The Ultimate Holiday Gift Guide 2018
The year's best loot, from bargain-basement stocking stuffers to big-ticket splurges
Dillon’s blends its own small-batch gin, vermouth and aperitivo into a bright, bracing twist on the classic cocktail. Store.dillons.ca.
per chick After years of prohibition, it’s finally legal to raise backyard birds in some neighbourhoods. This heritage breed is known for its handsome plumage and prodigious egg production. Dandhnewman.ca.
and up. Sommelier Krysta Oben and wine importer Nicole Campbell—also known as the Grape Witches—equip aspiring oenophiles with a bespoke collection of natural wines. Grapewitches.com.
Matty Matheson’s new recipe collection features crave-worthy, caloric takes on comfort-food classics like gumbo, seafood chowder and Parts and Labour’s iconic burger. Chapters.indigo.ca.
for nine. Kata Ambrus’s exquisite chocolate domes are filled with intriguing flavours like yuzu-caramel and wild strawberry Lion Coffee, 881 St. Clair Ave. W., chocolatdekat.com.
Kasugai’s cult-favourite gummies look and taste eerily like real grapes. Sukoshi Mart, 160 Baldwin St., 647-358-4040, sukoshimart.com.
Dolce and Gabbana teamed up with SMEG to create a line of radiant kitchen appliances inspired by Sicilian iconography. William Ashley, 131 Bloor St. W., 416-964-2900, williamashley.com.
The adorably retro toaster, griddle and coffee maker in one is ideal for cramped condo kitchens. Bedbathandbeyond.ca.
Home bartenders can flavour their hooch with herbs, fruits and botanicals using Alkemista’s gorgeous glass vessel, equipped with a removable stainless steel filter ShopAGO, 317 Dundas St. W., 416-979-6610, shop.ago.ca.
These kitschy enamel studs are topped with hyper-realistic cheese and properly curled 3-D pepperoni rounds. Cufflinksinc.com.
Toronto ex-pat David Zilber and Noma superchef René Redzepi teach culinary thrillseekers to ferment everything from sauerkraut to shoyu. Amazon.ca.
Fans of the green fairy can prepare their own absinthe in Putti’s art nouveau apparatus. Putti Fine Furnishings, 1104 Yonge St., 416-972-7652, putti.ca.
A marbled fixie pie slicer is a fun choice for the die-hard cyclist on your list. Drake General Store, 1151 Queen St. W., 416-538-2222, drakegeneralstore.ca.
Seedlip’s distilled spirits have the same aromatic bite as gin or vermouth—but without the booze. Their Spice 94, made with Jamaican allspice berries and cardamom, is ready-made for fireplace sipping. Average, 1081 Queen St. W., 1-855-439-4881, average.is.
Tiffany’s twisty tube, forged in silver and plated in rose gold vermeil, makes an eco-friendly alternative to disposable straws. Tiffany and Co., 150 Bloor St. W., 416-921-3900, tiffany.com.
For a medieval buzz, the fermented brew from Quebec’s Miels d’Anicet is made of buckwheat honey and funkified for 20 years in oak barrels. Mielsdanicet.com.
Mortar and pestle
Jadeite, the milky green glass ubiquitous in ’50s kitchens, is back in a big way, and Mosser Glass’s sleek grinder is the perfect way to get on trend. Easy Tiger, 1447 Dundas St. W., 647-748-6161, easytigergoods.com.
A hidden ice reservoir in this handmade Japanese crystal decanter keeps rice wine frosty. Cocktail Emporium, 972 Queen St. W., 647-727-3804, cocktailemporium.com.
The MoMA’s lacquered pumpkins offer art geeks a pop of Kusama-inspired Japanese whimsy—without the eight-hour AGO lineups. Store.moma.org.
Toronto artisan Emma Gerard’s hand-blown frosted glass bears and worms look equally cute on a chain or in a candy dish. Emmagerard.com.
New Brunswick artist Stephanie Linnard scours thrift shops and flea markets for discarded bone china and repaints it with regal fauna. Etsy.com.
The leather Quartermaster suitcase from Toronto brand Ebby Rane is Meghan Markle’s favourite carry-on. Ebbyrane.com.
A wax statue of Marie Antoinette will transform a bland Toronto living room into a Versailles-calibre rococo salon. Gravitypope.com.
Pop art ashtray
Equal parts Jolie and Jagger, these glossy lips make a perfect receptacle for (legal!) cannabis debris. Amazon.ca.
Areaware makes a 500-piece ombré jigsaw for hardcore puzzlers who are sick of Thomas Kinkade. Workshoptoronto.com.
