Where to shop for Secret Santa gifts in Vancouver

White Elephant, Secret Santa, Yankee Swap – no matter what you call it, a holiday gift exchange can be a panic-inducing event. How do you find the perfect present that’ll impress any recipient and still come in under budget? Whether you’re looking for a quirky trinket for your colleague or a thoughtful present for your BFF, you’ll find plenty of goodies for less than $25 at these Vancouver shops.

Welk's Mart

3511 Main St, Vancouver, BC V5V 3N4

A Mount Pleasant favourite, Welk’s has the nostalgic appeal of an old-school general store but carries a wide variety of contemporary gifts for stumped holiday shoppers. From board games and aromatic candles to cocktail bitters and bestselling novels – you’ll find it all here, and for a great price. Pick up a cookbook for your favourite foodie or a pair of colourful patterned Happy Socks for the dapper gent in your life. Not quite sure who you’re buying for? Pick up a totally on-trend adult colouring book – a low-tech and meditative gift that’ll appeal to almost anyone.

The Soap Dispensary

3718 Main St, Vancouver, BC V5V 3N7

Everybody uses soap right? Well let’s hope so. This eco-friendly concept shop in Riley Park specializes in soap refills and personal care products that encourage shoppers to go green and reduce plastic waste. Bring in a clean container (or purchase an empty vessel in store) and fill it with biodegradable, all-natural soaps, moisturizers, detergents, essential oils, hair products and household cleaning solutions. In addition to bulk liquids, Soap Dispensary also stocks handcrafted cleaning accessories like loofas and bamboo toothbrushes. And in keeping with the clean theme, the store’s bright interior and modern aesthetic make for a pleasant shopping environment.

Hudson's Bay

674 Granville St, Vancouver, BC V6C 1Z6

Hurry past the cosmetics counters and head down to the Bay’s lower level to check out the Canadiana curiosities for sale at the Drake General Store pop-up shop. The quirky Toronto-born boutique carries vintage-inspired patriotic gifts (think Mountie cocktail napkins, artisanal maple syrup, maple leaf patterned socks), kitchenware, foodstuffs and an assortment of unique lifestyle items. For under $25, we love the graphic cocktail glasses, unisex toques and emoji-inspired pins. For something truly festive, check out the irreverent wooden ornaments shaped like pop-culture icons – because who wouldn’t want to hang Björk and Jimi Hendrix from the tree with care?


1199-88 Pender St W, Vancouver, BC V6B 6N9

You could spend an entire afternoon browsing at this 8,000-square-foot Japanese department store in downtown Vancouver. And with more than 15,000 imported items on offer, you’re sure to find a Secret Santa present along the way. From cosmetics to colourful crockery to cuddly stuffed animals, the products here range from fun to functional and are sure to be a conversation-starter at the office Christmas party. If you want even more of the same sort of thing, be sure to check out Yokoyaya’s sister store – Daiso – in Richmond; it’s more than three times the size!

Karameller Candy Shop Inc

30-1020 Mainland St, Vancouver, BC V6B 2T5

There’s just something about the holidays that makes people forget about counting calories – and thank goodness for that! Anyone with even a hint of a sweet tooth would appreciate some high-quality treats from this Swedish confectionary shop. In fact, these imported candies are an almost-guilt-free indulgence when you consider they’re made without any trans-fats, GMOs or high-fructose corn syrup. Hit the bulk bins and mix-and-match a bag of delicious gummy candies in various shapes and colours (you’ll get a kick out of hard-to-pronounce names like bärry jordgubb and skogsbär), or pick up a pre-packaged box full of assorted sweeties.

Bird On A Wire Creations

2950 Broadway W, Vancouver, BC V6K 2G8

If you believe in buying local, then you’ll fall in love with the handmade goods at Bird on a Wire. The community-driven store offers a curated collection of beautiful paper products, clothing, artwork and lifestyle items produced by local Vancouver artisans and crafters. Pick up all-natural soaps, unique kitchen condiments (bacon salt anyone?), beeswax candles, sweet-smelling cupcake-shaped bath bombs and an array of one-of-a-kind objects. If you’re not quite sure where to start, owner Kate Nagel is often in-store and is always happy to share her recommendations.

Front & Company

3772 Main St, Vancouver, BC V5V 3N7

Known for their discounted consignment apparel for men and women, Front and Company is also a great local shop to find affordable gifts and novelties for guys and gals. The shop carries a eccentric collection of gag gifts and stocking-stuffers, including moustache-shaped erasers, bacon-flavoured lip balm and Jesus-themed toast stamps. In addition to the jokey knick-knacks, you’ll also find useful lifestyle goods such as candles, kitchenware, travel accessories, cosmetics and attractive stationery. Unique gifts here start at just $1, so you could put together a whole basket of festive treats.

Marquis Wine Cellars

1034 Davie St, Vancouver, BC V6E 1M3

When it comes to a holiday gift exchange, you really can’t go wrong with a nice bottle of wine. Marquis is a comprehensive and unintimidating wine boutique that carries easy-drinking B.C. labels and fine vintages from Old and New World wine regions. You’ll find numerous bottles of red, white, rosé and dessert wines priced under $25 – including a solid selection of bubbly Prosecco, an affordable champagne alternative that’s ideal for the festive season. If you don’t know your pinot noir from your pinot gris, ask the helpful staff to give you a run-down on the many grape varietals.

It’s decorative gourd season y’all! The changing seasons are an ideal time to spruce up your interior with festive fall decor. If you’re dreaming of harvest-themed table runners, planter boxes filled with sunflowers and pumpkin-scented candles, it’s time to log off Pinterest and head to these local home decor stores to shop for autumnal accessories. [Photo credit: iStock.com/deiata]
When you’re trying to figure out what to wear for a theme party, there’s nothing better than finding a creative shop with an inspiring selection of dress-up gear. Whether you’re looking for a spooky, sexy or silly ensemble, these Vancouver costume stores can help you transform your look with out-of-the-ordinary apparel and accessories. [Photo credit: DragonImages]
Looking for stylish clothes and accessories that’ll have your little ones looking like they belong at the top of the class? Back-to-school shopping is a breeze at these locally owned kids’ boutiques in Vancouver, where parents can find everything from pint-sized designer duds to budget-friendly basics for growing boys and girls. [Photo credit: iStock.com/monkeybusinessimages]
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