Canadian Tips for Saving on Gift Baskets - Unique Gifter

Canadian Tips for Saving on Gift Baskets

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If you are Canadian, like me, you might find yourself in awe at the prices some folks are paying for the gorgeous gift baskets they put together.  We don’t have The Container Store, or Dollar Tree, and haven’t had the Target $1 bins to use either.   So things are a bit more challenging, but I wanted to let you in on some Canadian tips for saving on gift baskets that I have for keeping my gift giving affordable and gorgeous.

Canadian Tips for Saving on Gift Baskets

I live in a small town, if you follow me on twitter, you have probably heard me bemoaning some of the downsides of it before.  We don’t exactly have a sprawling big box mall or five, we tend to have the “scaled down version” store names, like Extra Foods instead of Superstore.

Shop Sales at Canadian Tire

One store that we do have is Canadian Tire, and let me tell you, they have earned a spot in my heart!  If you’re American and reading this, wondering why on earth I would like a Tire store, it’s  because the name has very little to do with the store contents.  Canadian Tire is kind of like a small Walmart that has an great automotive section, but primarily sells tools, household goods and sporting gear.  One of the best parts about Canadian Tire is their sales.  They know how to do sales.

When I find myself in the (awesome) position of being in charge of getting door prizes, like for curling bonspiels, I head over to Canadian Tire. They put things on 40-70% off sale, constantly.  The flyer each week usually has at least three dozen items that fit this description.  So I just walk up and down the aisles, with a requirement of at least 50% off.  If you pick up 5 items for $20 each doing this, you can easily get $250 worth of goods for only $100.  Plus, prizes worth $40-50 are way more awesome than $20 ones.  Does this seem like a tangent?  Sorry.

All of this is to stay: STOCK UP ON THIS STUFF

Prepared gift basket with assorted items inside

Try HomeSense or Winners

HomeSense is another store that I like going to when I get the chance. We don’t have one in my town but there’s always good deals there when I get the chance to go. You can get a lot of really nice gift basket items there at fairly affordable prices. At the very least it’s the place if you want something “fancy” but don’t want to pay department store prices.

Tip: Shop their clearance items on the end caps. Sometimes there’s good markdowns, other times things are heavily discounted because the set is incomplete. No good if you want a complete set of wine glasses, but if you only need one or two for a gift basket it’s perfect! Check out this gift basket my friend made from stuff at Winners/Homesense, for example.

The Dollar Store Is Your BFF

Both Dollarama and Dollar Tree have their place in the world of Canadian DIY gift baskets. First of all, you can get super lucky at Dollarama and get some real gems. Yeah, everything isn’t a dollar like it used to be, but there can be some really high-end stuff there that has has been liquidated. Both Dollarama and Dollar Tree are great places to get little things to pad out your gift baskets and candy and snacks.

They’re also the best place to get gift basket wrapping accessories like cellophane, ribbon, and tags!

Gift Basket Items to Stock Up On

My favourite items to stock up on are wicker baskets, glass batter bowls with lids, and the awesome corkscrew I like to give out.  Also pick up specialty tools, like a precision screwdriver set, stripped bolt removers, or ratcheting wrench sets.  You’re aiming for nice-to-have things that not everyone has already.  Most people have srewdrivers already, but do they have REALLY nice ones?  Other things you can grab are cocktail napkins, and high quality kitchen accessories like silicone spatulas, and candles.

Wine themed gift basket for the holidays

Tips for Making Great Gift Baskets

One thing that makes gift baskets so awesome is the volume of stuff that’s in time, it’s like one gigantic discovery adventure as you dig in to see what you’ve received!  Keep in mind that a large volume of junky stuff does not make a great present.  You want to pick things that won’t be cheaper duplicates of what they have already, or things that will just collect dust.  When you have a good selection of cocktail napkins you picked up for a steal, for example, you can pop them into your gift basket and give it some depth, very easily!  IKEA is a great place to pick up very affordable napkins, which add both bulk and “discovery” to your gift basket.

You need to strike a balance between having way too many potential gifts sitting in a stockpile and saving money by purchasing them in advance of the need.  Picking up a few of these, especially the “basket” type items, like casserole dishes, baskets and batter bowls gives a great starting point for creating awesome gift baskets which don’t break the bank.

More Canadian Tips For Saving Money on Gift Baskets:

  • Buy not-terribly-seasonal items when they go out of season at Loblaws stores. They have fantastic clearance sales.
  • Choose a mix of high and cheaper items to create a good value without breaking the bank. Splurge on stuff that matters (you don’t want some things to be cheap!) and then fill with less expensive items like snacks, treats, napkins, etc.
  • Look online for deals. Stores like Indigo often put high end and highly giftable products on sale or clearance. These would be perfect for gift baskets!
  • Buy in bulk to save money. You might not want to put a full set of something in a single gift basket but it can go in more than one. If you have multiple people to shop for create them in bulk or choose items that are vesitile enough to go in your stockpile.

(Believe it or not, no one paid me to write this, I just have limited retail choices in my town!)

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