Picking out the right gift—think who, not what
The most important thing is to consider the person you’re shopping for and their needs and preferences. Whether the gift is practical or unique, a small or large ticket item—what will make the biggest difference between “yay!” or “meh” is that you selected a gift that caters to the specific individual.
So, how do you figure out what’s relevant to your recipient? Think about what kind of things your loved one likes and does regularly. Compile a list of their favourite activities, interests, hobbies, pastimes or anything they’re trying to pursue at the moment.
Once you’ve made a list for each of your recipients, here are some ideas and tips to help you find gifts that will fit your special ‘someones’ just right.
Books are great gifts—they’re beautiful and memorable. But, truthfully, book shopping for someone else can be a bit tricky. Here are some things to think about before you shop:
- What type of books do they enjoy the most? Fiction or non-fiction? And what genre?
- What new book just came out in their favourite genre? A new release will be something they’d be excited about.
- What does their favourite author recommend? Check the author’s website or Twitter feed to see if they recommend any books by other authors.
- What are they planning for right now? What are they passionate about? For example, if your special someone is planning a vacation, get them a book about (or set in) the place they're going. If they’ve mentioned they want to cook more, get them a book that explores the joy of cooking. Nearly every hobby or passion has a book about it.
Once you have some ideas, check out book descriptions and reviews online at book sellers like Indigo where BCAA Members earn up to 5% back in CAA Dollars® when you shop online. Learn more about how CAA Dollars work.
MERRY & GREEN
Does your gift really need to be wrapped? If so, avoid shiny or glittery paper. Use recyclable natural brown paper or newspaper instead and re-use wrapping paper for next year.
2. Technology and accessories
Tech gifts aren’t just for tech heads, they can be great gifts for all walks of life and can suit different people and their passions. Before buying a gadget, ask yourself these questions: Is the gadget on the right platform? Some people’s homes are filled with a mix of Apple and PC-based products while others stick to just one. What’s your recipient’s level of knowledge with certain technology? Find out how easy a gadget is to use or program and decide if you (or someone else) will be available to help set it up if needed. Here are a few tech gift ideas to suit different interests:
- Fitness. Activity monitors come in different forms from wrist bands to clip-ons that measure your steps, heart rate, sleep and workout intensity—you name it. Fitbit® Versa 2 or Samsung Galaxy Fit e Fitness Tracker are great options.
- Music. Portable or smart speakers like Ultimate Ears BOOM 2 Bluetooth® Portable Speaker or Sonos® speakers can serve up music in high-quality audio (find speakers that are water-proof for an added touch). Headphones or earbuds like Powerbeats3 Wireless or beats by dr. dre are great for those on the go (noise cancelling is a great feature). Chromecast audio is a great add-on to a home (attaches to traditional speakers to stream audio from a smartphone, tablet, or computer).
- Home. Smart home gadgets can help make any abode more convenient, secure and energy-efficient. There are gadgets that can automate heating and lighting and ones that will allow your recipient to monitor and control their home security system from their mobile phone. Some examples include: Amazon Echo or the Nest Learning Thermostat. BCAA Members can save on smart home gadgets at The Source or earn CAA Dollars when you shop online at Hudson’s Bay and Home Depot.
- Reading. Many book lovers enjoy toting their large collection on a tablet or Kindle which can be found at places like Indigo or The Source where Members save up to 20% by presenting your BCAA Membership card in-store or shopping online.
- Accessories. Your gift doesn’t have to be the latest and ‘high-techiest’. Most people who already use tech devices and gadgets will need accessories. How many ‘dongles’ have you lost in the past year? Some ideas include: an adapter, USB key, portable storage, phone case, travel kit, charger or portable keyboard.
For BCAA Members, here’s where you can find electronics for gifts and save: The Source (save up to 20% in store and online, Indigo (earn up to 5% back in CAA Dollars for online purchases) and Hudson’s Bay (earn 4% back in CAA Dollars online).
