Tis’ the season, friends.
The season for colder temperatures, Netflix holiday movies on deck, packed Christmas markets, (nearly) finished advent calendars and a heavy influx of sugar-coated carbs and wine. And, of course, the season of giving, and receiving, gifts from friends and loved ones.
There’s no denying it — Christmas is here. Actually, it’s a little too close, for those of us who have been too busy perfecting our gift-lists and just generally avoiding the holiday-inspired chaos erupting throughout every mall within city limits to tackle our Christmas shopping early.
Now, with less than a week left until Christmas onesies, gift wrap and family dinners officially descend across our Instagram feeds, the pressure is on to finish off your last-minute Christmas shopping. And if you’re anything like me, you’ve left it all to this week because… well, pressure makes diamonds right?
Of course, it’s not always easy to identify what your loved ones need (or rather, want) the most without flat-out asking (because what’s the fun in that?). Luckily, I’m here to ensure you maintain all your gifting cred amongst loved ones (it’s a thing, I promise) and nail your last minute Christmas shopping, with the perfect gift for everyone on your list.
1. The Perfect, Classic Kicks for The Shoe-Lover on your List
Check out the Chuck 70 Gore-tex capsule collaboration — the classic Chuck Taylor look you love, combined with an all-over Gore-tex logo look (finally waterproof Chucks, our prayers have been answered).
Chucks have long since become a cult/street wear favourite. Stick to black or mix it up with a bright colour, inspired by outdoor utility gear, for those on your list who like to make a statement with their kicks.
2. For the Budget-Beauty Obsessed on your List
The first time I saw the prices listed on The Ordinary skincare products, I thought there had been a printing mistake on the display. That is, until I noticed that all the products on the shelf were within that same, ultra-reasonable price range. The Ordinary skincare line represents one of the hottest, cult-worthy product lines on the market. Celebrities, beauty gurus on YouTube and make-up artists alike have all praised the Ordinary’s range of anti-aging, blemish fighting products that are generally priced at $15 or less.
With minimal marketing, The Ordinary goodies are packaged by their scientific names, which can be a little bit daunting for a new shopper, so I’ve included a link to the product range breakdown here.
And as an avid fan myself, I can personally recommend The Caffeine Serum (for under eyes) and the High-Adherence Silicone Primer as the perfect stocking stuffers for any skincare junkies on your list. Check out The Abnormal Beauty Company on Queen St. West to shop the local selection.
3. For the Socially Conscious, Streetwear + lululemon Lover
Fuel your body, tend to your mind and live with community spirit. These are the 3 pillars of the new ‘Energy Project’ collaboration between lululemon and Legends League Apparel, as imagined by LL owner, Bryan E..
In short, The Energy Project is a Toronto-based experiment in producing regenerative power, with a collection of specially branded lululemon product staples to shop in support of a great cause. This limited collection of jackets, shirts, hats, water bottles and more, can be found at Bryan’s shop on Camden Street. Read more about Bryan’s story and the inspiration behind The Energy Project on his Instagram.
4. For the Bookworm
There were a lot of great books in circulation this year, but there are a few that have made countless must-read lists and, by virtue, would make great Christmas gifts. In no particular order: Unf*ck Yourself, Bad Blood, Small Fry (penned by Steve Jobs daughter, of whom he denied paternity for years), Asymmetry, The Perfect Nanny, Washington Black, American Prison, How to Change Your Mind, There, There, Girls Burn Brighter, Tribe of Mentors and many more.
5. For the Fitness Obsessed
If you have some gym-lovers on your list that already have every piece of fitness equipment you can think of (and really, how many kettlebells and foam rollers does one person need?) consider picking up the advanced fitness tracker that Joe Rogan and his friends used throughout their recent ‘Sober October’ challenge.
The ‘Myzone’ fitness tracker is a wearable heart-rate based system that uses wireless/cloud technology to monitor your physical activity with 99.4% accuracy. Effectively monitoring heart rate, calories and time exercising that convert into Myzone Effort Points (MEPs), this translates into a pretty intense reward system for anyone looking to take their workouts to the next level. So for any hyper-competitive, wannabe athletes/Joe Rogans on your list, this might be the ultimate gift. Want some other options? Check out this round-up of the top fitness trackers of 2018.
