Top 10 Thoughtful and Affordable Christmas and Holiday Gift Ideas for that Hard-to-Buy-for Person

By Cindy-lou Schmidt

Having trouble finding the perfect gift for the person who has everything? Then this list is for you!

This video is about my Top 10 Thoughtful and Affordable Christmas and Holiday Gift Ideas for that Hard-to-Buy Person!  These gift ideas are sure to make an impact, reduce waste, help avoid re-gifting and leave a  lasting impression!

1. Prepare homemade frozen meals for that busy parent, single person…or any one who likes an easy-to-prepare healthy dinner.

2. Write a thoughtful poem or letter than shows someone how much you care or admire them. We don’t share the way we feel enough. Maybe they’ll end up framing it like I’ve framed one of mine.

3. Make a slideshow or video of a memory. Maybe it was a trip you took with them or a special event. Most computers have basic video making software.

4. If you’re musically inclined, don’t underestimate how lovely it is to have someone play a song for you or even have a song written for you.

5. Babysit your sister, brother or neighbour’s kids. Sometimes, affordable childcare with someone they can can trust can be a big relief!

6. Go ice skating! Classic winter fun!

7. Doggy sit their dog. They’ll be so glad to have the stress of finding doggy-care while they’re gone on vacation.

8. Go outside and hit the trails. There are so many beautiful trails around Waterloo Region but don’t forget that our Ontario Parks are open during the winter too!

9. Bake cookies together. It’s a wonderful time to set aside time to create something tasty!

10. There are wonderful light shows at Bingeman’s or the local malls and shops — and they make for great photos too!

Happy Holidays!


Simplified Market Update – December 2018 – Temperatures cool, homes sales rise

By Cindy-lou Schmidt

While temperatures cooled in October and November, last month ended up being another hot month in real estate in Kitchener-Waterloo and area.

Home sales were up 14.2 per cent in November with 483 homes sold compared to the same month last year, and up 19 per cent compared to the previous 10-year November average of 406 sales, making it the second-best November on record.

Last month I discussed the effect of rising mortgage rates on getting buyers to act before another squeeze on their buying power materializes. In December 2018 Realtors and Mortgage agents cautioned buyers that their buying power would reduced by up to 20% come January 2018 and while some acted, others were cautious and many saw their choice of home style narrow due to the change in budget.

This year, buyers are taking rising interest rates and financing more seriously and  this trend along with others shows in the numbers:

Cindy-lou’s Simplified Market Update


265 detached homes were sold in November (up 9.5 per cent compared to November 2017). Of those sold:

  • 152 condominium units (up 52 per cent) which includes any property regardless of style (i.e. semis, townhomes, apartment, detached etc.).
  • 27 semi-detached homes (down 46 per cent)
  • 31 freehold townhouses (up 14.8 per cent).


The average sale price of all residential properties sold  in  November  increased 7.6 per cent to $477,526 compared November 2017. Broken down by style of home:

  • Detached homes sold for an average price of $580,551 an increase of 12.8 per cent compared to November of last year.
  •  Apartment style condominiums increased by $305,334 on average (increase of 10 per cent).
  • Townhomes sold for an average of $361,177 (down 2 per cent)
  • Semis sold for an average of $416,878 (up 10.7 per cent)


The middle point that divides all sales prices into two equal parts. Comparing November 2018 to November 2017 median stats:

  • All residential properties – $443,800  (up 6.3 per cent)
  • Detached homes – $520,000 (up 9.5 per cent)


Realtors listed 597 residential homes in K-W and areas last month, a 1.1 per cent increase compared to November 2017. Trends:

  • homes listed were 8.2 per cent above the 10-year historical average of 505
  • active listings at the end of November totaled 888 (12.8 per cent lower and 449 units fewer than the 1337 homes listed in November 2017.


Sellers: Prices are naturally rising due to continued demand, particularly for single-detached homes. Waterloo Region is a great place to live and with more eyes on our market from prospective buyers in an outside of our area, we continue to see growth. I expect another very active spring market in 2019. And if your home is listed on the market now, serious buyers are still active and ready to buy before year’s end.

Buyers: Sales prices that are trending up mean that more buyers entering the market are taking advantage of resale and new build townhomes and condominiums. Move up buyers are still aiming to find their right-size home and competing for single-detached properties.

If I were a serious buyer, I would be actively considering homes available on market for the rest of December and take time to view homes if they looked viable. If it’s in the budget, I recommend you contact your agent to explore new-build options.


I hope you enjoyed my Simplified Market Update. I strive to keep my clients and readers informed and empowered.


Full Official Full KWAR Media Release here.