Sometimes holidays can turn into a big, expensive, stressful experience, when you have so many people to buy for and you just don’t know what to get them. My girlfriends and I came across this dilemma when we were University students that did not have the funds to go splurge on everyone for Christmas.

We found a solution that we absolutely loved – so much so, that we have kept doing it every single year. Each year we simply adjust the limit to be bigger or smaller as need be. We call it our “Favourite Things Gift Exchange.” I’m sure if you look this up, there are many different ways you can go about this, but here is what we do…

  1. Confirm how many people (friends/family members/co-workers) are taking part in the exchange.
  2. Once you have the number of people confirmed, decide how much you want to spend per gift. Let’s say you have 4 people (including yourself) in the exchange – that means you will need to buy 3 gifts. So, if you make the limit $15, that means you are spending $45. If you make the limit $50, that means you’re spending $150. Get the idea? The more people, plus the higher the limit, means more money. We’ve done this with as little as $10 a gift and it has still always been a great time!
  3. You go out and buy YOUR favourite things! That’s one of the best parts – you don’t have to think about what to get everyone, because you’re just getting them YOUR favourite things. Then, whatever you choose to buy, you buy the same thing for all of the people who are participating in the exchange. Let me give you an example – let’s say your favourite thing is this unreal dry shampoo and you have 3 people you need to buy for…that means you go out and buy 3 dry shampoos. Everyone gets the same gift. Depending on your limit and how much your favourite things cost, you may end up having multiple items to share with your friends.
  4. Finally, the most fun part, you exchange!

It is such a blast sharing the gifts, finding out what your friends love about their items and why, and then ending up with all of these new, highly-recommended goodies to take home and try! I have told my girlfriends that many of my “now favourite things” have come from these exchanges.


I have only done this with females, but I will give you some ideas of what we have exchanged:

  • Coffee Cups
  • Coffee To-Go Mugs
  • Dry Shampoo (see where I got that earlier example from?)
  • Workout underwear and/or socks
  • Dish clothes
  • Soap
  • Makeup
  • Blankets
  • Cards with lovely notes
  • Cookware
  • Tea
  • Lotion & Skincare products
  • Various gift cards

You could make your own Favourite Things Gift Exchange with as few as 3 people. It’s easy, it’s fun, and everyone wins, including your cheque book…wait, does anyone say that anymore? Everyone wins, including your online banking? Okay…that’s more like it!