We thoroughly research all the products we feature, and we honestly think they’re great. But just so you know, things you buy from links on this page may earn us a commission. All prices were accurate at publish time.
One of the best things about shopping during the holidays is the gift sets. Retailers often release sets that feature limited edition items that are only available once per year. These gift sets are also a great way to save money, with retailers giving extra savings on bundled products. Gifting the set whole is great, but if you need stocking stuffers or last-minute gifts to keep on hand during the holidays, it’s time to hack your gift set.
Here are some of our favourite gift sets this holiday season that are perfect for hacking.
A LIPSTICK FOR 20 OF YOUR CLOSEST FRIENDS
Sure, at $195, this gift box is a splurge. But if we break it down and do the math, it’s basically $9.75 a pop for products that’d be over $20 each if purchased on their own. In other words, its a sweet holiday treat for 20 of your BFFS, or two treats for 10 of ’em if you’re feeling generous.
Collector of the Stars Kit, $195 at Mac
Truffle oil is one of those things that somehow makes any item on the menu inexplicably more expensive. Regular pasta? $12. Truffle-infused ravioli? $26. Why not give someone the gift of extravagant dinners with one of these truffle accoutrements that will add a bit of that highly coveted umami flavour to any dish, even regular ol’ french fries.
Black Truffle Set, $10 in store at Homesense.
FROM TRUFFLES TO FACE CAVIAR
These gloriously pigmented longwear shadows glide effortlessly onto the skin, creating the perfect eyeshadow look with minimal effort. Got a few pals who like doing makeup on the go? They’ll be thankful you thought of them.
LAURA MERCIER Caviar du Jour Caviar Chrome Mini Set, $51 at Sephora
HAND LOTIONS THAT ACTUALLY SMELL GOOD
The winter is tough on skin and our hands often take the brunt of it. Give the gift of soft, moisturized hands that aren’t cracked and bleeding by December 1 (just us?) with Beautycounter’s gorgeous hand lotions. Enriched with shea butter, grapeseed and jojoba oils, and squalane, and in glorious scents like Fresh Petal, Mandarin Violet and Soft Neroli, they’re the perfect fit for any handbag.
Beautycounter Hand Cream Trio, $46 at Beautycounter
A FULL SIZED PERFUME FOR YOURSELF, TINY BOTTLES FOR EVERYONE ELSE
What’s not to love about tiny bottles of perfume and cologne? They’re safe for travel on an airplane, they fit in your purse or backpack, they’re an affordable way to try lots of different scents, and if you don’t like the cologne your brother-in-law currently bathes in, this is a subtle way of offering an alternative. The best part? It also comes with a gift certificate for a full sized bottle of your favourite one, so you can give that one to someone really special. (Or keep it for yourself, we won’t judge.)
Fragrance Sampler & Certificate, $90 at Shoppers Drug Mart
BEAUTIFUL HAIR FOR ALL
Even the closest family and friends can still have trouble picking out the right gift. That’s why we love products like Moroccanoil hair treatments, which are a useful and luxurious gift for anyone with hair.
MOROCCANOIL Beauty Vault, $50 from Sephora
A PERFECTLY BLENDED FACE
Do you have an aspiring YouTube makeup artist on your holiday gift list? Or maybe a friend who wants to wear more makeup but doesn’t have a knack for blending? Then we recommend the Crown Jewels Blender Essentials, which comes with four blenders and four gemstone-shaped cleansers in limited-edition shades, a set valued at $148. And believe us, no imitation sponge comes close.
The Crown Jewels Blender Essentials, $86 at Sephora
NEXT LEVEL FRIENDSHIP RINGS
Stackable rings are always a lovely little accessory that look dainty and fresh on any hand. Why not pick the one in your favourite metal, slip it on your ring finger and gift two other people in your life a little something special they can wear on the daily?
Mixed Metal Wishbone Ring Stack, $145 at Pandora
A DELICIOUS CUPPA
Who doesn’t love a steaming cup of delicious tea during the cold winter months? Even better, who doesn’t love a festive tin that is perfect for holding small items like thumb tacks, nickels, buttons, paper clips and more once your gift recipients have sipped their Gingerbread Blondie, Pomegrateful, Forever Frosty and Santa’s Secret tea. You could even put more tea in the tin.
Holiday Classics Tea-filled Ornament Box, $30 from David’s Tea
THE GIFT OF A GORGEOUS BATH
Help those around you unwind during the hectic holiday season with a bath bomb from Lush that’s more fun than a rubber ducky and smells better too. The festive reusable hat box (a gift for you!) comes with 11 brightly coloured festive bath bombs that will help to banish the winter blues.