Events and activities can be special gifts. Not only do they allow your receiver to enjoy something they love, an experience can create lasting memories. Here are a few ideas:
Music lover. Find out if your special someone’s favourite band, performer or DJ is in town and get them concert/show tickets. Local symphony orchestra events and musicals are also great options. If you don’t intend to go to the show with them, consider giving your recipient a pair of tickets so that they can bring a friend.
Hockey fan. Give your recipient something to look forward to with tickets to see a Canucks game. And with this being the team’s 50th Season, now is the time to be in the arena for special theme nights. Right now, BCAA Members can save up to 30% on select Canucks games and 10% at the Canucks Team Store when you flash your valid Membership card. Can’t get to Vancouver? Tickets to a WHL game happening throughout BC can also be thrilling considering some of the players can be upcoming hockey stars. Another added bonus is that Members also save 25% on WHL tickets.
Motorhead. Buying someone a car may not be on many of our gift-giving lists, but tickets to the 2020 Vancouver International Auto Show (March 25-29) gives your car lover a closeup to more than 400 models and the opportunity to test drive some of the latest electric vehicles. Plus, Members save 35% for online tickets to this year’s Vancouver International Auto Show, BC’s largest show happening at the Vancouver Convention Centre.
Performing arts enthusiast. Whether your special someone is a loyal fan or has never seen a Cirque du Soleil performance, this jaw-dropping production is an event that will wow any gift receiver. What also makes this number special is that BCAA Members can save up to 20% on online tickets.
4. Toys and games
With thousands of toys available, how do you choose? In a nutshell, look for toys that support the learning process, but also have a high fun factor. And, the toy doesn’t have to be the newest trend or high-tech. What’s important is to match the toy to the child’s age and any known interests, evaluate what a toy can teach and ensure it’s safe. Look for toys that can build problem-solving skills and encourage imagination and creativity, and if it’s interactive (non-electronic), that can be a bonus. Below are some great go-to’s:
- Traditional puzzles, sorters and stackers.
- Toy characters such as dolls, animals and action figures, along with toy objects like food, utensils, cars, buildings or construction tools can help children pretend and create stories.
- Colouring books, crayons, markers, clay and stickers.
- Traditional card games and group board games.
- A walkie talkie set can encourage interactive and imaginative play.
BCAA Members can earn 3% back in CAA Dollars on select Lego toys by shopping online or earn up to 5% back in CAA Dollars on online purchases at Indigo for toys such as board games and puzzles, educational toys and craft supplies.
5. Fashion and accessories
Clothing can be fun to give and leaves a lot of room for creativity. Since fashion is based on personal preference, clothing as gifts may be best to give to someone whom you know well and understand their style. Accessories, however, are less risky and great options for anyone who likes to add extra touches to their wardrobe. Fashion rings, necklaces and bracelets, along with belts and a money clip may be small, but they can make a big impact on an outfit. If you’re going to gift them with clothes, here are some things to consider:
- Combine items to make a clever gift combo like a sweater and a pair of socks (the classic holiday gift) or a shirt and earrings or a belt.
- Garments with extra details, prints and textures can make something ordinary look special.
- Clothes made from 100% cotton or are machine-washable are good-quality pieces and easy to maintain.
- It’s safest to avoid giving pants which are difficult to size or trendy pieces that might be a little too personal in taste. Look for staple items—many people enjoy having basic pieces in a variety of styles.
- Pay attention to what’s on the mannequin or fashion model who appears in a retailer’s photos to get ideas. Many fashion retailers also curate collections for gift giving.
While makeup and skin care are based on personal preferences, there’s no need to shy away from giving them as gifts. With a bit of research, you can find something to please anyone excited by makeup. First, try to find out what products and brands your recipient prefers. If you live with the person, check what brands and colour shades they have and if they prefer hypoallergenic, organic or water-based products. If you don’t live with them, ask their closest friends or family members for suggestions. Just make sure you have a wide-open ability to return or exchange items and let your giftee know they have this option. Other things to consider:
- Gift sets and kits are great because every item compliments each other.
- To be on the safe side, stick to eyeshadow palettes, highlighters and brushes. Avoid foundations, concealers and lipsticks.
