Detour to Canada

11 Gift Ideas to Give to Your Canadian Newcomer Friends and Loved Ones


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It’s gift-giving season time once again! And I’m sure you’re browsing the internet right now for some ideas to give to your loved ones. If you have any friends or relatives on your list who are newcomers here in Canada, this list of gift ideas is perfectly crafted for you.

11 Gift Ideas to Give to Your Newcomer Friends and Loved Ones

As someone who just came here to Canada last 2019, I can still remember the necessary items we needed as we begin a new chapter of our lives. Especially since we came here mostly with only whatever clothes would fit in our pieces of luggage.

And I’m sure, you can still remember your memories as a newcomer, too. But if you’ve been here for a long time, it might be difficult to remember some of the things you needed when you were just starting your own journey.

So I’ve come up with a list of gift ideas that I think your newcomer friends, relatives, or family members would also appreciate receiving from you. But I also asked my newcomer friends to share their wishlist so you can get more ideas.

Most of the gift ideas here are more on the practical side, which is even perfect because you’re sure that whoever receives them will find them useful.

And the good thing is that you can find some of these items on Amazon Canada’s site.

If you’re from outside Canada, this is a nice way to give your gifts since Amazon is accepting credit cards from other countries. 

So, here are the gift ideas you can give to your newcomer friends and relatives here in Canada.

 #1 Rice Cooker

(Hello, fellow Asian immigrants!)

One of my friends suggested that I add this and I immediately agreed. I remembered this is one of the items we bought when we first moved into our first rented apartment. Who would’ve thought that rice cookers are not just the perfect wedding gift but a newcomers’ welcome present, too? LOL. So, if you have newcomer friends who are just about to arrive, or those who are planning to move out soon to rent their apartment, this could be one of the gifts you can give them.

Tip:  If you’re wondering what type of rice cooker to give, you can go to Amazon and get an Instant Pot (the one we also have) which is a nice choice because it’s also a pressure cooker at the same time. In fact, it’s a 7-in-1 cooker. It’s just not too ideal for single or for couples without kids because the smallest is the 6-quarts cooker. In this case, the Toastmaster rice cooker is a perfect choice (we also use the same brand and we’ve got no complaints so far).

#2 Electric kettle or coffee maker

(And speaking of practical items)

So after the rice cooker, an electric kettle is another one of the most commonly bought items for newcomers. And yes, I also bought one for ourselves just after we arrived here in 2019 (though it’s only from Facebook Marketplace for only $5). So if you’re thinking of a practical gift idea, you’ll never make a mistake if you give this. Or much better, because coffee makers are more common here in Canada, then feel free to give this instead if you feel like being generous.

Tip: We use the Sunbeam Canada Cordless Kettle and Black+Decker Thermal Coffee Maker, both are available from Amazon.

#3 Winter gear and accessories (scarves, gloves, beanies, earmuffs, wool socks)

Since the gift-giving season is also the winter season, what else is more perfect to give than winter accessories? Most newcomers would prioritize buying winter jackets and shoes, so you can offer to gift them with the accessories they need like scarves, gloves (especially the ones for touchscreen), earmuffs, or wool socks. These items are also the most suggested gift ideas among my friends.

Tip: I personally haven’t tried buying winter accessories online because I usually prefer trying them on first. So if you plan to give these items as a gift, here’s where you can buy them (although they are easily available anywhere):

  • Scarves: I just went window shopping from H&M and Marshalls for a scarf. If you happen to want to buy one for yourself (you know, as a gift, too), the price range in these stores I mentioned is between $15-$20. Or you can also buy scarves from Amazon.
  • Gloves: I bought the one I’m using from Winners. I haven’t tried buying gloves from Amazon but you can go and check them out there.
  • Earmuffs: I just found a nice one from Marshalls priced at around $15, but I bought one way back in 2018 from Dollarama for below $4. Again, try to check these earmuffs from Amazon.
  • Fleece lined footed tights: In lieu of long johns, this is what I use as my bottom inner layer. I bought the ones I use now from Winners (Steve Madden) and Marshalls (Nicole Miller). Both are around $12-$15 for a pair of two.
  • Socks and beanies: These are easily available anywhere.

