A Money Coach in Canada

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One of my girlfriends dreads gift shopping events – birthdays, weddings, and above all else, Christmas. She feels like whatever she purchases just won’t cut it with the recipient. Similarly, a former client of mine deliberately traveled out of town on any occasions involving gifts, holding the firm view that she’d rather choose what she wanted for herself rather than accept whatever someone chose. Fair enough. (No, they weren’t sisters!).

Me? I enjoy the process of selecting gifts, for the most part. Most of the time, I’m reasonably confident that the recipient will enjoy what I’ve purchased, at least enough to have made the effort. And usually once per season, I find That Perfect Gift which goes over particularly well. For instance, when cds were just coming out (yes, I’m That Old), I found a christmas album (The Hollywood Bowl Christmas Album, recorded in 1957) which had been a christmas staple in our family, but the vinyl version had long since been all scratched up. It wasn’t spendy, but it was quite a hit. And usually once per season something I was less confident about ends up being a surprise hit. Perhaps I have particularly polite friends and family, but on the whole, selecting gifts is pleasurable.

I’m curious: do you enjoy selecting gifts, or hate it? Do you have any awesome “find” stories to share? Or any disasters?

About the Author

Imagine if Canadians were known for being all over their money. Engaged. Proactive. Getting out of debt. Savvy. Saving. Generous. Nancy wants to help. Nancy started her own journey with money over 15 years ago, and formed her company “Your Money by Design” in 2004 to help others along the same path. It’s not the usual financial advising/investment stuff. It’s about taking control of day-to-day finances –managing monthly cashflow effectively, spending appropriately, getting out of debt, saving. If you're ready to take control over your finances, pop by her business site, YourMoneybyDesign.com


  1. brad

    My siblings and I all use Amazon wish lists to shop for each other for the holidays; having a wish list ensures that we’ll get something we actually want/need. It’s a double-edged sword, because it also makes gift shopping a little too easy: I can complete 85% of my holiday shopping in about 10 minutes. Somehow it makes them seem less like real “gifts” to me.

    My sister always sends a few extra things for us as surprise gifts, and those mean the most to me even if I don’t really need them, because it shows that she spent time thinking about us, wrapping the gifts, and going to the post office to mail them.

    I find it harder and harder to come up with items for my own wish list every year, apart from books and DVDs. This year I asked my siblings to buy gifts in our name via Oxfam’s Unwrapped initiative: http://www.oxfamunwrapped.ca/. I love this concept — I get a card in the mail describing what they donated, and they get a tax deduction. And someone in a developing country gets a goat, some chickens, a textbook, or something else they really need. Now that’s giving where it counts.


    Nov 03, 2009
  2. Kat Karen Pattinson

    We don’t spend a lot on gifts. For Byron and myself at Yule/Christmas we usually buy a household gift, then you have to make a gift and we buy silly or fun stocking stuffers. Our parents don’t need and don’t want “more things to dust” so we often make a donation to a different charities. For siblings,wives and kids over 13 we draw names and you get a gift for that person and no one else. You have to make part of the gift and we set a money limit. We also send a few silly stocking stuffers. We find them the most fun.

    The homemade gift has been great and has been the gifts that we talk about for years to come. They have included bath products, make our own CD’s or movies, painting a picture, knitting, sewing or baking. One year my brother’s gave me a certificate to come and paint my apartment.


    Nov 03, 2009
  3. It probably comes as no surprise that I enjoy gift shopping. However, I’m not a fan of shopping under pressure. I am a fan of the type of thing Brad and his siblings are doing – buying a gift for family or friends by donating to a charity of their choice. I’ve noticed a lot of my friends are doing that more and more for their birthdays. Interestingly enough, I find myself making donations of behalf of friends whom would not otherwise exchange gifts and “doing good” in their honour.
    .-= Eden Spodek´s last blog ..Bought: boots at Davids aka a tale of two sisters =-.


    Nov 06, 2009

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