The Ultimate Holiday Gift Guide 2017
We scoured the streets, polled designers and rooted out the year’s most covetable loot. Here, our favourite stocking stuffers, splurges and everything in between
Toronto artist Erin Rothstein creates photorealistic paintings of McDonald's fries, roasted marshmallows and glistening bacon strips. They’re so lifelike you'll want to eat them off the wall. Erinrothstein.bigcartel.com.
Pico makes a home brewing device that allows beer connoisseurs to concoct their own IPAs, pilsners and lagers using prepackaged hopes and grains. Picobrew.com.
Millennial pink cookware
Le Creuset’s covetable new line comes in the year’s hottest shade of blush. Thebay.com.
In Curry, Toronto author Naben Ruthnum unspools deep thoughts on family, folklore and race through the lens of South Asia’s signature dish. Queen Books, 914 Queen St. E., 416-778-5053, queenbooks.ca.
These dishes are an elegant ode to Wonder Woman, with the superheroine’s logo filigreed in gold across the surface. Boxlunch.com.
Cloaked in 14-karat gold, this opulent vessel is the kind of thing Jay Gatsby would pick out for himself. BYOB Cocktail Emporium, 972 Queen St. W., 647-727-3600, cocktailemporium.ca.
The latest model of the cultish Instant Pot pressure cooker is equipped with BlueTooth, allowing home cooks to prep perfect risotto from anywhere in the house—no stirring necessary. Amazon.ca.
Aspiring mycologists can grow their own fungus in two weeks using the Shroombox, an eco-friendly kit filled with oyster mushroom spores. Fungaea.com.
Meghan Markle’s chilies
and up Terroni’s lip-tingling Puglian hot peppers are the future princess’s favourite condiment. Labottegaditerroni.com.
Savvy home cooks grill their food on a sizzling, hand-carved hunk of Himalayan salt, which infuses steak, seafood and veggies with a briny, mineral kick. Bed Bath and Beyond, 382 Yonge St., 416-205-9653, bedbathandbeyond.com.
A pair of porcelain ponies add fairy-tale whimsy to an otherwise staid table. Labour of Love, 223 Carlton St., 416-923-8988, thelabouroflove.ca.
This quartet of gelato-hued spoons look like they came straight out of a tea party in Wonderland. Anthropologie.com.
Hot dog backpack
This cheeky cartoon satchel will be the envy of the cafeteria crowd. Good Neighbour, 935 Queen St. E., 647-350-0663, goodnbr.com.
Bob Ross doll
This palm-size rendering of PBS’s hippy-dippy art icon comes with a miniature palette for painting happy little trees. Mindzai, 11 Camden St., 416-737-2711, mindzai.ca.
Hellboy auteur Guillermo del Toro’s gorgeously macabre new book features drawings, journals and photos of his sprawling Gothic mansion. ShopAGO, 317 Dundas St. W., 416-979-6610, shop2.ago.net.
A Toronto Scrabble nerd devised these stylish two-letter tiles to gussy up the gameplay. Playdigraphs.com.
Art Deco duck
Kid O’s duckies are a designy ode to the massive bird that showed up at Harbourfront last summer. KolKid, 674 Queen St. W., 416-681-0368, kolkid.ca.
Fancy fidget spinner
FlickDecks’ hand spinner, fashioned from aerospace-grade aluminum and skateboard bearings, doubles as a bottle opener, thereby extending its shelf life past peak trendiness. Flickdecks.com.
Star Wars Lego
The new Millennium Falcon is the largest (and most expensive) Lego set ever produced, with some 7,500 pieces, a removable cockpit and a full crew of characters to man the ship (RIP Han Solo). Shop.lego.com.
From the kid-whisperer creators of the Hatchimal comes Luvabella, an artificially intelligent baby doll programmed with hundreds of uncannily lifelike behaviours. Toysrus.ca.
A Toronto mom invented this analog sleuthing kit for device-dependent kids. Recipients slowly solve a juicy whodunit, receiving new clues—maps, codes, keys—each week via snail mail. Mailordermystery.com.
The new Nintendo Switch is the ideal way to stoke ’90s nostalgia; games include Super Mario Bros. and the Legend of Zelda. Bestbuy.ca.
