, grandparents

You know what?  I love cribbage.  I really do.  I don't care if people say it's an old person's game - it's fun, it's relatively quick to play, easy to learn, and just generally awesome.  I also love the variety of crib boards out there - there are some super expensive, hand-crafted ones, and then there are relatively cheap, personalized sets like this hockey canada set.  And, the money goes towards helping a very good cause (hockey!  Wooooo!).  The site has a bunch of other neat stuff - most under thirty bucks. 

Graham Roumieu: Bigfoot - I Not Dead book
Ideal For:  Those with a lighter side, readers, and kids in big boy bodies.

I found this in an indy gift shop (called Oscar and Libby's) in Market Square on an outting with Kittens a few months back.  As she mingled about the store, I leafed through this book, and laughed my ASS off.  Seriously, I've never laughed so hard in a public place in my life.  Basically, this is a diary by Bigfoot, as he muses on life in the woods, corporate sponsorship, and park wardens.  It really is one of the funniest books I've ever read, and when you give it as a gift, expect frequent laughter and quotings from one page or another.  And, odds are, you'll read it before you wrap it, and then realize you want a copy for yourself.


  1. I love all of these ideas. I have a great tray to do a "practice" one, and was hoping to make some as gifts if it turns out well, Yours is a nice blog. Liked it!!!

  2. Those looking for Fair Trade items to give as gifts should go to Fair Trade Fair Trade Sports sells sports jersey's, soccer balls, rugby balls, frisbees, and other sports items that adhear to Fair Trade Regulations, with all after-tax profits going to charity.

    If ordered by Dec. 17th, you should have it just in time for to put under the Christmas Tree.

    Monica Turley
    Fair Trade Sports
    ~~Eco-Certified, Fair Trade, Union Made