Nicole’s Favourite Things: Gifts From The Heart Edition

Two things happened today that got me thinking about gift-giving in general and stressed-out Christmas gift-giving in particular. First, my mother-in-law sent the kids mini-loaves of raisin bread and it arrived today, and I am not exaggerating when I say this simple gesture was met with extreme joy and glee. Never has a lunchtime been so exciting. Raisin toast! For lunch! Second, I was reminded of a conversation I had months ago. Someone was relating a tale of Christmas morning woe, when she opened a gift from a relative – who was visiting at the time – and that gift was the wrong size. That person then gave the item back and asked for it to be exchanged for the correct size, and was subsequently huffy that she never did receive a replacement gift.

Gift giving this time of year is so strange, isn’t it? There can be problems of hurriedly purchasing gifts in order to reciprocate with someone that you had never before received a gift from, and there are the duty gifts to people who you don’t like and who don’t like you but yet you always exchange gifts so as to not cause a family ruckus. There are the what to get for the person who has everything gifts, and there are the it’s never going to be good enough so I might as well just give up gifts. There are also the hey, this is a cute but absolutely useless item that will either end up in a landfill or will be thrust upon unwilling relatives who are going through your stuff when you die gifts. Cheerful, no?  

It’s not like Christmas and commercialism are new concepts; after all, the Charlie Brown Christmas came out almost fifty years ago, and How The Grinch Stole Christmas came out in 1966. And yet every year we all struggle with what to get for this person, and how much to spend on that person, and it’s all very depressing.

But presumably the married people among us did not have weddings just to amass gifts, and in that spirit I say that Christmas should not a time of year where we simply accumulate more things. Gifts are a part of it, surely, but none of us really need anything, do we? This is not like Christmas in the Ingalls house where someone might get a badly needed pair of stockings or mittens to ward off frostbite, and maybe a peppermint candy just as a treat. We all have what we need, and more. However, it is nice and heartwarming to give and receive gifts as tokens of affection for the loved ones in our lives. And without further ado I give you…

Nicole’s Favourite Things: Gifts from the Heart Edition


We all have houses full of “things”, so these days I’m interested in consumable gifts. One of my very favourite gifts to give – and receive – is wine. You don’t need to be a connoisseur; most people are not and will be pleased with such a gift. The Superstore near my house sells wine at discounted rates for purchases of 6 or more bottles, which ends up being a steal of a deal. It’s hard to get more bang for your gifting buck than a nice bottle of wine, which can be less than $15 a bottle.

See how the bottle in the background is half empty? I was doing my research. This is a nice one!
Speaking as someone whose hands are currently so dry they are snagging my sweater, the winter months can be harsh on your skin. Bath and Bodyworks has some nice lotions in fabulous scents like Cherry Blossom, Twilight Woods, and Exotic Coconut. Love the coconut. It’s not like I don’t eat enough coconut, I seem to need to smell like one too. Maybe I’ll cut my hair really short and dye it brown so that I resemble an actual coconut.
Or maybe I’ll make one of those bikini tops out of coconut halves and craft myself a hula skirt for “date night”.
Well, yes. Chocolate. What consumable gift is more acceptable than chocolate? My favourite is this peppermint Lindor, but really there are so many lovely choices out there.
Not to mention: do you know how easy it is to make your own chocolate? I have a few posts about this over at Yummy Mummy Club, Dark Chocolate Peppermint Bark and Dark Chocolate Truffles:
I had a few friends tell me their truffle-making horror stories, which horrified me: these are the easiest things to make and they make such lovely gifts. I’ve given out the truffles many times and every single time they are met with glee and excitement the likes of which rival my children’s over-the-top reaction to their grandmother’s raisin bread today. And yet – so easy. I swear. You will not be disappointed. My dad could make these*!
*Not really. But my dad isn’t allowed into the kitchen because my mom doesn’t want to come home to a smoking hole in the ground.
Gifts From The Kitchen
Speaking of not-burned-to-the-ground kitchens, is there anyone out there who doesn’t love homemade cookies? I have a few large recipes for you, again over at Yummy Mummy Club. These are crowd pleasers for sure: my Grandma’s Gingersnaps and Festive Gingerbread Cookies.
What’s not to love? Easy to make, enormous yields, and I’ve yet to meet someone who bites into these cookies and doesn’t immediately go for a handful. The gingersnaps, especially, are the potato chips of the cookie world. You eat one, then you must eat them ALL.
Just be sure to buy a few of those cute tins to put them in when you’re gifting them. I have this sweet little pack of snowman tins that I purchased years ago.
The “No Really, You Don’t Stink” Gift
I know I’ve talked about this before, but my friend makes natural deodorant that WORKS. Like, it’s all natural but you won’t smell like a feral hippie, I swear. This is amazing stuff; it’s called Routine De-Odor Cream. I tried it and I cannot go back to the world of chemical deodorant. And did I mention it works? This is what happened to me a while back: I put on the deodorant after my shower, at about 7:30 am. I went through my day – it was summer, so sort of sweaty. Went to bed, got up to practice yoga, realized I forgot to put more deodorant on, practiced in a sweaty hot shala for 90 minutes, came home, and gave myself the sniff test. I still smelled good. What sorcery is this? Amazing product, and they have new scents! I’ve always been a Sweet Jane fan, but I picked up a Bonita Applebom and a Whoa! Blackberry Betty and OMG SO FABULOUS.
Hey, my younger brother got engaged! Guess what I’m giving my sister-in-law to be for Christmas? That’s right, DEODORANT. My mother said, and I quote, “You’re giving her deodorant for Christmas?” in an incredulous tone. Welcome to the family! Have some deodorant! In all seriousness, she had asked about natural deodorants. I don’t recommend giving someone with whom you have an acrimonious relationship deodorant, or someone who might be sensitive (“Is this a hint? JUST SAY SO.”). But if you have decent lines of communication and that person has expressed interest in such items, well, click that link above and do some shopping! Plus, look how pretty!
What are your favourite gifts to give and receive? Let me know in the comments! If there’s a particular product you love, let me know that too. Happy shopping everyone! May the shipping be free and the parking spaces available. xoxo


  1. Steph Lovelady says

    I would be in seventh heaven if someone made peppermint bark for me. I love that stuff.

  2. I love the deodorant thing. I have these mints that I carry everywhere and love, and I always offer them to whoever’s around. Then my friend Zarah told me at the end of a week-end when I’d offered her one at least a dozen times that whenever anyone offers her a mint she takes one because once her husband did and she said no thanks and he said no really, take a mint. And I was aghast, but she said she didn’t really think I was saying she had bad breath all week-end. Whew.

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