- Makeup tools are low risk. A person may not have a particular tool or needs a new or upgraded one. Usually you can find some awesome deals on brush sets during the holidays.
Members can earn up to 5% back in CAA Dollars when shopping online with Sephora and up to 4% in CAA Dollars with The Body Shop. Another great option for makeup shopping is Shoppers Drug Mart Beauty where Members also receive up to 5% back in CAA Dollars.
Jewellery can be a memorable gift for anyone. As you begin to research, consider their existing style. The clothes, jewellery and accessories they wear daily will give a good insight into what they like. Stick with simple, classic jewellery if you aren't sure. Here are some tips to help you choose the right piece for your loved one:
- What metals, stones and colours do they prefer? Do they prefer gold, silver or rose gold? Diamonds, pearls or gem stones? For an added personal touch, try to find something with their birthstone.
- What type of jewellery do they typically wear? Rings, necklaces, watches, brooches, cuff links, pendants, earrings (studs or dangly) and bracelets (wrist or ankle) are all options. Rings can be the trickiest because you’ll need to know their finger size.
- If you’re going for a necklace, what length of the chain do they wear? Check photos of your special someone to see if there’s a necklace length they typically wear.
- Go for a custom design. Add even more meaning by working with a designer on a personalize piece. Members save 25% on all in-stock jewellery and 10% on custom design and special orders for in-store purchases at Paris Jewellers by showing your valid BCAA Membership card.
8. Active wear and gear
Whether they’re hardcore or a bit more casual about their performance, there's a great range of ideas for a sport- or activity-specific gift that your loved one will enjoy. A small word of warning: refrain from items that your recipient would want to choose on their own such as running shoes unless you know specifically what they want. In any case, always include a gift receipt. Here are some ideas:
- High-end socks. This can sometimes be seen as a splurge item so your recipient will appreciate the special treatment.
- Self-care fitness massagers. They’ll curse your name while using it—but thank you once they’re done and that tight area is more relaxed. There are different styles of massagers ranging in price and method, such as a foam roller, massage stick or massage ball and more.
- Performance clothing. Recovery sandals or reflective gear can come in handy for anyone who’s active. Members can earn back in CAA Dollars for online purchases at sports retailers Altitude Sports (4%) and Atmosphere (6%).
- Golf stuff. While golf clubs or shoes may be too personal to get as a gift, golf clothing and accessories are great options. BCAA Members save 10% on regular priced clothing and accessories at participating GolfBC golf shops.
Whether they love being pampered or just won’t treat themselves, gifts of relaxation will never go unappreciated. You can either whisk them away or bring the R&R into their home.
- Book a spa day. Your gift recipient will be able to disconnect and enjoy treats such as a relaxing massage, sauna, haircut or beard grooming. If you’re a BCAA Member, you can treat yourself and a loved one to a day of pampering at Scandinave Spa in Whistler where Members save 15% on the spa’s renowned hot and cold baths and 10% on massage service with bath access. Just show your Membership card and enjoy the serenity with your special someone.
- R&R helpers for the home. Items such as candles, teas, scented oils or a diffuser which can purify the air can create a soothing ambiance in the home. Check out shops dedicated to relaxation, such as Escents where Members save 10% on regularly priced online and in-store fine aromatherapy products.
10. Give the gift of protection and savings
We’d be remiss if we didn’t include the gift of a BCAA Membership or a gift card for BCAA Auto Service Centre on our list. Why not share the same great benefits of roadside protection and savings that you receive with your BCAA Membership with the special people in your life? Or, give the gift of expert vehicle maintenance which can be a big help to anyone. BCAA Auto Service Centre gift cards are available at any BCAA Auto Service Centre (any dollar amount can be uploaded).
Find more gift ideas at the Vancouver Christmas Market
Check out this year’s Vancouver Christmas Market from November 20 – December 24, 2019. And, to help you get through the lineups quickly, BCAA Members get a Free FastPass ($3.99 value online) with each purchased ticket which gets you fast lane access at both the market entrance and the carousel.