LESS THAN A WEEK UNTIL CHRISTMAS!!!
If you’re one of those super awesome organized people who already has all of their Christmas shopping done, wrapped in hand stamped kraft paper, meticulously labelled and under your perfectly decorated tree, then you can stop reading now and go pour yourself a glass of the mulled wine you’ve probably got simmering on the stove. The rest of you poor suckers are in luck. Read on to find a list of the best (i.e. easily accessible) places for last minute shopping and tips on how to add a thoughtful element to these box store delights.
1) Chapters is a gold mine for easy gifts on the run. Especially during the holidays, Chapters is well stocked with games, housewares, home decor and tsotchkes. Pick up a basket from the dollar store and fill it with a throw blanket, a candle and a book – blammo – a gift for mom. Swing by the LCBO and give one of these wine and book pairings a go – you’ve got your sister covered. Pick up a grill guide or manly cookbook and hit Canadian Tire for some heavy duty cooking gear – Dad’s done. Grab a board game and some whiskey rocks and check the brother off the list. Wam bam, one stop (okay, two or three stop) family shopping.
2) The LCBO is an obvious and often thoughtless gift source. At this time of year they help you out a bit with gift packs and fancy labels, but take it one step further – add that wine or whiskey book from Chapters, swing by B.Y.O.B. Cocktail Emporium and pick up some fancy bar tools/accessories or specialty bitters (or take the even easier route and hit Winners/Homesense for some glassware or a tray), or, if you have a few extra minutes give these DIY infusions or bottle stoppers a try.
3) Movie passes are an easy an inexpensive gift for someone you don’t know all that well, but are also terribly impersonal for the holidays. Add a bag of Kernels specialty popcorn and some gourmet candy, or if you have a bit more to spend, pick up an air popper and some kernels for an at home movie experience.
4) The Apple store is chaotic at this time of year for good reason: ipods, ipads and related accessories are high on many people’s wish lists. Although these days most people under 60 already own an ipod, they’ve been around for long enough that it’s not unreasonable to own a few for different purposes. For only $50 you can pick up an ipod shuffle and load it with new music and personalized playlists. The shuffle is tiny, light weight and beats the pants off the iphone when it comes to participating in any kind of physical activity.
5) Whole foods, markets, and gourmet/specialty food shops are a great stop for any food lover on your list. Fill a basket with gourmet delights, add some fancy napkins, a cutting board or a set of cheese knives and you’re all set. If you have access to Kensington Market, check out the Blue Banana for a one stop marketplace showcasing the goods of hundreds of small retailers and artisans.