Casper conducted 11 months’ worth of dog sleep studies to create the optimal memory foam mattress for your pooch. Casper.com.
The warm glow of Lumio’s portable book lamp offers a welcome reprieve from your iPhone flashlight. Take Note, 2993 Dundas St. W., 416-766-1235, takenotestore.ca.
Alessandro Mendini’s pointillist Proust chair—on display at London’s V&A museum and the MoMA—is as cozy as it is opulent. Quasi Modo, 1079 Queen St. W., 416-703-8300, quasimodomodern.com.
Illustrator Raymond Biesinger commemorates 18 bulldozed Toronto landmarks, including Sam the Record Man, the Temple Building, the Toronto Star building and—sniff—Honest Ed’s. Labour of Love, 223 Carlton St., 416-923-8988, thelabouroflove.ca.
This foot-long brass weiner dog has room for four succulents. Wayfair.ca.
This spacesuited homage to First Man doubles as a quirky flower holder. Bergo Designs, 28 Tank House Ln., 416-861-1821, bergodesigns.ca.
Textile artist Fanny Algaalaga Avatituq of Qamani’tuaq, Nunavut, creates trippy tapestries in neon hues. Craft Ontario, 1106 Queen St. W., 416-921-1721, craftontarioshop.com.
A shaggy pink llama is the cutest possible way to keep a desk dirt-free. Urbanoutfitters.com.
Seletti’s gold-lacquered lamp is pure Warholian weirdness. Bergo Designs, 28 Tank House Ln., 416-861-1821, bergodesigns.ca.
and up Spanish designer Jordi Canudas repeatedly dips lightbulbs into buckets of paint, creating increasingly vivid layers of colour. Jordicanudas.bigcartel.com.
Elizabeth Taylor would covet this silk turban, which protects delicate tresses from abrasive bed linens and pairs perfectly with a printed caftan. 6 By Gee Beauty, 6 Roxborough St. W., 416-960-8080, 6bygeebeauty.com.
Coach’s dainty T-rex studs have rose gold skeletons and tiny Swarovski crystals for eyes. Coach, Eaton Centre, ca.coach.com.
Chadwick Boseman wore one of Ikiré Jones’s vivid Afro-futurist scarves in Black Panther. Mere mortals can buy the silk creations online. Ikirejones.com.
Wolf Circus’s elegantly busty necklace is made in Vancouver from 14-karat gold. Loversland, 215 Ossington Ave., 416-551-3321, loversland.com.
Art deco ring
For fans of Crazy Rich Asians (as well as actual crazy rich people), this antique emerald and diamond bauble is a doppelganger of the one Michelle Yeoh wields in the movie. Cynthiafindlay.com.
A Lannister always pays his debts—and wears his golden lion cufflinks. Shop.nordstrom.com.
Girl power sweatshirt
This Canadian-designed, raised-fist crewneck is the must-have uniform for the 2019 Women’s March. Crescentandclair.com.
Gucci’s Lurex kids’ skirt is a shimmering candy-cane twist on the classic schoolgirl uniform. Gucci.com.
Toronto designer Sid Neigum’s majestic coat is woven from alpaca, mohair and virgin lambswool. Net-a-porter.com.
The one thing Drake and Kanye can agree on is their shared love of Versace’s iconic baroque bathrobe. The silk version sets a new standard for ’80s opulence. Versace, Yorkdale Shopping Centre, 416-551-6065, versace.com.
Gwyneth Paltrow’s eponymous brand now ships to Canada. We like the GOOP glow kit, packed with fragrant, luxurious facial schmears. Shop.goop.com.
and up Discerning toddlers will appreciate Marc Jacobs’s reversible parka, with fluffy faux-leopard on one side and quilted navy on the other. Shop.nordstrom.com.
Staud’s bucket bag, encased in a fisherman’s net, is the season’s ultimate Instagram status purse. Holt Renfrew, 50 Bloor St. W., 416-922-2333, holtrenfrew.com.
A cozy Christmas pullover is a subtle yet striking choice for the guy who won’t take off his Kawhi Leonard jersey. Store.nba.com.
Drake might own a pair of solid-gold Air Jordans, but Nike’s metallic retro kicks are the next best thing. Flightclub.com.
The enamel porcelain earrings, hand-painted by Toronto artist Julie Moon, are a charming way to show provincial pride. Shopgirls, 1342 Queen St. W., 416-534-7467, shopgirls.ca.
Sons and Daughters’ frames have graced the face of tiny style icon Blue Ivy Carter (unfortunately, they don’t come in adult sizes). Wearesonsanddaughters.com.