Christmas Bathtime Favourite Bath Bombs, $95 from Lush
YOU CAN’T GO WRONG WITH CHOCOLATE
For a gift that will offend no one and delight everyone, we present: chocolate. It could end wars. The Happy Holidays Gift Pack from Purdys has a great mix of chocolate gifts big and small, from an 18-piece box filled with milk and dark chocolates, to a 10-piece box of dark chocolate mini hedgehogs, to an individually wrapped white chocolate snowman. Obviously. It’s a snowman, it should be white chocolate.
Happy Holidays Gift Pack, $120 from Purdys
GOLDEN HOUR ALL DAY, EVERY DAY
No beauty aficionado would be upset with finding a Fenty Beauty goodie in their stocking. This set comes with a full-sized Killawatt Highlighter, Gloss Bomb. Hyper-Metallic Liquid Eyeliner and Hyper-Glitz Lipstick. The hard part? Figuring out which golden goodie your friends will covet most.
Trophy Wife Life Makeup Set, $89 at Sephora
YOU GET A BODY BUTTER, YOU GET A BODY BUTTER, YOU GET A BODY BUTTER
It’s the cream that sounds like food and smells delicious enough to eat. The Body Shop’s body butter is one of the brand’s most iconic products, which is why the festive star gift set with five body butters (and a savings of $10) is a great gift that anyone will love. Just don’t eat it…or at least limit yourself to small licks.
Body Butter Festive Star, $20 at The Body Shop
OH HONEY, HERE’S SOME HONEY
For your more discerning friends and relatives who enjoy the finer things, we present L’Occitane Shea Honey Harvest Collection. It even sounds fancy. Body cream for your aunt, extra-gentle soap for your grandmother, hand cream for your mom and lip balm for your cousin. Boom. Holiday shopping made easy. Or should we say, fin.
Shea Honey Harvest Collection, $64 from L’Occitane
BEST SELLING BEAUTY
Not only does this kit come with 13 of Sephora’s best sellers, three of them are full sized. Bundle them up to give some extra pampering to a pal that’s a little short on self-care. And if you feel like you need a sample or two for your own self-care needs? Just throw ’em in your purse. No one’s watching.
SEPHORA FAVORITES Treat Yourself: Your Self-Care Essentials, $71 at Sephora.
A CANDLE UPGRADE
If putting your hands around your neck is the international sign of choking, giving someone a votive candle is the international sign of “I wasn’t quite sure what to get but I tried and know you’ll like this.” Step up your home scent giving game with a fancy Nest Diffuser, which is a good change from a regular ol’ candle. Figuring out which person gets Sparkling Cassis, Holiday or Birchwood Pine is up to you.
NEST Petite Diffuser Trio, $75 from Sephora
FLORAL SOCKS WITH A PROVINCIAL TWIST
Have a loved one in every province? Want to encourage your friend to take a road trip? Sock it to them with a pair of socks that feature the official flower of Alberta, New Brunswick, Quebec, Northwest Territories and many more! Well, 13 to be exact, eh?
Provincial Flower Sock Pack, $35 from the Drake General Store
BOOKS FOR YOUR FAVOURITE LITTLES
Gift hacks are about being ready with gifts at the last minute and that includes gifts for littles. When family friends unexpectedly drop by with their new bundle of joy, be ready with a board book from Dr. Seuss. Timeless, thoughtful, and delicious (we only look at reviews by readers 18 months and younger).
The Little Blue Box of Bright And Early Board Books By Dr. Seuss, $16 from Amazon
GLASSES FILLED WITH TREATS
Giving someone one drinking glass may seem like an underwhelming gift. Giving them one glass filled with chocolates and accompanied by their favourite alcohol? You’re as smooth as a bottle of really expensive whiskey (we can’t do the hard stuff).
Cut Glass Lowball, $16 at Indigo
LET’S GET SAUCY
Give your friends hot sauce for their bag (swag), as well as gourmet salt for friends that are less into hot sauce (still swag). This set features vegan and vegetarian hot sauces and gourmet salt bottles that are perfect for foodies and anyone who loves to cook. Or just tolerates it.
Global Spice and Sauce Set, $33 from Amazon
LADY (OR FELLA) IN RED … NAIL POLISH
Red nail polish is timeless and looks good on every skin tone, which makes this Lady In Red gift set from Deborah Lippman the perfect product to break up and gift this holiday season. The set is valued at $84 and comes with six shades, which means five of your friends are going to be really happy. And you.
DEBORAH LIPPMANN Lady In Red Nail Polish Set, $29 from Sephora