Notable Gift Guide: What Young Professionals Really Want This Season

Why does it seem that our peers – other young professionals (YPs) – are always the toughest to buy for? Because many of us have just about everything we want, that’s why. Thus it can make coming up with a good gift idea nearly impossible. For this year’s holiday shopping showdown, however, hold that stress, as we’ve created a unique gift guide based on the wish lists of YPs from across the country in a variety of professional fields. So, if you are wracking your brain when it comes to gifts, wrack no more. Check out our notable list to find out just what your YP peers are wishing for this holiday season:  

What the Guys Want
Men are very particular and difficult when it comes to what they like and want, so we asked them ourselves to uncover the truth…

For a pickier, fashion forward man who knows what he likes, opt for a rare or exclusive fashion piece that suits his style or adds to his collection. “An exclusive pair of Jordan’s for my Jordan collection is always a winner for me. You also can’t go wrong with a rare pair of Louboutins or a Hermes belt,” says one fashion-forward YP gent in Montreal.”Unless your girlfriend really knows you, or you are a guy that is not finicky with his style, “don’t bother buying clothing because you can easily go amiss,” says another in Toronto.

Shane, 35, from Toronto, is a director of sales in the online automotive industry. This year he is hoping to find a pair of Cole Haan, LunarGrand shoes under his tree. Working alongside Nike, Cole Haan has created a line of semi-formal shoes that mash up a classic look with the more urban Nike Lunarlon sole.

If you are in a more long-term relationship and you can afford to invest in something lavish, a watch is at the top of every man’s wishlist… but we’ve been warned: “Don’t go overboard with a trendy watch, instead select a more classic style,” advises Eric, 30 from Toronto. Suggestions from YP males include Daniel Wellington watches (or used vintage pieces).

Many flashier men these days also seem to be “captivated by Cartier‘s Love Bracelet,” as one gent (with some good case) told us on Toronto streets. 

For the more rugged man, going for items that ignite the “facets of manhood” is always a successful choice. “I love a handy pocketknife, or a good lighter. One of my favorite websites is Whether you want well-crafted pieces to adorn a wall or you are going to manage a forest, these pieces act as functional art,” says one such rugged type. Still not satisfied? As one Toronto YP pointed out, it doesn’t get more Canadian than a Hudson’s Bay Canoe.

For the man’s man, Brent, 32, a commercial real-estate manager in Montreal, is wishing for a Krups BeerTender. Available at Best Buy, the BeerTender is a bar or counter top draft beer tap. It keeps your Heineken or Newcastle beer at the perfect serving temperature, ready and waiting for you in the man cave, kitchen island, or, hey, why not the office? For the same guy, table hockey and cigars were also suggested.

For the sentimental guy, many men claim to enjoy receiving something nostalgic. Arrange an unforgettable experiential gift. “Buying tickets to a game or a show, or organizing an activity that I could do with my girlfriend, would be cool. Even having her dress up in sexy lingerie to give me a lap dance would be unexpected and appreciated,” says a young Vancouver gent. 

For the gadget-loving guy, you can’t go wrong with “a new flat screen TV, tools and gizmos for [my] desk, or travel accessories are always useful and great to be given,” says a tech-savvy YP from Montreal.

For the clean-cut, uncomplicated man, basics are always a great gift. “They are easy and you can’t go wrong. You can never get enough white tees, belts or a good pair of jeans,” says Rob, 32, an ad exec from Toronto. Wholesome and timeless gifts are always relished; just don’t go overboard with the trends. “Filson luggage, Oliver Peoples glasses, a leather-wrapped flask, an Il Bussetto wallet, Miansai bracelet, any Tanner leather goods, a nice knife and Baxter hair products are all ideal gifts that I will never get sick of,” he continues. 

For your dad or brother, follow the advice of Cameron, 26, an adult educator in Calgary, who has the new NutriBullet on his wish list. An upgraded version of the popular Magic Bullet, this more powerful model is designed especially for creating the healthy shakes and smoothies that so many of us YPs are now downing on a daily basis. Available at Canadian Tire, the NutriBullet (as well as its predecessor) is one of the few “As Seen on TV Products” that really delivers.

For the shameless hipster, think outside of the “typical” box. This could mean something like a traditional record player. You can go modern (expensive) at places like Planet Of Sound on Queen W. in Toronto, or get a more compact one at places like Sonic Boom (Toronto) or Urban Outfitters. Another option is a fancy hipster bartender’s guide.