New moms Cardi B., Kylie Jenner and Mindy Kaling parade their babies around in Jeremy Scott’s kitschy pram, festooned with cherubs and gold angel wings. Shop.nordstrom.com.
Serena Williams has slammed her way to 72 titles using Wilson’s Blade 104 racquets, made with powerful shock-absorbing technology. Merchant of Tennis, 1621 Bayview Ave., 416-932-2396, merchantoftennis.com.
Aspiring Tessa Virtues will be pretty in pink in Moxi’s stylish suede blades. Moxiskates.com.
Basketball BFFs DeMar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry now play for different teams, but they’ll be together forever in Toronto artist LeeAndra Cianci’s wistful print. Leeandracianci.com.
The chirpy digital pet—and bane of ’90s parents everywhere—has been re-released for its 20th anniversary, ready to be loved, fed and inevitably killed all over again. Mastermind Toys, 1133 Yonge St., 416-922-2872, mastermindtoys.com.
Nostalgic Nintendo gamers will appreciate this glowing Super Mario night light as much as their kids do. Amazon.com.
Forget Ace the Blue Jay—the trash raccoon is Toronto’s undisputed mascot. Spacing Store, 401 Richmond St. W., 416-644-1017, spacingstore.ca.
Between Sharp Objects and Hereditary, 2018 was the year of the dollhouse. Petit Pet House’s diorama lacks the fear factor but features just as much detail: you can outfit it with tiny iPads and peewee Perrier bottles. Etsy.com.
Fancy rolling papers
for two Handcrafted from edible 24-karat gold, Shine’s weed wrappers are worthy of Snoop Dogg himself. Weedbox.io.
Meghan Markle’s royal wedding look is meticulously reconstructed in miniature: the Givenchy gown in satin with scalloped lace, jewellery, and a tiara encrusted with Swarovski crystals. Bradfordexchange.ca.
You’d never guess that Toronto company Brave Soles constructs its gorgeous shoulder bags from recycled inner tubes. Bravesoles.life.
Service dog sponsorship
A contribution to the Lions Foundation of Canada will offset a cuddly canine’s vet costs during his first year of service training. Dogguides.com.
Textile artists in rural Kyrgyzstan make their toasty pachydermal footwear in small batches. Aga Khan Museum Shop, 77 Wynford Dr., 416-646-4677, shop.agakhanmuseum.org.
Meryl Streep and Reese Witherspoon have shown their support for the Time’s Up movement by sporting Lingua Franca’s plush yet political handstitched cashmere pullover. Proceeds go to Time’s Up legal defence fund. Linguafranca.nyc.
Holt Renfrew’s H Project collaborates with ethical designers like Mercedes Salazar, who works with Indigenous Colombian artisans to create her whimsical, nature-inspired pieces. Holt Renfrew, 50 Bloor St. W., 416-922-2333, holtrenfrew.com.
The British brand Abbeyhorn forges delicate dishware from renewable, ethically sourced bovine horns found in the wilds of Africa. Hopson Grace, 1120 Yonge St., 416-926-1120, hopsongrace.com.
Super-trendy Swedish brand Fjallraven makes its Re-Kanken satchel out of polyester extracted from used plastic bottles. Fjallraven, 356 Queen St. W., 647-340-0197, fjcanada.ca.
The 24-karat-gold-plated pin is modelled after the distinctive collar worn by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg on dissent days. Fifty per cent of profits go to causes that RBG loves. Dissentpins.com.
Condo-bound horticulturalists can grow their own herbs and veggies using Modern Sprout’s three-pot planter, nourished by a top-feed hydroponic system and window-friendly solar panels. Modsprout.com.
A Star Is Born Blu-Ray
Before Gaga belted “Shallow,” Judy Garland was crooning “The Man That Got Away.” Amazon.ca.
Daniel Caesar vinyl
Fans of the plush-voiced Oshawa R&B star include Stevie Wonder, Chance the Rapper and Barack Obama, who shouted out Caesar’s track “Blessed” on a list of his favourite new songs. Danielcaesar.shop.
The best way to keep Drizzy close to home and hearth this holiday season is to hang him on your tree. Retrofestive.ca.
Harry Potter Lego
The 6,000-piece Hogwarts castle is a Lego geek’s Everest, with moving staircases, buildable stained-glass windows and a Chamber of Secrets complete with basilisk. Shop.lego.com.
Toronto artist Jason Logan conjures ink with plants he forages in High Park and the Don Valley. In his new book, he tells readers how he does it. Torontoinkcompany.com.