Custom peg dolls
for five Toronto artist Anna Smith of Glue Paper Scissors creates personalized family portraits in the form of whimsical wooden action figures. Etsy.com.
Jory Brigham’s stunning rendition of the rec room staple has a hand-carved walnut playing surface, brass inlay and a Danish-weave net. Jorybrigham.com.
The Toronto company 2nd Shot collects broken skateboards from parks and vintage stores and transforms them into sleek wrist candy. 2ndshot.ca.
New-agey artists the Broadbent Sisters design hand-painted cards for amateur occultists. Northwood General, 800 Bloor St. W., northwoodto.ca.
After years of being compared to a Ken doll, the PM has finally become one. Trudeau’s hand-crafted doppelgänger waves, poses and spouts inspirational platitudes about diversity and hope. Bradfordexchange.ca.
Castor Designs’ porcelain pipe transforms into a sculptural vase when not in use for higher purposes. Tip: clean out the bong water first. Tokyo Smoke, 668 Queen St. W., ca.tokyosmoke.com.
This campy desk trinket offers a funky take on the cactus craze. Putti Fine Furnishings, 1104 Yonge St., 1-800-649-3120, putti.ca.
Air Jordan candle
A waxen replica of the classic Nike high-top is a fun choice for the obsessive sneakerheads on your gift list. Facebook.com.
A tabletop tribute to the TTC’s new Bombardier streetcars—and this one actually shows up on time. Spacing Store, 401 Richmond St. W., 416-644-1017, spacingstore.ca.
Hans Wegner’s mammoth lounger, inspired by Picasso’s Guernica, most recently appeared in Laura Dern’s living room on the house-porn sensation Big Little Lies. Torp Inc., 245 Davenport Rd., 416-968-2768, torpinc.com.
The Folio Society edition of The Handmaid’s Tale is equal parts brutal and beautiful, with Soviet-style illustrations by sister-artists Anna and Elena Balbusso. Foliosociety.com.
A Stranger Things–style mustard-yellow phone is reason enough to keep your landline. It comes with a mechanical ringer, rotary-style push buttons and direct access to the Upside Down. Chapters.indigo.ca.
Pop art pillow
Local comics creator Maria Qamar designs bright Warholian prints that spoof strict South Asian aunty culture (this one’s called the Rainbow Death Stare). Hatecopy.com.
Superstar furniture maker Heidi Earnshaw helps carpentry novices sand and lathe their own hipster planters. Junctionworkshop.ca.
This adorably minimalist nursery staple feels like rocking on a cloud. Ella and Elliot, 188 Strachan Ave., 416-850-7890, ellaandelliot.com.
Elte’s textile genies source these antique Turkish and Persian kilims, which are stripped of their original dyes and recoloured in bold hues. Elte, 80 Ronald Ave., 416-785-7885, elte.com.
A dollhouse-sized model of a Lower East Side fire escape is a perfect perch for tchotchkes and tiny succulents. VdeV, 120 Ossington Ave., 647-348-3381, vdevmaison.com.
The glassy sphere gets a minimalist makeover, filled with a mesmerizing flurry instead of Christmas kitsch. Type Books, 427 Spadina Rd., 416-487-8973, typebooks.ca.
This angular cleansing bar looks like a hunk of raw aquamarine and smells of cucumber and gardenia. ShopAGO, 317 Dundas St. W., 416-979-6610, shop2.ago.net.
Game of Thrones costume designers turned IKEA’s shaggy Tejn rug into the cape Jon Snow wears north of the wall (it also makes a cozy throw at Winterfell). Ikea.com.
Native Trails’ bottomless bathtubs are made from recycled copper and hand-hammered by Mexican artisans. Water Closet, 65 Worcester Rd., 416-213-1580, watercloset.ca.
The gravity-defying Gramovox features superlative built-in speakers and hypnotic vertical spinning. Gramovox.com.
Hamilton illustrator Kristie Ryder Costello of Poppermost Prints sketches minimalist portraits of icons like Hillary Clinton and Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Etsy.com.
Toronto designer Nicole Manek makes sumptuous, PETA-proof silver fox clutches from recycled fur coats and vintage leather flourishes. Lifeofmanek.com.
