Link’s guide to Christmas shopping

This time of year can be difficult at the best of times.  COVID-19 has been with us for almost a year and while there are glimmers of hope we could all use a bit of a break.  Many of us are here at BCIT because we figured it was better to go back to school than to be out of work. But, paying for school and not having a good source of income means money is tight for the holidays.

The struggle for so many in the season of giving is showing appreciation for the support and love people gave us during a tough time, while also supporting people who are most vulnerable. We did some research here at Link and came up with some modest gift for the people on list.


Ages 0-3:


When parents buy new for, this is often one that gets forgotten. However, a warm little toque for your favourite niece or nephew would be a great present, especially with the upcoming cold winter months.

 One-year subscription to a baby supply company

The initial year of parenting can be expensive and exhausting. You spend a huge amount of time shopping for all the random new stuff you need, for the new person living in your house. Getting someone a subscription to a toy company, a diaper brand, or specific baby formula helps put time and money back into a new parent’s pocket while reducing their stress.

Activity Table/ Exersaucer

While it’s more expensive for just one person to get, perhaps it’s a great gift for a family group or group of friends to give together. It costs between $100- $200.


Ages 3-5:

Little Step Ladder

Around the age of 3, kids start getting more adventurous and want to be able to do more for themselves. There is a balance that all parents face in wanting their child to learn and explore, but also giving them freedom. One of the best freedoms you can give, is the ability to do more things for themselves around the house. They are going to try anyways, so the best way to prevent them from pulling something heavy or dangerous down onto themselves is to get them a small toddler step ladder. You can still put dangerous things out of harm’s reach, but little things like cups and toys that are on lower shelves can now be reached by the kids

A Playdough Set

Playdough is super fun and safe for kids who love to make a mess. It’s relatively easy to clean up with soap, water and a little effort. If you are crafty, you can find recipes online to make and colour some activity dough.

A small animal to keep in the room, such as a fish

A small fish tank for a young child is great. The set up would likely cost around $30. While parents would need to monitor the child and the fish, this is a great way to introduce responsibility to a child by teaching them how to feed the fish regularly. Goldfish and fighter fish don’t need a lot of space or fancy heaters. It’s also a great opportunity to support a child in building empathy.


Ages 5-10:

Art Kit $20

For kids in the 5 to 10 range, creativity is everything. However, they may be starting to feel like they are past the age of crayons and smelly markers. A small art kit, with some pencil crayons, a few nice pens, and an erasing kit is a great gift for the aspiring artist in your family.

Cooperative Family Board Game: Castle Keep

Young kids love to play games. However, the most significant challenge is finding a game that can be competitive and fun for a child, without it becoming frustrating. A cooperative game, where the rules make it easier for parents to help their kids is the perfect family gift for people with a couple of young children.

Beginners Science Experiment Book:

Kids being creative is not necessarily all about art, it can also be about discovery. An experiment book, that guides kids and parents alike is not only a fun pastime when in isolation, it can be a useful tool when dealing with a science project.


Ages 10-13:

Small Tape Camera: $10-$20

 It seems that most teens and tweens have smart phones these days. However, a better gift is a small camera, anywhere in the range of $10 to $40 in price. A small camera allows a tween to document the world they see around them, to show it off to their friends, and might help you avoid buying them a thousand dollar iPhone.

 Good Set of Headphones $20-$40

This is the age when kids need more privacy and start making more noise. Whether they are doing homework, listening to music, playing video games, or talking to friends, they will have sound coming out of their devices.  Investing in a good set of headphones is a smart choice. Not only will they reduce sound around your house, but they  will give your child a sense of privacy. Choose headphones over earbuds, as earbuds have been shown to have more negative consequences for children’s hearing.

First Book of a Series: Recommendations: “Percy Jackson and the Lighting Thief” or “Lord of the Rings- Fellowship of the RIng”.

Do you have a reader on your list? Consider launching them on a new adventure by giving them the first book in a series of their favourite genre.



Laundry Bag $10

 During the ages of 14-17, clothes will be thrown on the floor. If you get a large laundry bag, this may just help avoid a mountain of mess.