Inside Kiyola’s sleek oak cabinet are all the frills of an electric piano: a sensory keyboard, Bluetooth connectivity, built-in speakers and a digital metronome. Remenyi, 210 Bloor St. W., 416-961-3111, remenyi.com.
A wooden cutout of Mama Ru, hand-painted by Peterborough artist Lucky Jackson, is a gag-worthy gift for any Drag Race superfan. TKVO, 1450 Dundas St. W., 416-551-2884, tkvolife.com.
Those who’ve finished binging Netflix’s creepy new series can delve deeper into Sabrina Spellman’s witchy shenanigans. Amazon.ca.
Timothée Chalamet is the face that launched a thousand T-shirts. Call Me By Your Name screenwriter James Ivory wore a version of this soulful design to the 2018 Oscars. Etsy.com.
Toronto’s mean streets are no match for Lumos’s helmet, equipped with lights for turning, brakes and nighttime visibility. Bateman's Bicycle Company, 913 Bathurst St., 416-538-2453, batemansbikeco.com.
Millennium Falcon drone
The airborne Millennium Falcon is as fast and fleet as its namesake, with a light-up cockpit manned by Han Solo and Chewie. Amazon.com.
Polaroid has re-released its ’90s-era 600 cam with all the old features—fixed focus lens, lightening slider—and a new look straight out of Saved by the Bell. Us.polaroidoriginals.com.
The Hedge is a sleek digital timepiece for smartphone resisters. EQ3, 222 King St. E., 416-815-2002, eq3.com.
A bright spot in Elon Musk’s unstoppable world takeover: this diminutive, customizable ride-on Tesla Model S, powered by eco-friendly lithium ion batteries. Tesla.radioflyer.com.
The Mirage Solo is the first self-contained VR apparatus—no smartphone or PC setup required. It pairs with Google’s Tron-calibre Worldsense technology, allowing users to duck, dodge, stroll and lean inside their simulated dimensions. Lenovo.com.
Weatherman’s contraption is an essential defence against Toronto’s biblical floods. It withstands winds of 55 miles per hour, connects to Bluetooth for tracking, and features industrial fibreglass and Teflon coating. Weathermanumbrella.com.
Bose’s wireless plugs block out stentorian snorers and are pre-loaded with white-noise settings, from the inside of an airplane to the rush of the ocean. Bay Bloor Radio, 55 Bloor St. W., 416-967-1122, baybloorradio.com.
In Jennifer Farquhar's Watermark, Mina McInnis returns to her childhood home on Nimikwe Island, determined to uncover the truth about a tragedy from her past—and the creature that dwells in the cold, dark waters of Lake Huron. Latitude46publishing.com.
Latitude 46 Publishing
Soulmates on Ice follows Northern Ontario pairs skaters Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford en route to the top. The duo, who won a complete set of Olympic medals, reflect on their working relationship, how they honed their resilience in a sport that often left them bloodied and bruised, and their perfect storybook ending. Latitude46publishing.com.
Latitude 46 Publishing
This gift pack comes with two teardrop whiskey tumblers and a 700-mL bottle of Writers’ Tears Copper Pot Irish whiskey. It's perfect for sharing with friends. Lcbo.com.
Writers’ Tears Copper Pot Premium Irish Whiskey
Anthropocene, the latest book by Edward Burtynsky, Jennifer Baichwal and Nicholas de Pencier, chronicles the irreversible impact of humans on the Earth. In photographs that are both stunning and disconcerting, the artists document species extinction. technofossils and terraforming. Ben McNally Books, 366 Bay St., 416-361-0032, benmcnallybooks.com.
Goose Lane Editions
Massey Hall history
As a part of the Massey Hall Revitalization, the original wooden seat backs from 1894 have been decommissioned—and fans of the hall have a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to own a piece of history. Mounted in a commemorative frame and accompanied by a certificate of authenticity, these seat backs are available in limited quantities. 416-872-4255, masseyhall.com.
Art history book
For more than 30 years, Dennis Reid's A Concise History of Canadian Painting has been the definitive volume on the art of a nation. Reid traces the development of the movements, techniques and subjects that would come to define Canadian art in the 20th century, and its evolution in the years beyond. Oupcanada.com.
Oxford University Press Canada
The rose-tinted Levenswater Spring 34 is a small-batch, ultra-premium gin made with 34 botanicals. The winner of seven awards, this local, Ontario-crafted gin offers a layered and sensory drinking experience that is delicious enough to sip on its own or mix in a seasonal cocktail at your upcoming holiday party. Levenswater.com.