These canine neighbourhood hoodies are as virtuous as they are adorable: the designers donate a portion of all sales to a charity for adoptable elderly dogs. Hwbp.ca.
Bar Raval chef Grant van Gameren collects these jugs, hand-blown by Indigenous Oaxacan artisans from recycled glass. Xaquixe.mx.
New York Times subscription
Fake news crusaders, lifestyle junkies and crossword puzzlers will all appreciate a year’s supply of the Grey Lady’s digital edition. Nytimes.com.
Planet Earth II Blu-Ray
The Beeb’s eco-blockbuster returns with six hours of dazzling natural wonder (including an episode highlighting Toronto’s impish raccoons). Amazon.ca.
The Drake’s soft waffle sleeper is festooned with cute drawings by SickKids patients (a portion of the proceeds go to the hospital, too). Drake General Store, 1151 Queen St. W., 647-346-0742, drakegeneralstore.ca.
The altruists at Kind Karma hire homeless and at-risk Toronto kids to handcraft delicate accessories, like these twinkling baubles made from crystallized quartz. Kindkarmaco.com.
Maryam Nassir Zadeh’s plush block heels are the best use of blue velvet since, well, Blue Velvet. The Narwhal, 8 Price St., 647-351-5011, narwhalboutique.com.
On the latest season of Master of None, Aziz Ansari bundled up in YSL’s checked jacket for his wistful New York walks. Mrporter.com.
A pair of glittering gold tassels is the ultimate New Year’s Eve accessory. Shop.lizziefortunato.com.
Yes, this is the wildly extravagant mink-trimmed silk kimono Beyoncé wore to the NBA All-Star Game while incubating her Gemini twins. (Blue Ivy also sported Gucci.) Gucci, 130 Bloor St., 416-963-5127, gucci.com.
The cultish perfumer Le Labo recently opened a Toronto boutique, selling intoxicating, gender-neutral scents like Santal 33, a smoky, leathery blend that’s rumoured to be Justin Bieber’s favourite musk. Le Labo, 876 Queen St. W., 416-531-3129, lelabofragrances.ca.
The face of this nautical brass-and-silver band is stamped with a sketch of the Albion, a mythical 16th-century sailing ship. 18 Waits, 990 Queen St. W., 647-346-0118, 18waits.com.
The Creeper—a collaboration between Puma and Rihanna’s Fenty label—is just the kind of chunky platform sneaker you’d expect to see in a vintage Aaliyah video. Gravitypope, 1010 Queen St. W., 647-748-5155, gravitypope.com.
The Ark tortoise purse may not be ideal for loose credit cards, but it makes gorgeous sculptural arm candy for celebs like Michelle Williams and Jessica Alba. Intermix, 130 Bloor St. W., 416-925-0111, intermixonline.com.
Tech wizards in training can learn to code and wire their own laptops using Kano’s colourful DIY sets. Chapters.indigo.ca.
Anki’s adorable Cozmo droid is equipped with machine-learning AI software, hundreds of facial expressions and an endless capacity for games like keep-away and tag. Bestbuy.ca.
Ethereum, the buzzy cryptocurrency invented by a teenage Toronto prodigy, is a 21st-century twist on the cash-stuffed envelope. Coinsquare.io.
The best thing about Beats’ new headphones isn’t their (excellent) sound delivery—it’s their incredible noise-cancelling mechanism, which makes the loudest open-concept office feel like a remote cabin in the woods. Apple.com.
The Copenhagen wheel transforms any ordinary bicycle into a motorized hog, getting you twice as far with no extra pedalling. Content.superpedestrian.com.
$280 Levo’s shiny machine infuses butter and cooking oils with premium-grade kush. Non-stoners can use it to flavour oils with fruits, nuts, herbs or flowers. Toronto Hemp Company, 665 Yonge St., 416-920-1980, torontohemp.com.
HP’s pocket-sized gadget instantly tranforms social media photos into glossy colour prints. Store.hp.com.
Kendall and Kylie Jenner are fans of these sci-fi goggles, equipped with cameras that link directly to the messaging platform. Spectacles.com.
Designer Runa Klock polishes soapstone and marble into freezable beverage chillers. Easy Tiger, 1447 Dundas St. W., 647-748-6161, easytigergoods.com.
and up Chef Sang Kim (formerly of Blowfish) teaches sushi newbies the delicate art of slicing sashimi, rolling makimono and seasoning sushi rice. Sushimakingforthesoul.com.
