Monday, August 29, 2011

Gift giving on a budget: Home sweet home

Wherever you go, summer tends to be the season of BBQs at friends houses. In Quebec, it’s also the season of housewarming parties as July 1st is our provincial moving day. This is a phenomenon unique to this special region when everyone across the province who is seeking to move, packs up & heads out on the same day… which is timed perfectly with the national celebration of Canada Day. While every other province celebrates with parades of red and white maple leafs, Quebec’ers have no time as they are rushing between addresses. You are more likely to see a mattress being carried down a street than any floats.

This summer I attended 4 housewarming parties and while they are usually BYOW events, I cannot show up without a hostess present. In fact, from doing all these entries about “gift giving on a budget” I am now convinced that I’m a southern belle living in Montreal. Lemonade anyone?

Throughout my usual grocery and household shopping trips, I tend to stockpile on household items that I can use in gift baskets intended for new renters or home-owners. I do this by taking advantage of buy-one-get-one promotions or coupons on items that I tend to purchase for myself. My favourite items are Glad plug-ins, picture hooks, giant rolls of paper towels, and Scrubbing Bubbles cleaners.

In each basket, I always put in one fun item that suits the recipient’s personality: napkins printed with $100 bills on them, dishwashing gloves branded Domestic Goddess, a pot scrubber shaped like a long-stem flower, or a Style at Home magazine. These are frivolous purchases that I make with my weekly Fun Money. The actual baskets are always the cheapest, but most stylish part of the gift and these are sourced from Dollarama. I’m always impressed with the store’s amazing selection of photo boxes, garbage cans or weaved baskets… and all for just $1. The overall cost of each basket fluctuates, but $15 is a reasonable estimate.

Any other suggestions for hostess gifts? I’m always planning and fortunately, socializing too!


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