Christmas presents can be a tricky thing to navigate. The easy, box set days of holidays past are gone (who owns a DVD player??), and gauging your loved ones wants/ needs during the holidays can be difficult. After years of golf figurines, picture frames and assorted tchotchke being my go-to gifts for my father, he topped his Christmas list with "no more sh*t for my office" when I was 12. Sorry, Dad. Older and wiser now, I give good gifts. Read on for my picks for giving your friends, family and lovers what they really want this Christmas (no sh*t for offices to be seen).
Commission an artist to paint a piece to hang in the hallway next to all your school photos. Sunset at the lake, a holiday moment, or, if she’s like my mum, a portrait of her dogs – all make excellent subjects to paint. Check out my favourite Toronto-based artist or find a local artist near you.
The future is here – the Amazon Echo controls the lights, thermostats, switches, plays music, answers questions, reads the news: all hands free (it’ll even call you an Uber). Alexa (as the voice service calls herself) fills the room with immersive, 360 degree omni-directional audio. It’s even one of those machines that gets (kind of scarily) smarter as it gets to know you. My tech-savvy, aforementioned father loves his, and so will yours.
YOUR LADY LOVE
A terrarium-making class from Crown Flora is a fun way to spend an otherwise depressing January afternoon together, and she’ll boast about you to her friends every time they glance at her terrarium-topped coffee table. BONUS – when you two eventually break up and you can’t bear the sight of said love fern, the terrarium makes an excellent housewarming gift to your mate who just bought a place with his girlfriend (we promise we won’t say a word).
A dual membership to the Art Gallery of Ontario or your favourite museum means you can break out of your drinks-and-dinner-routine and attend more exhibitions, openings, and special events together.
YOUR GENTLEMAN CALLER
If your boyfriend’s the type who always has holes in his socks, sign him up for The London Sock Exchange, a sock club that will send subscribers a different pair of socks every month, and advice on which socks go with which trousers. If he’s the type who has holes in his underwear, you should dump him – but another great option is the comfiest and coolest jocks around every month from MeUndies.
The perfect handbag: holds a laptop, water bottle, yoga mat, multitasks as a backpack, tote and clutch, and is so sleek and chic you'll travel all over the world with it. Doesn’t exist? Now it does – OVERT’s Noho bag is perfect, and your sis will get so many compliments on it she’ll forget that time you threw her clothes out the window in ’02.
Is your little bro running out of things to impress his Tinder dates with? Help him lock in The One with a wine club. Charlie’s Burgers Wine Program will send him a case every month of unique, limited edition wines that come with cheat sheets (this is where the impressing comes in) of tasting notes, food pairings suggestions, and restaurants in the area that will let you bring in said bottle to eat with their meal accompaniment, no corkage fee charged. CB also runs wine tastings, dinners, and special events with the world’s best food and wine vendors.
THE CHRISTMAS PARTY HOSTESS
Don’t bring flowers, give your gal pal what she’s really going to need this partyccentric season: the gift of masking a hangover. Skyn Iceland is here to help with their handy Hangover Emergency Relief Kit, with cooling eye gels, a “fresh start” mask, lotion and eye pen. She’ll be the only one looking good at brunch tomorrow.
THE KIDS IN YOUR LIFE
Roald Dahl wrote “The BFG” for his grand daughter Sophie, and now you can write a masterpiece for your nephew (sort of). Put Me in the Story will produce a children’s book with your little one as the protagonist: his name, eye colour, hair colour, even theme, will be as you design. Bedtime stories will never be the same.
Of course, the very best gift you could give or receive would be a little something towards your next G&T Weekend. Give your lover, your stressed-out colleague or your friend who needs a little help coming on their next adventure. Whether you want to give a little or a lot, a #GTWKNDS Gift Voucher is a perfect present!.