6 memorable gift ideas (that won’t break your budget)

These alternative gifts can make a special occasion even more memorable, especially when you don’t need to dip far into your savings.

6 memorable gift ideas (that won't break your budget)

The pressure of finding the perfect gift for a friend, family member or co-worker can be overwhelming. Whether it’s a birthday, anniversary, retirement or holiday, we all want to see people’s face light up when they open the present. But the costs can add up quick when trying to ensure you surprise and delight.

Here are some tips and tricks to help you give gifts that are affordable, practical and meaningful. 

1. The DIY keepsake

DIY gifts make for special moments. Not only are they personal, but they also show an extra effort because of the time you’ve put in to customize them for the special someone doing the unwrapping.

ACU employees participating in a United Way workplace Paint Lunch fundraiser

Does the thought of creating a DIY gift seem daunting? Don’t worry — many companies have made it easy with step-by-step instructions from an expert such as Paint Nite instructors who help you make an original piece of art.

Another option is to work with a company that can help you make a custom present like a photo book. Whether it is in-person or online, many of these businesses have templates to simplify things for you to add special touches throughout.

Tip: Subscribing to online newsletters with some companies can unlock special offers to help cut even more costs.

2. Support local

Want to support local business? Consider everyone’s favourite — baked treats and tasty goodies from local businesses. And since some of these businesses may have actual brick-and-mortar stores, there are plenty of opportunities to visit different locations such as St. Norbert Farmers’ Market and pop-up markets such as THIRD + BIRD.

memorable gift ideas - HAND MADE GIFT

If you’re still undecided choosing from the wide variety of awesome locally-made products, consider purchasing a LITEBOX which puts together quality goods from Winnipeg businesses. LITEBOX was started by LITE (Local Investment Toward Employment), a charity that creates jobs and supports community economic development. They are currently available for purchase four times a year: December, February, June and September.

3. Get thrifty and try ‘upcycling’

Buying something from a thrift shop may not seem like a usual option for a gift, but there are a number of benefits from purchasing something previously loved.

memorable gift ideas - UpcyclingWhile there’s often the association of something used being lower quality, there are a lot of great items being sold at a discounted price. Bonus: A thrifty find can guarantee you give a unique gift that won’t be discovered anywhere else.

In addition, you are being environmentally friendly — and quite often purchasing gifts from thrift shops helps support a charitable organization. As one example, RaY Level Up! Gift & Thrift provides retail training and work experience for youth in the Level Up! program.

Still feel like making the gift more personal? You can upcycle repurposed materials (also known as creative reuse). If you need some guidance, ArtsJunktion offers workshops throughout the year with an emphasis on sustainable art practices. They also hire local artists who are paid fair wages to facilitate skill-developing workshops on various art techniques.

4. Make a donation in someone’s name

Another option is to donate to someone’s charity of choice. This can be done directly to the organization or through a larger agency, such as United Way Winnipeg and The Winnipeg Foundation.

If you’re not sure what charity to donate to, an alternative is to go through CanadaHelps which helps you find a worthy cause by listing charities by categories including animals, arts and culture, and education.

5. Volunteer

The gift of your time and energy is a great way to give back to an organization that is meaningful to either yourself or the gift recipient. If you don’t have a specific organization in mind, Volunteer Manitoba regularly posts opportunities through their website.

6. Spend time together

Lastly, a great present is simply spending time together with people who are important in your life. If you’re looking to have an actual experience together, Travel Manitoba and Tourism Winnipeg offer things to do in our province throughout the entire year.

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