Unique Gift Ideas for the Holiday Season

The holidays are a season of giving, but it can be hard to find that perfect gift for a friend or loved one. Many times our kids are overwhelmed with presents, and parents spend the year trying to purge and organize. We want to cultivate gratitude in our children, which is hard to do when gift giving gets out of control! The same goes for the adults – when we’re buying something because we feel like we have to (and not because it’s meaningful) it can make the holiday season stressful.

To take the stress out of shopping, we’ve come up with unique gift ideas for the whole family. Thanks to our readers and sponsors for providing such cool ideas!


Everyone has that foodie in the family, or the kid that’s going to become a “Cheffer” (as my 7 year-old puts it) when they grow up. For little ones you can buy mini kitchen items for pretend play. Older kids would love a cookbook for children, and adults may be lusting over a new kitchen gadget. OR, you could just get them food! Treats on Christmas morning is the best:

“In our opinion, food always makes the best gift! The challenge is knowing what to get for your friends and loved ones that is truly unique and amazing...that's why we LOVE fudge! It's gourmet, creative, and can be personalized for the recipient. Plus, it's fudge!!!” - Mark Saunders, Saunders Farms


Have you heard of the holiday tradition “something you want, something you need, something to wear and something to read?” I love that idea! Maybe you have a "bookoholic" in the family that’s provided you with a list of no more than 36 books they would like. Or maybe you have the child who needs a bit of encouragement. Pairing books with electronics may be your ticket to success:

“With a ticket to Ooka Island you’re not only giving a child the gift of reading for life, but they’ll have access to 80 hours of educational games and 85 e-books anywhere, anytime – it’s a gift for Mom and Dad as well,” said Kelly Shaw, CEO, Ooka Island.

Some of our readers also suggest a good ol' magazine subscription, which can be full of fun activities, craft ideas and short stories. Kids love getting mail!


In my mind, there's nothing better than the gift of an experience. Last year I bought my mom a mom-daughter pedicure at my favourite spa; concert or theatre tickets would also go over well with Grandma!


For the little ones, you have ample choice here in Ottawa for experiential gifts. We're known all over Canada for our fantastic museums! We are partial to our fantastic sponsor, The Canadian Museum of Nature.

"A membership gift certificate is the perfect gift!" says manager Laura Sutin. Enjoy the museum all year long, and enjoy special perks as a member - discounts on museum programmes, and discounts on purchases at the Nature Boutique (another great place for gift items) and Nature Cafe.


We've just implemented game night at our house, and although my 4 year-old is still a little young, she can still take part. Once she's bored, we send her off with a puzzle and she's happy to sit on the floor beside us. My 7 year-old is into all kinds of card games, and recently discovered Monopoly. She's playing the original with me, but I'm thinking Monopoly Junior might be a good choice for a gift under the tree!


The best toys are the ones that spark imagination and creativity. They are usually quieter (ahem, no batteries) and allow children to create their own worlds of play.

"We love the Fairy Cottage. The Fairy Cottages and Tree Hollows are popular as the children can look after their own Garden indoors by watering it and maintaining it at home and moving the small Fairy Figurines inside the garden." - Patti Taggart, Owner of Tag Along Toys

Disclaimer: this post is part of our 2016 Holiday Campaign, with support from Tag Along Toys, The Canadian Museum of Nature, Saunders Farm and Ooka Island. Make sure to enter our giveaway post before the end of November!