Spa and cocktails
and up. A great way to really pamper someone on your list: a gift card to Her Majesty’s Pleasure, an award winning social beauty hot spot that offers head-to-toe beauty services, cocktails and a boutique in one. Her Majesty's Pleasure, 556 King St. W., 416-546-4991, secure-booker.com.
Her Majesty's Pleasure
The Huawei Mate 20 Pro sets a new standard in the smartphone category. It's powered by the world’s first 7-nm artificial intelligence chipset, Kirin 980, and comes with a Leica Triple Camera with an ultra-wide-angle lens and and AI-enhanced filmmaking features. Consumer.huawei.com.
and up. The Gardiner Museum is one of the city’s cultural gems. Art lovers on your list will appreciate a membership, which gives them first access to new exhibits and more. Coming in 2019? Ai Weiwei: Unbroken. Gardiner Museum, 111 Queen’s Park, 416-408-5076, gardinermuseum.com.
and up. In this individually crafted cuckoo clock, the mechanism that counts the hours is natural, so the bellows sound warm and not electronic. Equipped with a light detector, the clock is quiet and does not chime during the night. It's available in two sizes and colours. MUJI, various locations, muji.com.
Wine gift set
This year, Inniskillin and Jackson-Triggs provide a perfect holiday gift for the wine lover in your life. The limited-edition holiday gift set includes a bottle of the new Inniskillin Cabernet Sauvignon Icewine and a bottle of sparkling Jackson-Triggs Entourage Brut. Greatestatesniagara.com.
Great Estates Niagara
Recycling truck toy
This hand-painted wooden truck has sortable paper, metal and plastic blocks. It's crafted by Sri Lankan toymakers, many of whom have been able to move to brick houses with galvanized steel roofs and leave their flimsy thatched-roof homes behind. Ten Thousand Villages, tenthousandvillages.ca.
Ten Thousand VIllages
This luxurious yoga pillow, crafted from a shiny patchwork of rich fabric, is made by Mai Handicrafts, a non-profit organization founded by social workers concerned about the plight of street children in Ho Chi Minh City. Ten Thousand Villages, tenthousandvillages.ca.
Ten Thousand Villages
Elevated hair care
per bottle Inspired by the terpenes found in Up Cannabis's strains, Upothecary's products are made in Canada with locally sourced ingredients, and are certified vegan, cruelty-free, SLES-free and paraben-free. The wake up! Sativa Shampoo features uplifting terpenes like limonene, terpinolene and pinene; the ease up! Indica Conditioner releases floral, grounding aromas such as lavender, chamomile, and ylang ylang. Upothecary.ca.
This Fred Segal–designed chair, coated in cozy faux shearling, gives the home office a hygge makeover. Cb2.com.
Michelle Obama sported these gold drop earrings by Toronto designer Jenny Bird during a recent shoot for Elle. They’ll look (almost) as good with your favourite festive cocktail dress. Jenny-bird.ca.
Soia and Kyo's marshmallowy, down-filled scarf is a toasty reprieve from itchy knits. Soiakyo.com.
The Airwrap, Dyson’s latest gadget, is a curler, straightener and hair-dryer in one, creating sultry-smooth waves without the damaging heat. Dysoncanada.ca.
Well Told Health’s vitamin D supplement, made with organic portobello mushrooms, spinach and quinoa, is sunlight in a bottle. Welltold.com.
Toronto gift basket
The folks at Saul Good Gift Co. have eaten their way through every neighbourhood in the city, from Roncy to the Beach, to collect the very best local snacks and sweets, including Evelyn’s crackers, Nude honey and Soul Chocolate. Itsaulgood.com.
LG's compact LED projector shines movies on any white wall and comes with HD resolution, built-in Bluetooth speakers and screen-sharing capabilities. Staples.ca.
PuffCo's new bong comes with four heat settings that automatically adjust for consistent results. Torontohemp.com.
Fans of comic phenom Kate Beaton will love this teeny enamel pin, which depicts her delightfully plump, occasionally flatulent Shetland pony character. Page-panel.myshopify.com.
Woods Alverstone Expedition Parka
The Alverstone Iconic Expedition Parka was inspired by the original Woods Arctic Parka, developed in 1903 for Captain Bernier to wear during his explorations on the CGS Arctic. The coat uses 800 Fill DownTek™ duck down and a waterproof and breathable SympaTex® membrane for shelter from winter’s harshest weather. Sport Chek, various locations, sportchek.ca.
per class This five-part, sommelier-led series covers wine-tasting fundamentals, food pairings, leading reds and whites of the world, and sparkling wines. Pick your favourite class, or sign up for the series at a discount. Gift certificates available. As seen in Toronto Life. Drinktoronto.ca.