#4 Winter clothes for kids

(Speaking of winter)

If your newcomer friends or relatives have kids, you might also want to give them winter clothes as gifts. You can buy nice ones from Old Navy, Gap, Carter’s, or The Children’s Place. Children don’t need expensive winter outfits because they will outgrow them anyway in one or two years, so it’s okay if you don’t buy from expensive brands like Canada Goose. 

#5 Gift cards

One of our relatives in Manitoba suggested adding cash to the list, but I thought gift cards might be better to give than cash. Most supermarkets here like Walmart have gift cards. You can even go to any stores like Dollarama or Shoppers, or order online from Amazon to buy gift cards for various stores. Aside from being practical, your newcomer friends and relatives would also be free to buy whatever they want if they receive gift cards instead. 

#6 Set of pillow, bedsheets, and duvet 

Another practical gift item that you can give to your newcomer friends or relatives is a set of pillows, bedsheets, and duvet. I can still remember going to Walmart and Home Hardware to buy these items when we first moved into our rented apartment. So your newcomer friends or relatives would surely appreciate receiving these from you. Even if they already have one or two sets, they will surely be happy to get an extra set to use. 

#7 Air purifier and essential oils

When we first moved to our own house, one of our relatives sent us an air purifier and a set of essential oils as a gift. It was nice to have this, although most likely, newcomers wouldn’t prioritize buying it. So this is also another gift idea that you can give.

Tip: The one we have is called Sirena and this is something you may consider giving.

#8 BBQ Grill

(Samgyup night, anyone?)

I included this item in this list because most newcomers would spend their first New Year’s eve here in Canada. They might be considering a Korean-themed night and serve some samgyupsal, so an indoor BBQ grill is a perfect gift. Even if they’re planning a different theme for NYE, they can still use this for another occasion. 

#9 Alexa Fire TV

It’s not so practical, but an Alexa Fire TV is a nice item to have. Some newcomers might not have the budget yet to buy a brand new TV, so most likely, some would buy second-hand TVs that don’t come with Netflix. But if they have an Alexa Fire TV, they can easily watch Netflix or Amazon Prime at home. 

#10 Instax Camera

Again, it’s not a practical gift, but come to think of it: your newcomer friends and relatives are experiencing their first snow here in Canada, so what better way to capture these moments than through an Instax camera? Besides, they won’t buy this for themselves most likely, so if you’re thinking of a gift, then this could be an excellent choice.

#11 Books

If your newcomer friends or relatives are book lovers, then I’m sure they’d squeal in delight after opening a box of brand new books (oh, and the smell). Again, they won’t most likely buy new books in their first few months here. So this is a wonderful gift idea for your newcomer friends or relatives who loves books.

And if they’re into self-development books, what better way to start one’s new journey here than to prepare ourselves emotionally and mentally, too, right? Here are some of my favorite self-development books that I can recommend you give to your friends. 

Other ideas, anyone?

If you think I should add a few more items here to the list, just leave a comment on this post. I also asked a few people from an online forum, and some of them mentioned laptops. I didn’t add it to this list because it’s a bit expensive to give as a gift, don’t you think? But if you’re feeling generous, why not, right?

Well, I hope that these gift ideas helped you think of what to give your friends or loved ones who are also newcomers here in Canada. 

Happy gift shopping!

Kevin and Kris

About the author:

JK Legaspi is a permanent resident of Canada since 2018. She and her family lives in the beautiful Niagara Region. As the founder of Detour To Canada, she aims to help aspiring and future immigrants reach their Canadian dreams by sharing her family’s own immigration and newcomer story. 

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