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It should be easy, but sometimes finding a gift within a certain price range that is still thoughtful can be difficult. Let us help.
Finding the perfect Secret Santa gift is more difficult than it seems. First, if you're buying for someone specific, you want to gift to be thoughtful—but that can be difficult if you only have a limited budget. And that's the thing about the budget—you need the gift to be less than, but close to, your budget (whether it's self-imposed or part of a larger secret santa mandate). Plus, sometimes you don't know who your secret Santa is! And shopping for a mystery person means you need to get something that will appeal to pretty much everyone.
Got it straight? No? Don't worry. We've compiled some of our favourite gifts to give that fit into your Secret Santa budget—whether it's $5 or $30.
Gifting beauty is always a good idea if you ask us. These face masks are inexpensive so feel free to pick up a few.
Patches are a great way to personalize your style—but they're also creative and compact expressions of art.
This item combines two of our favourite things—the Toronto Blue Jays and lapel pins! Not a sports fan? Luckily there are plenty of lapel pin options to make sure you find the right one for your giftee.
We know not everyone is a fan of slippers—but these ones are so cozy and a steal at $15!
Colouring books have shown to relieve stress and help people meditate—they're also super fun!
Having a hand cream in your bag all winter long is necessary to avoid dry, cracked hands. A practical gift has never been so indulgent!
Cloth napkins are a much more environmentally-friendly pick than their paper alternatives—and super chic around the holidays.
Give the gift of a cozy home. We especially love this limited edition scent from Canadian brand Province Apothecary.
Everyone loves a scented candle—especially a rich, warm scent that makes staying in that much better.
A calendar for the new year is something we always forget to pick up in December. Make sure to find one that suits your giftee's personality.
Having a notebook on hand is a requirement for many people. This fun pack is Pantone-coded!
It's a problem if you don't have a hat come December. The Drake General Store wants you to wear your provincial pride on your head with these colourful picks.
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Learn how feng shui techniques can declutter your home and create positive space in your life.
Do you want to bring happiness, good fortune and wellness into your life this year? Turn to the positive energies of feng shui as your guide. The ancient Chinese art of living in harmony with your environment can help spruce up your home and simultaneously create balance and joy.
Bridget Saraka, the Saskatoon-based owner of Feng Shui by Bridget, says the practice offers life-changing benefits. "Feng shui is about creating a space that's not only pleasing to your eye, but also pleasing to all your senses, so that your home supports and enriches your life," she says. "How we live has a profound impact on what our experiences will be. When you apply feng shui principles to your home, you can attract a great new year."
If your home is cluttered, dimly lit and has poorly arranged furniture, feng shui principles state that your life will be filled with obstacles and present few opportunities for growth. As a result, your job, relationships, finances and health can become stagnant. By making a few small changes, you can revitalize your space and your life. Here are six simple tips to get started:
1. Make your front door visible to receive blessings
In feng shui, a hard-to-read house number or a blocked walkway to a door will prevent positive energy from entering the home. "Have an address that's easy to see from the street and a path from your front door into your home that isn't cluttered with obstacles," says Saraka. "If the universe can't find you, how can fortunate blessings find you?"
2. Add colour for good health
Taupes and other neutral colours are popular in home decor, but they might contribute to low moods and energy levels during Canada's long, dark winters. "They're the wrong colour palate for Canadians because many of us suffer from seasonal affective disorder," says Saraka. From a feng shui perspective, these colours absorb the winter light, leaving Canadians feeling depressed and directionless.
To boost health and energy, start by painting your walls. "Choose a colour that's warm yet still reflects light – soft yellows, soft greens – colours that give a feeling of the sun and nature," says Saraka. "Green makes all colours pop, plus it's about life, vitality, growth and new vibrations." If you can't afford to paint, use colourful accessories—accent pillows, throws, live flowers, lighting in dark corners—to ignite powerful energy shifts in your home. "It's the easiest and most affordable way to do it," says Saraka.
3. Edit your belongings
Clear the bad vibes that accompany clutter. "Go through your home with a keen eye to what no longer serves you. If you haven't worn or used it within a year, donate it," says Saraka. "If it's broken and you're not going to repair it, remove it from the space. This editing practice opens up your home so you have room to experience a new chapter." Items that hold upsetting memories should be removed, too.
