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Saturday, 26 December 2015

Past-minute DIY holiday gifts

My favourite Dollarama store downtown closed last year and I just noticed that it will soon reopen as a brand new Prada store. And across the street from that same wrecked Dollarama is a new Versace store. I went in last week to peruse the merch, which clothes-wise consisted of five wimpy black dresses hanging bravely on a far wall and a few unisex T-shirts in an altar in the middle of the store.

This was my Dollarama last year.

There were other weighty faux-gold logos for sale too, attached to watches and shoes and bags. And they had the cutest big backpack in the window with so much black shaggy faux fur the clerk couldn't find the fasteners to show me the inside - it was marked down 50%, now only $3,000.

 (The backpack was missing from the window today when I took these photos.)

Tory Burch and Burberry and Escada, Hermes, Coach, and Luis Vuitton are all within a couple of blocks of each other now. I go to gawp and play and get ideas, and to shop at a favourite supermarket nearby. 

But I want my Dollarama back!!!

The logos. Why spend that much if you can't see them, right?

I tend to celebrate the little cheap things more dear than money can buy, yesh - the headband with feather antennae, shown below (still from a VOGOFF promo video here), the child's construction vest, the Christmas ornaments that saved the fashion show (see post here) all purchased for a low-low price at Dollarama but priceless for their inspiration.

The holiday season really makes me think about consumption and I will share with you some of my favourite past-minute Christmas gifts that say "Can You Tell I Love You?" on a budget, gifts that you can source in your own home at this very late, late, late hour.


  • Toothpaste, either in the tube or lovingly squished into a little plastic baggie. Who can fail to be touched by the gift of healthy teeth and gums?
  • For the crafter, a potato and a Sharpie marker, although a Sharpie probably won't work on a potato. For stamping, okay?
  • A lock of your hair wrapped in plastic. And for that Special Someone, use the other hair.
  • A fan made from the giftee's credit card bill with a loving Haiku scrawled across it and a sketch of a bird.
  • The lost sock.
  • Packing tape for sticking on your forehead as a dream catcher when you go to bed. Who will forget anything with a hunk of tape on their head?
  • Tissues/toilet paper/paper towels, preferably unused, to be tucked into the coat pockets of loved ones for rescue from sniffle emergencies.
  • One leg cut from old pantyhose or tights to be used as an umbrella holder. 
  • Half of your brownie - that's TRUE love! (especially if Suzanne made them)
Can you imagine the squeals upon opening such personal, loving gifts? I think not.

Of course gift-giving goes hand-in-hand with feasting, so this holiday season I whipped up a fresh batch of boiled eggs. My oven is full of electronic goods so I couldn't bake them (the eggs or the electronics). I am quite pleased with the progress I'm making in boiling water. The trick is in the temperature.

The Christmas Taxi in Vancouver
That's the best taxi in town! I asked the driver inside if I could take a photo, and then after, he rolled down the window gave me a mini candy cane from the dashboard, a very storybook event on Christmas Day.
Of course if anyone were to throw a big faux fur Versace backpack my way, I would sigh and say, "Hey, I would have been just as happy with a baggie of toothpaste and packing tape stuck to my forehead." Hahaha!!!

And this is a video I made of Suzanne and Sue and me shopping at Talize thrift store. See what I mean about having fun? This is NOT a sponsored post or a sponsored video - it's just a trio of over-40 Canadian women bloggers, besties, having a blast shopping.

Hope you're having great times if you have holidays - and even if you don't!


  1. Love the video! And the gift of healthy teeth and me, they'll thank you later. Happy New Year, Melanie!

  2. You're a genius Melanie. Once begun, the list of lovingly intentioned Past Minute DIY Holiday Gift ideas is endless!

    Here's mine.

    Carefully harvested Dust Bunnies for makeup removal, halting nosebleeds, stuffing pincushions, polishing shoes and (where available) silver; and so much more besides!


  3. I've got toothache and a very sore throat so I'd take the toothpaste over the Versace!!! That headband in feather form is rather splendiforous!!Xx

  4. I am inspired. I am looking at the lint I pull out of the dryer filter with fresh eyes. Not to mention the screw caps from all those empty wine bottles that inexplicably keep appearing in my kitchen. ;)

  5. I agree wholeheartedly! Oh, you made several points. Well, I agree with then all! I am sick that the news has been having stories about shopping all through the holidays - that's not news, that's just a lot of sad people ruining the earth to perpetuate their bourgeois lifestyles and fill the void in their empty lives. Sorry, was that too heavy-handed?