6. For a Cozy Christmas
Honestly, the gift of a good whisky will forever be a beloved Christmas staple across age groups. Your boss? Your co-workers? Your parents? Your in-laws? Your grandparents? It’s hard to go wrong with a premium bottle depending on their drink of choice.
My Dad’s drink of choice happens to be bourbon, so I pick him up a bottle every year come Christmas time. My personal recommendation? A bottle of Maker’s Mark Private Select ($84.99 CAD) — a rich winter whisky, boasting notes of allspice, toasted almonds and sweet honey. If you’re in BC, the first-ever Maker’s Mark Private Select barrel made by British Columbians for British Columbians is available. This highly curated bourbon is a must-buy for anyone on your holiday shopping list.
7. For Anyone Who Just Needs a Day Off
Listen, we all have someone (or a few people) in our lives who spend too much time working, and not enough time relaxing. I mean truly relaxing — no emails, no iPhone notifications, no reports due… some serious TLC. So, why not give the gift of chill this Christmas?
Geared specifically to the ‘workaholic’ in your life, Hand & Stone Massage and Facial Spa has created a “Pure Bliss” spa package which includes an 80-minute hot stone massage enhanced with a cold stone face massage (yes please), a 50-minute signature facial and then a hot towel foot massage. Who wouldn’t love that? Also to my friends and family, consider this a PSA — I am definitely in the market for a spa gift card this Christmas. Just saying…
8. For Anyone Who Just Needs a Day Off Part II
Continuing on the trend giving the gift of ‘chill’, Float Toronto is also running a Holiday Special right now: Two floats for $99. Floatation therapy involves lying in a salt-water solution in a spacious tank and is considered one of the most effective means of stress relief and relaxation available. Since most of us are, admittedly, dealing with higher cortisol than we would like (regulating our stress hormone is a fickle thing), float therapy becomes a super accessible and effective option to help enhance relaxation, reduce stress/pain, improve immune function, provide a magnesium boost and, in general, just make you feel really damn good.
So for those especially stressed out loved ones on your list, what about a spa treatment and a float session? They’ll basically be a new person afterwards (as long as they avoid the mall on Boxing Day).
9. For Your Jeans-Hating Girlfriend
When it comes to leggings, I consider myself a bonafide expert. Why? Because I live in them. Literally. I have maybe three pairs of jeans in my closet that I’ll (begrudgingly) tug on every few weeks and, I would guess, over 15 pairs of leggings. Some may call it ‘basic’, but I call it comfort and functionality. Also, I work as a kickboxing coach and a freelance writer so, let me live.
Within the world of lululemon leggings (AKA what I consider to be the gold standard in athleisure), one reigns supreme in my eyes — the Align Pants. Thanks to the ‘buttery-soft’, sweat-wicking Nulu fabric, wearing these basically feels like wearing nothing. Literally, the tag promises a “Naked Sensation”. They also look pretty damn good on your lower half, if I may say so myself. My only warning? These pants were designed with Yoga and life in mind, so for the more serious workouts certain colours tend to show sweat (and might not hold up as well).
BONUS: Stocking Stuffers
– Cocokind Skincare (it’s finally come to local Shoppers and is another cult-favourite)
– Shoppers Perfume/Cologne Sample Set (Can also be found at Shoppers, it comes with a large selection of perfume or cologne testers, with a voucher for a full-size bottle of your choice)
– Smart Sweets (Delicious and only 2g of sugar per pack, and a TON of fibre? Talk about macro-friendly)
– Squish Candies (If you know, you know)
– From Crook to Cook (Snoopdogg’s Cookbook, self-explanatory)
– Speak Out Game (Still hilarious)
– Popsockets (These are still all the rage, apparently)
– The Five Minute Journal (Another cult-favourite, encouraging the practice of daily gratitude)
There you have friends — my personally curated Holiday Gift Guide to keep you in everyone’s good books (or on the ‘Nice List’, in this case I suppose) with a little something for everyone.
I can’t help you with all the wrapping though, so I’m afraid you’re on your own from here on out. Happy Holidays!