4. Let indoor plants and water bring prosperity
¨Want to attract wealth this year? Bring plants and a water fountain into your home. "Jade plants and fountains are symbols that represent wealth and finance in feng shui," says Saraka. Your health may also benefit from plants and flowers inside the home. "They purify the air," says Saraka, "And as you nurture the plant, you're nurturing yourself."
5. Position furniture for safety
If you don't feel safe and comfortable in your home, your furniture placement might be to blame. "Feng shui is first and foremost about comfort and safety," says Saraka. "Make sure that the largest piece of furniture in any room is in a position where you can see the door. If the sofa or head of the bed is against the same wall as the door, you can't see who is coming in. This creates a sense of vulnerability."
6. Use essential oils to attain happiness
Essential oils can help clear negative energy and add happy vibes to your home. "Put distilled water in a spritzer bottle, add three to six droplets of oil, and then spritz the air," says Saraka. If someone has been ill, Saraka recommends a blend of frankincense and cinnamon. ¨"To infuse a space with joy, use rose and orange essential oils. Rose is about love. Orange is about joy. So you're infusing joyful love into your space." Essential oils can be purchased from most health-food stores.
For more feng shui tips, check out how you can declutter your car.
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Tired of the same old mashed potatoes? Mashed potatoes don't have to be boring! Add a burst of flavour to your mash with these 10 flavourful mashed potato recipes!
Sweet potatoes are a well-known superfood and an excellent addition to any holiday dinner. This dish can be assembled a day in advance. Just sprinkle it with streusel at the last minute and pop it into the oven.
Get the recipe: Sweet Potato Mash With Pecan Streusel
If you're making this recipe ahead of time, choose a large shallow ovenproof dish, which will decrease the time needed to warm it in the oven while the turkey is resting.
Get the recipe: Crunchy Parmesan-Topped Double Potato Mash
The secret to crispy salmon skin is cooking the fish 90 percent of the way through on the skin side, in a nonstick pan! Don't try to turn the salmon too early; if it's sticking to the pan, it's not ready to turn. Potatoes mashed with spinach, tarragon and horseradish make the perfect accompaniment!
Get the recipe: Crispy Salmon on Braised Vegetables and Spinach Mash
This twist on shepherd's pie features smoky, spicy chorizo and flavourful Oka cheese. A casserole this large will take several days to thaw in the fridge, so don't worry if it's still a bit firm after thawing for a day. The partial thawing just allows it to reheat a bit more evenly.
Get the recipe: Pork Pie With Oka Mash
Korean cuisine is renowned for its spicy fermented cabbage (kimchi) and beef dishes. Here, juicy beef tenderloin and creamy potatoes mixed with pungent kimchi use that inspiration for an East-meets-West entertaining meal that's as special as it is tasty. Serve with crisp stir-fried vegetables.
Get the recipe: Soy-Ginger Tenderloin Steaks With Kimchi Mash
Take mashed potatoes (a favourite comfort food) to soaring new heights with the simple addition of goat cheese and garlic. You might want to make a double batch for a crowd – it will fly off the table.
Get the recipe: Garlic Goat Cheese Mashed Potatoes
We boost the flavour of this potato purée with olive oil and fresh parsley. On another night, make this dish with fresh sole fillets or scallops instead of the salmon, and call it the catch of the day. Serve with lemon wedges.
Get the recipe: Lemon and Caper Salmon With Herbed Potato Mash
Looking for a change from plain old mashed potatoes? Spruce up your holiday table with this seasonal side dish. Buttermilk and Dijon mustard add pleasant tang and creamy texture (without the addition of cream). To avoid a gluey purée, do not overmix. Fresh chives add a festive hit of colour.
Get the recipe: Parsnip and Potato Puree
Rutabaga, also called turnip, is an often overlooked (but tasty) root vegetable. With a texture similar to potatoes, rutabaga is delicious mashed or roasted. It is available year-round and stays fresh thanks to its waxy skin. You can use a sharp knife to peel the skin away, or buy the vegetable already peeled and cubed.
Get the recipe: Pan-Fried Steak With Horseradish Rutabaga Mash
Slightly sweet and peppery turnips hold their own in this extra-creamy mash, adding a welcome hit of flavour to the classic comforting side. Make it ahead and simply pop the dish in the oven to reheat before your meal.
Get the recipe: Roasted Garlic Potato and Turnip Mash