The holidays are just around the corner and there are some people (stop looking at me!) who hold out on gift buying until the very last minute. Fear not procrastinators, for I am here to help you with gift ideas you can make/buy for your host family on a budget!

1. Picture book

If you arrived to your family in the summer months, then you already have 4-months worth of special memories to share with them. Put some of your favourite pictures together in a scrapbook as a little keepsake of your time in Canada. Be sure to leave some empty pages for the rest of your stay.

2. Meal voucher

I love the idea of sharing experiences rather than gifts. For your host family, get your creative juices flowing and make them a meal voucher that they can use at anytime. You can make them your favourite meal from back home, or a Canadian meal that you’ve always wanted to try. If you’re brave enough, you could try these Canadian recipes.

3. Show off your talent

Can you play the piano? While reciting what Pi is equal to? All while balancing on a ball? Even if you can do one of these things, that’s entertaining enough to put on a talent show for your host family. Get the kids involved too by asking them to sing a song, show their progress in karate or recite lines from their favourite movie.

4. Favourite book/movie

Sharing is caring; especially if it’s a book that’s changed your life. Give the gift of joy by sharing a book or movie that has been significant to you in the past year. Although it may be too last minute to ship from Amazon, head out to your local bookstore to pick up a book you want to share with your host family. Here’s a suggestion; I usually give The Hobbit by JRR Tolkien to a family that has at least a 10 year old and Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss to a family with younger kids.

5. Chocolate

When all else has failed, give candy. Nobody is going to be upset if you give the gift of delicious European Chocolates. Turn it into a learning opportunity to share your fun facts about Switzerland while munching on some Lindt Lindor Chocolates or tell the history of Germany while savouring the taste of Milka. Or just chow down!