Vibrating Alarm Clock $25

Anyone on your list have trouble rolling out of bed in the morning? There are multiple alarm clocks that shake your bed and are extra loud so that you get up in the morning. This is perfect for a student who needs lots of sleep but cannot seem to get up when they need to.

 Food or Items Subscription: Varies.

When you’re a teenager, one of the biggest drivers is a need to fuel your body. However, this can often lead to unhealthy snacking. Investing in a healthy snack service means the teen in your house will never eat too much of a bad thing and won’t leave the pantry completely bare.

Blue Screen Glasses:

Whether you need glasses for other activities, blue screen glasses are an invaluable item for most young adults since they have to spend so much time looking at screens all day.


Ages 18-25:

Give people in this age range money or one specific gift they ask for, that you set a price limit on.

However, these are some affordable and unique gift ideas.

A nice skillet Average cost $30-$50

Skillets are easy to clean and are great for cooking something small, quickly. For grilled cheese, steaks, and other quick bites, as well as for having something to show off with when cooking, a skillet is a great investment.

A medium to large computer bag or backpack. $20-$40

People in this age range are almost always on the go. They will also almost always have their bag with them, whether it is a computer bag or a backpack. Investing in a sturdy and nice-looking bag, will give students an essential part of their ensemble

 A Multi Hanger Set: $2.50 a set for basic multi hanger.

 In the previous age range, I recommended a laundry bag. Moving beyond just doing laundry, many people in this age group will have job interviews or have some form of part time work. Rather than tossing all their clothes onto a chair, a good multi hanger set will help a young person keep their space organized and focused.


Ages 25-40:

Instant Pot: $60.

 25 is often the age when you start living entirely by yourself, maybe without any roommates to share costs. One of the most annoying things is coming home after a really long day, and then having to make dinner. It is easy to fall into a routine of fast food or boring repetitive dishes. However, by investing in an instant pot as a Christmas gift, the overwhelmed young person in your life now has easy access to pre-making and storing lots of tasty and healthy meals.

 Subscription to Uber Eats or Skip the Dishes: $10 a month

 How often do you order out in a month? Once, twice, thrice, every single day? If it is more than twice a month, then buy yourself or a friend a subscription to a favourite food delivery app. It usually eliminates delivery fees and you get access to special offers that help you reduce your costs when eating out.

 Brewery, Winery, or Distillery Tour: Varies

 Maybe you are young, you are in love, and you want to get a little tipsy. Why not book a tour of one of many great local breweries, wineries or distilleries around BC and Metro Vancouver? You and your boo can get dressed up, have a few drinks, and go out for dinner, making this a certified perfect Christmas Gift and Date


 Ages 40-60:

Streaming Subscription:

Your parents are stuck inside. You keep telling them to check out a new show. They do not because they are not sure where to go or what service it is on. As a gift get them a 6-month subscription to your favourite streaming service. That way, you can keep up on all your favourite shows together.

 Mobile Phone Portable Charger:

Middle aged people forget to charge their phones. The prime example is your father, who never knows where it is or how much battery charge it has left. Get him a portable charger, and make him keep it in his car, and he will never have to worry about a dead phone again. Plus you can use it too.

 Essential Movie Collections or Records:

Lots of great movies from the past are not easily found in digital form. However, Amazon and other major ordering companies have collections of great movies and music you cannot find anywhere else. Or if you are avoiding the big online shops, source a local second-hand record store in your neighbourhood.  This is a great gift for a parent or grandparent, and one that easily be shared.


Ages 60 and up:

Slippers:Okay, do not laugh, but lots of old people have bad slippers. So many have no support or grip on the bottom, often leading to older folks falling. For your older relatives, a pair of strong grip, really warm slippers would be an appreciated gift.

Some sort of activity:

One of the greatest challenges for the elderly in our current isolation is getting out and doing something. As a present, arrange for some sort of fun activity for your elderly family members. This could be socially distanced board games, socially distanced movie night, or many more. Just remember to make it light, easy, and fun.