The Awesome Guide to Gift Giving

Last year we compiled a series of detailed gift guides for the host/hostess, the sports nut, the person who has everything, the fashionista, the foodie, the world traveller, and the music lover.  This year we’re going to let you in on our favourite places to pick up unique and specialty gifts, both in store and on-line.  Some of these shops win huge bonus points for helping you check off multiple recipients all in one go and if you’re not a fan of the hustle and bustle of holiday shopping, not to worry, you won’t find a single one of these places in the mall.  Yay for (quasi) independent retailers!


Etsy: This site gets mentioned in what feels like every other post, and for that reason, needs no introduction. We love Etsy for just about anything handmade, but in particular for accessories, art prints, stationary and small home decor items. Check out Pomp & Ceremony for awesome Liberty of London pocket squares and ties, Shay D Design for funky bohemian jewelry, Alexandra Ferguson for cheeky throw pillows, Arkens Jewelry Box for microthin gold and silver stacking rings, LoVintage Finds for awesome vintage decor, and JM Barclay for affordable photographic prints.

PicMonkey Collage

Uncommon Goods: This site is home to a huge array of unique and unusual gift ideas at a variety of price points. Many items are quirky and highly specialized, so if you’re looking for a gift for a music loving wino or a sailing chef, this is the place. Uncommon Goods has something for everyone, from your free spirited sister to your introverted uncle.  I am personally a fan of the wide array of fun foodie focused gifts, from a molecular gastronomy kit to an epic artisal salt chest.

In Toronto

The Distillery District Christmas Market and Distillery Shops: I have purchased some of my best gifts ever (last year’s tin can banjo was a major point scorer) during the holiday market in the Distillery District. On now until December 15th, the market opens the district up to small retailers and artists who sell their wares in huts placed along the cobblestone roads alongside the permanent shops. I’m a big fan of Blackbird Vintage for pretty vintage inspired gifts and Jacob & Sebastian for amazing high end bath products and candles, but the district is yet another goldmine for hostess gifts and food lovers. The beautiful, rustic decor, mulled wine, and gourmet food huts also go along way to making this a prime holiday shopping destination.


The Blue Banana: This Kensington Market outpost has long been a go to gift-getting destination for us. Essentially an indoor marketplace, the Blue Banana features hundreds of independent small retailer shops, all processed through a central cash, facilitating sales for the retailers and shopping for you. 

The Drake General Store: Although tiny size wise, the Drake General Store packs a serious retail punch, carrying everything from adult onesies, Malin & Goetz bath products and candles (which I typically spend a disproportionate amount of time sniffing while in the store), Canadiana inspired clothing and accessories, locally made jewellery, kitchen and home goods and other curiosities. Check out the website for some awesome curated gift packs.

The One of a Kind Show: Only on for THREE MORE DAYS, this show routinely lives up to its namesake.  Get your tickets online to save $2 and if you’re not available this weekend, go tonight for some late night shopping (it’s open till 11).

Any others to add to the list?


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