What the Ladies Want
When we asked YP women what they want, their answers were surprisingly straightforward and evident. 

For the adventurous woman, a woman with wanderlust who is compelled to go outside of her comfort zone, opt for an experiential gift. “Any kind of trip, symphony, ballet, riding lessons, or even something adventurous like rock climbing or skydiving would be an unforgettable gift that I would cherish for years,” says a young free-spirited YP lady from Montreal. 

If she is a keeper, bring her into your world; get her something that you can do as an activity together. “My boyfriend is a musician, so a bass and an amp would be an amazing gift, as it is something that we can bond over,” Kate from Vancouver tells us. Another option includes a Rosetta Stone so that you can learn a language together.

For a girl that appreciates designer goods but doesn’t always treat herself to them, an ideal gift would be “that designer handbag [she’s] been lusting over,” says Tania, a 38-year-old interior designer from Toronto. A designer bag is classic gift choice for any fashion-conscious woman. Whether it is an investment bag or a statement bag, it is a timeless and marvelous gift to receive. Aside from the obvious $1000-plus designer selection, this season we can’t get enough of Rebecca Minkoff’s gold chain-adorned evening bags.

Choosing a traditional gift is not a bad way to go and most women appreciate jewellery. “Timeless jewellery is the perfect gift. Classic diamond stud earrings, or a tasteful pendant necklace, are such beautiful offerings. You can never have too much classic jewelry,” says Julia from Calgary. We all know the usual suspects (Tiffany and Co., Swarovski, Birks or Cartier) but some of our favourite Canadian jewellery designers include Jenny Bird, Shay Lowe and Jayu.

For the coworker, gifts should be a little more generic and “safe.” Andrea, 27, a lawyer from Montreal, says her perfect holiday gift is a well-endowed Starbucks gift card. Many of us can feel a little guilty paying for our fancy (read: costly) lattes each and every morning. Provide your YP pal or partner with a way to enjoy their daily guilty pleasure shame-free with a fully stocked GC, and you will truly be giving the gift that keeps on giving. Other options include coffee beans and/or coffee makers/espresso machines.

For the tech-loving female, take the advice of Nicole, 35, a medical business consultant in Toronto, who is asking for the Samsung Galaxy S4 with SmartWatch. Available at Best Buy as well as other Samsung dealers, this interconnected phone/watch system was recently reviewed by Notable columnist Corey Hurscu, where he discussed the practical tech toy in “Channeling My Inner Dick Tracy With the Samsung Galaxy Gear Smartwatch.”

For the hipster chick
Even if you don’t have a record player, buy an old classic record or a new release on vinyl, and put it in a frame (Urban Outfitters has them for around 10 bucks) for a cool wall hanging. 

For the beauty-loving babe, make her life easier by pre-paying for the next six months of hair colour/cut and blow dry combos at her favourite salon or blow dry bar (we love Blo in Toronto).

Honorable mentions for him or her

For the homebody, make it even more enjoyable to stay home this winter with things like Phillips Hue, a personal wireless lighting that is much cooler than it sounds, allowing users to pick a photo on their smartphone to become a palette to paint with light as the selected wireless bulb reflects that choice instantly. A year subscription to NETFLIX is sure to be well received, as is the Sony A/V Receiver, which allows you to control everything from your phone.

For the over-worked YP, organize something in advance that will help him or her to relax and indulge. This means things like spa treatments, a mini vacation, restaurant gift certificates, or lessons to something you always wanted but would never pay for yourself.

For the Sunday lover, we (and a growing number of celebs) can’t get enough of Lazypants. The luxury sweatpants are the perfect winter Sunday staple for the YP that will make you not want to leave the house. Admittedly a splurge in the sweatpants department, you’ll quickly understand why once you wish you bought yourself a pair as well.

For the do-good YP, follow the lead of Sara, 33, director of care at a long-term care facility in Coquitlam, BC, who is asking for a charitable donation to be made on her behalf as her gift this year. Whatever cause is most important to your favourite YP, opting for a charitable donation in their name is one of the best ways to feel and share in the holiday spirit. For an easy way to donate online, provides a detailed list of Canadian charities categorized by cause and/or location.

Remember: the best gifts are the most thoughtful, so we hope we’ve got you thinking now.

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Cover image: Home Depot Blog