GPS dog collar
The ingenious Link collar knows everything about its furry owner: it logs Fido’s vet records, activity levels and temperature. Best of all: if the dog goes AWOL, his owner can track him on their phone. Wantboard.ca.
Oakville-raised entrepreneur Tal Dehtiar sells rugged leather footwear out of a factory in Ethiopia—the first shoe company in the world to be certified fair-trade. Ca.oliberte.com.
Etsy artist Helena Rakhuba of Here and Now Shop encases leaves and sprigs into tiny, one-of-a-kind glass lapel pins. Etsy.com.
Irish designer Orla Kiely’s floral pattern will give any kitchen a stylish Stepford vibe. Scout, 405 Roncesvalles Ave., 416-546-6922, iheartscout.com.
Everything you need to make an in-flight Moscow mule (minus the vodka). Muttonhead, 2124 Queen St. E., 647-348-2980, muttonheadstore.com.
for four Toronto ceramicist Xenia Taler makes porcelain coasters and trivets in poppy ’80s prints. Spruce, 455 Parliament St., 647-748-4060, sprucetoronto.com.
OCAD alum and professional knotter Natalie Ranae teaches DIYers how to make intricate wall hangings, dangling planters and other homey accessories. Natalieranae.com.
Dogsledding day trip
and up A cuddly squad of Iditarod-running Siberian huskies—including Viper, Andy and the hilariously named Nuisance—zip city slickers across the wintry expanse of cottage country. Winterdance.com.
For klutzy oenophiles, a walnut chalice is an unbreakable alternative to fragile crystal. Bonus: the wood purportedly insulates the wine, keeping it at an ideal temperature. Bergo Designs, 28 Tank House Ln., 416-861-1821, bergodesigns.ca.
per month Kobo’s new audiobook service allows literary types to while away the Christmas break listening to their favourite titles, including Into the Water by Paula Hawkins, Truly Madly Guilty by Lianne Moriarty and the complete Harry Potter series. Kobo.com.
Kitchen76, the rustic restaurant at Two Sisters Vineyards, makes a delectable birch-board platter loaded with Sable & Rosenfeld four-pepper olive dip, olive bruschetta, salami, Forelli olive oil, pita crisps, bamboo tongs and a tin olive oil dispenser. Each order comes with a Kitchen76 apron and a bottle of the vineyard's silky 2013 merlot. Twosistersvineyards.com.
Two Sisters Vineyards
and up Whispering Springs Wilderness Retreat, a luxe new glamping resort in Northumberland County, offers all the wonder of the great outdoors without the hassle. Guests stay in luxury safari tents, with access to private ensuite washrooms, complimentary breakfast and amenities like yoga classes and massage therapy. Whisperingsprings.ca.
Whispering Springs Wilderness Retreat
Inspired by MCM’s Patricia shoulder bag, this versatile flap cross-body offers day-to-night style. Expertly crafted from Visetos-coated canvas, its structured design is complemented by an iconic laurel lock closure. Plus, it’s been carefully decorated with hand-applied studs for a hint of edgy glamour. MCM Yorkville, 93 Bloor St. W., us.mcmworldwide.com.
J.P. Wiser's master blender, Dr. Don Livermore, has a PhD in distilling. He wrote his dissertation on how the right wooden barrels can bring out flavours of toffee, vanilla and spice in fine whisky. The aptly named, limited-release Dissertation blend was made with 114 virgin oak cask barrels. LCBO, lcbo.com.
J.P. Wiser's Triple Barrel Rye is aged in three barrels to emphasize three flavour profiles: the virgin American white oak barrels highlight vanilla-caramel toffee, bourbon casks extract dried fruits, and Canadian whisky barrels bring out a toasty grain character. LCBO, lcbo.com.
Dewar’s is the world’s most-awarded blended scotch whisky, with more than 500 medals in international competitions. Dewar's 12 is double-aged for a smoother taste: the distillers blend the whiskies, combine them in vintage oak casks and leave them to mellow. The result is a light-bodied, balanced whisky with flavours of oak, citrus, honey and vanilla. LCBO, lcbo.com.