    Yours are great ideas! As you saw on my blog, I need toothpaste. As a crafter, I would love to receive a potato and a Sharpie. And as a lover, I would love to give my sweetheart a lock of my OTHER hair.

  6. Hahahahahahaha!

    Did you grab some of these ideas from A Beautiful Mess? I think I saw the one of the "other" hair on their DIY list, except they made a hair terrarium and a macrame plant holder with it.

    I didn't realize that coat I tried on at Talize had those DIY gifts in it already. I feel bad for throwing out those old used kleenex that made Sue want to heave.

    That taxi is hilarious!

    You are surrounded with uber high end shopping. I hope it only inspires more creativity and greatness on your part. If I spot any furry backpacks in my thrifting adventures I will buy it for you.

    I really like the video version of our shopping trip. Sue is such a great dancer!

    I like the idea of the feather headband because I could be dancing and dusting at the same time. Lord knows my mini blinds need some help.

    Miss you!


  7. Twirl Baby Twirl. So much fun stuff up in the Pacific Northwest. Viva Talize. I am so
    Happy you found my other sock😘

  8. Bwahaha! Hands down the best Chrsitmas gift guide EVER! Boy, I guess we're all a bit tired of those, but all so dazed with "holiday spirit" whatever or too polite to say so... however as always you've totally nailed it. Thank you for your everlasting fabulosity, gorgeous!
    oh, and sorry about the loss of dollarama. It really sucks to lose a favourite :(I'm

  9. Quite the irony that a dollar store would be replaced by such an world famous luxury brand's latest outpost. I'm sorry that you lost your favourite dollar store. I hope you can find one that you like as much or more so even in the coming year.

    Wishing you a stellar tail end of December,
    ♥ Jessica

  10. We don't do gifts but now I am inspired! there's a little chocolate left at the bottom of my latte cup and I'm going to give it to Sandy! You go girl with those eggs. I once tried to boil water and I set off the smoke detector, true story. Happy new year and stay fab, xox


  11. You have such a funny brain haha.That gift list is hilarious. Especially "use the other hair"whahaha. And if I was to receive a fan, I would prefer one made by Sheila. She makes beautiful ones.
    As for the Dollarama shop... I suppose they have packed their bags and moved to other, cheaper premises. You will have to hunt them down. You know that this means that your neighbourhood is getting richer and higher on the ranking list. Is your house your own? (Then you can sell big in a couple of years.) I do hope so. Otherwise... it is no fun to live in a rich neighbourhood. Too plasticy. No fun things to find like your feather headband.
    The taxi guy knows the true spirit of Christmas.
    And the video is hilarious. Nice coat Suzanne had on. Fun jacket on Sue too.

  12. I must file your list of DIY gifts away for next year so I can start my (non-existent) Christmas Shopping early! That cab driver obviously has the Christmas Spirit - what a cool idea! I'm sure his passengers exit his cab feeling a bit happier than when they got in.

    The video is excellent, especially the soundtrack! Be careful not to stroke those gigantic pompoms on your hat tooo much - they might explode ;). The three of you look like you had so much fun.

  13. Lose a Dollar store, gain a Prada? Doesn't seem right. I must confess, my eyeglass frames are Versace, they were $150. Something you have to treat yourself (but not a $3,000 backpack)

  14. Inspirational. Martha Stewart must be writhing with envy at your creative DIY suggestions. You should have a tv show. Will print this DIY list and glue it to my box of Christmas decorations so I can refer to it next year. Are you sure the Prada shop isn't just the Dollarama masquerading??

  15. Bwahaha - I so enjoy all your comments!

    Suzanne, I want to see you dust your mini blinds with the feather antennae headband - hahaha - in a video. And I thought of you when I wrote about the kleenex in the pockets and Sue's horrified face.

  16. I love your DIY gift list! I love such funny and inventive little presents. A friend of mine gave her brother who is a collage student an emergency bag which consisted of various interesting things, condoms included. She was also telling me how she always preached him about safe sex ,so I guess she is consistent in her presents....I don't have younger siblings so I never had THAT talk with anyone. Anyway, your Christmas ideas are fabulous. I think such a gift shows a lot more love (not to mention creativity) than an expenssive perfume.

    Sorry to hear that a store you loved closed...I hate when that happens...and how cute is that Christmas taxi, I love how that guy decorated it.

    Happy holidays!

  17. $3,000 backpack . . . goes to show "There Is A Fool Born Every Minute!"
    Happy New Year!
    Connie :)

  18. Too bad that I only read this post after Xmas, cause I would have made such different gift-choices, inspired by your ideas! Hahaha...

    Glad u gals had such a fun time!

  19. Love the video at the end!
    Happy New Year to you, Melanie.


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